What a remarkable five months it’s been at West Ham.
Hammers fans had consistently expressed their disappointment during last season, when they finished 13th in the table, over the style of football being played by Sam Allardyce’s men. The Upton Park outfit have always taken pride in how they played the game.
Traditionally, the Hammers have always been proud of bringing through young players from the famous ‘Academy of Football’ with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson and Michael Carrick all developing their careers with great success thanks to former academy director Tony Carr. Ever since the glory days of Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters and Bobby Moore wearing the Claret and Blue with pride, playing football on the deck has always been a priority.
Pretty football and short passing is something you tend not to associate with manager Sam Allardyce. In the 2013/2104 campaign, forward Andy Carroll was the main focal point of the team, forming a relatively strong partnership with Kevin Nolan, rekindling their glory days at Newcastle United.
The board have instructed Big Sam to play more attractive football for this season, and the signings that have been made over the summer have proved that the former Blackburn Rovers chief has listened.
Out of the nine new players joining the contingent at the Boleyn Ground over the summer many have already been able to make an immediate impact which has resulted in the East Londoners climbing to a staggering fourth in the table after nine games.
Diafra Sakho has scored six in as many starts and Enner Valencia has looked just as lively. At the back, on-loan right back Carl Jenkinson looks like having a promising future in front of him while Aaron Cresswell hasn’t looked out of place since making the move from the Championship to the Premier League.
One outstanding signing that has united the squad together with his superb ability and leadership is on-loan FC Barcelona midfielder Alex Song. Thus far, the Cameroon international has been impeccable. The one problem is if he carries on with displays like the one in the magnificent 2-1 win against current champions Manchester City, clubs bigger than West Ham will look to tie him down to a permanent deal.
Against Manuel Pellegrini’s men, the former Arsenal midfield general showed top flight clubs such as the Gunners and Liverpool what they missed out on. In a midfield that consisted of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Jesus Navas, Song took complete control in the centre of the field. The Cameroonian will be a big miss for the Hammers after Christmas as he is expected to fulfil his international commitments and play in the African Cup of Nations, with fellow teammates Cheickhou Kouyate and Sakho also due to participate in the tournament in Morocco.
While with his native Cameroon side, both David Gold and David Sullivan’s priority is to negotiate a deal with the Nou Camp outfit, signing the defensive midfielder on a long-term contract before some other club does.