West Ham ensured they will remain in the top four at Christmas by scrapping to a 2-0 victory against bottom of the table Leicester City on Saturday.
The Hammers made it three home wins on the bounce and they are now undefeated in their last five matches, thanks to brilliantly taken goals from Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing.
The victory ensures West Ham remain in a Champions League spot going into their Boxing Day fixture against Chelsea and they are now also just one point off of third place Manchester United.
Here we will take a look at five things we learned from the victory.
1. HAMMERS CAN STILL WIN A SCRAP
It was a scrappy affair and Leicester made sure they didn’t allow Sam Allardyce’s men to play the attractive football that we have become accustomed to seeing this term.
Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyate were kicked all over the pitch as the visitors looked to bully West Ham into submission, but Allardyce’s team’s are renowned for their grit and brutish attributes and this one is still capable of winning a battle too. The likes of Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Winston Reid in particular put everything into the match, leading by example and putting their bodies on the line.
2. THE SHERINGHAM EFFECT
Former Irons front man Teddy Sheringham was employed as a striker coach during the summer and he could be responsible for the success the current forwards are enjoying this season.
Carroll’s delightful finish when through one-on-one after a gift of a back-pass from Paul Konchesky was Sheringham-esque. The towering no9 missed a sitter just 90 seconds before he scored, and it’s just his second Hammers goal from open play.
The knowledge and wisdom Sheringham is passing on to Carroll will be sure to help him score more with his feet as he demonstrated with his composed finish that he has the ability.
All four West Ham strikers combined have 17 Premier League goals which is a great return and if they carry on in this vein they could fire the club to a European spot come May.
3. CARROLL'S IMPORTANT AT BOTH ENDS
While the forward scored the all-important opener, his defensive contribution was just as vital as he helped shut the visitors out.
His contribution and commitment to the team performance often goes unnoticed but he was massively influential in all areas of the pitch against Leicester. He rarely loses aerial duels and he is a great asset to have when defending and attacking set pieces, this was hugely apparent on Saturday.
4. ADRIAN IS A GREAT PROFESSIONAL
The east London outfits Spanish stopper claimed just his fourth clean sheet of the campaign and despite a relatively quiet match he was still required to earn it at the death.
The ‘keeper denied David Nugent and Leonardo Ulloa late on with spectacular saves as the Foxes looked to salvage something from the match. What made the saves even more impressive is that he kept his concentration and was ready when called upon.
5. WEST HAM GENUINE TOP FOUR CONTENDERS
The Hammers are on 31 points at Christmas and if they weren't already, now they really need to be taken as serious top four contenders.
Only one team since the 2009/10 season that was in a Champions League spot over the festive period didn’t end up finishing the season there, the other 19 did.
This team is on the verge of doing something really special and it would not be a surprise to see them take points off of Chelsea and Arsenal in the coming week. The latter certainly looks vulnerable and West Ham have the players to truly expose them.
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