Premier League 2013-14 preview: West Ham stay solid as ever
West Ham’s position in the league table typifies the status of the club – a solid squad managed by a no-nonsense manager espousing a direct physical game.
While lack of stylish football is used as a stick to beat Sam Allardyce with, the Hammers fans should be grateful for Big Sam for reviving the club’s fortunes after the shambolic 2010 season.
Of all the new clubs that were promoted last season, the Hammers looked most organized of all, and the league table reflected their performances as well. They were excellent at home last term, but their away form was not up to the mark. Expect the same trend to continue this season as well, though Allardyce would focus to win more games away from home too.
The former Bolton manager has added few really good players in the side that should ensure them another mid-table finish in the season.
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll wasn’t given a single chance by Brendan Rodgers before dropping the curtain on his Anfield career. The striker was seen as a square peg in a round hole in Rodgers’ passing philosophy and was sent on loan to West Ham last season. Though Carroll was injured for major part of the season, but one doesn’t need any rocket science to understand that his style perfectly fits to the system Allardyce envisage.
Further, special concern has been given on the creative front as well. Stewart Downing, another Liverpool flop did well in the second half of last season, but it was not enough to convince the Reds manager. Allardyce took a calculated gamble on the 29-year-old and signed him for a modest fee of £6 million.
Defence has been bolstered too with the purchase of 32-year-old defender Razvan Rat from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk on a free transfer.
With the new signings, Allardyce has underlined what the club aspires for this season. The most optimistic of Hammers’ fans would not even predict a European qualification but neither will they fear the club to get embroiled in a relegation dogfight. Fans and neutrals would all sing from the same hymn sheet for the club’s fortunes, if they can consolidate their last year’s position.