Let me begin by giving full credit to the boss Sam Allardyce. It’s fair to say that since his arrival in East London, the ex-Bolton Wanderers boss has had more than his fair share of critics, but the man really does appear to have turned a corner in his managerial approach. Calls for a change in style were ever-present throughout last season, with supporters becoming frustrated with our one-dimensional, long-ball tactics that we became all too familiar with not only away from home, but week in week out at Upton Park. Thankfully we managed to avoid the trap door of the Premier League in the last campaign, and thanks to come exquisite business in the summer transfer market, Allardyce and his staff have been able to answer the calls of the Hammers’ faithful and implement a style that has not only been easy on the eye, but got results thus far this campaign.
Saturday’s victory saw thoroughly impressive displays throughout the side, but special recognition must be given to ‘Man of the Match’ Alex Song who from the very first whistle was simply a cut above the rest. Song’s determination, composure and technical ability are attributes that any holding midfielder would cherish, and to think he’s playing his trade for West Ham United is incredible – full credit to Gold and Sullivan for getting that deal done as quietly as they did. Similarly, James Collins was absolutely immense at the heart of the Hammers’ defence, preventing certain goals from Sergio Aguero on more than one occasion, whilst Enner Valencia must be credited for absolutely tormenting the City back four with his work rate and pace, all day.
Diafra Sakho’s seventh goal in seven starts, a new club record, leaves me in no doubt that we’ve picked up an absolute bargain for just £3.5million from the French second division. Goalkeeper Adrian must be acknowledged as well – the stopper has received a fair bit of criticism in recent weeks, and he responded absolutely superbly, confidently claiming numerous crosses when City piled on the pressure towards the end, as well as pulling off a great reaction save from Yaya Toure after Sergio Aguero fired against the crossbar.
The post-match stats will undoubtedly not do the Hammers justice, as anyone who saw the game will tell you that we genuinely could have been two or three goals up at the interval. This victory was no fluke, as highlighted by Ian Wright on BT Sport after the game – yes, Manchester City had chances to win, as did the Hammers to win by a higher margin. Yes, Manchester City had 70% possession over ninety minutes, but West Ham’s efficiency when in possession cannot be questioned and ultimately secured the three points against the reigning champions.
Gary Lineker’s post-match tweet that ‘West Ham are the new old West Ham’ for me, perfectly highlights what is going on at Upton Park this season. Calls for the ‘West Ham way’ to be brought back have finally been answered – perhaps we just simply didn’t have the quality to play a certain way last season? Nonetheless, Saturday’s victory is one that Hammers supporters will treasure for a long while to come, and long may the performances continue! Can we dare to dream about European football in our last season at the Boleyn Ground?
West Ham are the new old West Ham.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 25, 2014