Thursday, February 20

Things can only get better?

Well the lads are back from their warm weather break in Dubai and things are looking a lot better after three successive wins — though the last one was decidedly lucky and we can never underestimate West Ham's ability to implode. But it's looking like a vindication of the board's decision to stick with Sam Allardyce and as he said, now the injured players are back results are improving.

Clearly there are some fans who never wanted Allardyce to be appointed –  which is understandable given his 'long-ball' reputation – and whenever West Ham lose they demand he be sacked. There's a debate to be had about whether BFS can provide the quality football that will fill the Olympic Stadium — and if Ravel Morrison is eventually sold it won't help — but sacking him halfway through this season would surely have left the club looking as silly as Fulham now do. Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski has a good chapter on managers and I'd agree that the effect of changing them is overstated and that most rash decisions end badly, result in panic appointments and destabilise clubs. Tony Pulis at Palace is possibly the exception to this rule — but imagine the outrage if we'd appointed him!

The evidence of the fighting draw at Chelsea and the three wins is that the players are still behind Allardyce and showing character to get results. The key game was at Cardiff, and had that been lost heavily after the 5-0 and 6-0 defeats, Allardyce could well have gone. But credit to the likes of Matt Taylor, who while not the most gifted of players, has shown resolve to help dig out results.

Adrian has become a dominant goalkeeper and has given confidence to the whole defence. Having Tomkins and Collins available has solidified the back four, McCartney has done his usual understated job and while Demel has looked slow at times, having him in the defence seems to make us much harder to beat. Mark Noble is playing well and when Carroll returns after the Southampton game it will be another massive boost. And after Diame's run from the halfway line to score against Norwich you'd hope he might be getting back to last season's form. Southampton is a difficult game, but if West Ham can keep the momentum going we might even be able to relax on the final day at Man City.

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