West Ham may have lost their opening Premier League fixture 1-0 but the fans can be relatively optimistic about the new season thanks to the side’s promising performance.
Sam Allardyce’s men put on a great display on Saturday as they looked to make it four wins on the bounce against their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, however a last-minute winner from Spurs new boy Eric Dier settled the derby.
Although they did not get the result they wanted nor deserved following an energetic and courageous performance, Big Sam can be quite pleased with his side’s efforts.
The Irons manager has been charged with the tough task of providing more entertainment this season and it is understood that his job safety depends on it.
They certainly entertained and out-played Tottenham at times, who boasted an array of attacking talent in their starting lineup, and if Mark Noble didn’t miss a first-half penalty we could now be talking about a quadruple of consecutive victories over their neighbours.
West Ham had an incredible and slightly uncharacteristic 18 shots on goal during the match, but perhaps not so surprisingly only four of those attempts found the target.
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to be in inspired form in between the sticks, too, making a superb stop to deny Stewart Downing from close range after a fine move.
While new-boy Cheikhou Kouyate put in a powerful display in the centre of the park, bossing the midfield and showing that he is not afraid to get forward.
It was a refreshing performance from the Hammers and on another day, with the likes of Andy Carroll or Enner Valencia on the field, they would have come out as comfortable winners.
They had the worst shooting accuracy in the top flight last season, hitting the target with just 37% of their attempts on goal and they did not show any sign of improving on that statistic this campaign after missing a host of chances.
Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole were the prime culprits for failing to hit the target, however they may not be in the side once everyone is back and fit.
Also Noble had scored all of his previous ten spot-kicks prior to his miss against Spurs, so perhaps he can be let off, but it had a massive impact on the game.
Furthermore, James Collins continued to demonstrate his infuriating tendency to concede needless freekicks and was punished for it in the second-half when West Ham's one-man advantage was wiped out after he obstructed the run of Emmanuel Adebayor to pick up a second yellow.
Hammers fans may not be happy with the result but they will be quietly optimistic with the positive performance which can only be enhanced by the return of some key players.
Noble, Kouyate, fellow debutant Aaron Cresswell, Downing and captain Kevin Nolan all put in great performances and demonstrated a desire and urgency that was often lacking last season.
All that was missing from the performance was goals, but with the new additions in attack still to come into the side, goals will surely follow.
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