West Ham United’s co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan issued an open letter to the club’s supporters on the official website on Monday, giving their backing to manager Sam Allardyce after the 5-0 thumping at Nottingham Forest last weekend.
While they lost heavily again in the first-leg of their Capital One Cup tie against Manchester City on Wednesday, they certainly made up for it on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory at Cardiff City which saw them record their first Premier League double since the 2011/12 campaign.
The game started well for the Hammers but when Guy Demel went down under the challenge of teammate Roger Johnson, after accidentally catching him with his elbow, it certainly had a negative effect.
The game was held up for nine minutes and, in my opinion, this delay could have swayed the team’s thinking either way. They could have spent the rest of the game with the worry about the defender on their minds. On the other hand they might have said to themselves in the break they had to endure while Demel was being attended to that they wanted to try and secure all three points. Not only was it must win game, they also would make themselves and the Ivorian feel good.
Before the match began there was widespread speculation on whether or not Andy Carroll would be match ready to take part in the game in Wales despite Allardyce discussing it beforehand. Well, he did make an appearance and it must have had an impact on the team’s performance, although they were already 1-0 up before he entered the fray on 70 minutes.
Not only did it have an impact on the team’s performance in that game, it could also make the difference as the club looks to move away from the predicament it is currently in.
The other major problem is that the team has a number of issues with their defence at the moment with both Winston Reid and James Collins both injured. Even though James Tomkins returned for the weekend’s victory due to his red card, received for two bookings against the Bluebirds, he now misses the home clash with Newcastle United next Saturday.
Furthermore, in his pre-match news conference ahead of the trip to the Welsh capital on Friday, Allardyce seem to suggest that he wouldn’t be pressed towards finding another central defender this week as Collins could be ready to slot back into the side to face the Magpies.
Due to the situation they find themselves in and given that the goal conversion is lower than the chances they continue to create, Allardyce appears desperate to land another striker in the current transfer window. With names such as Lacina Traore who seems likely to come to the club providing he can resolve a work permit issue at a hearing this week. If that deal doesn’t materialise, however, Big Sam has other irons in the fire and is also looking at the possibility of bringing Marco Borriello to the club.
There has always been an opinion amongst the majority of supporters that one striker isn’t enough and this has been proved by the number of goals the team has scored in the league this season.
Last season, several members of the squad were chipping in with their fair share of strikes. This season’s campaign seems to be a different story and West Ham have a tendency to rely on goals coming from their strikers.
It’s possible to endlessly speculate as to the reason for this new front end reliance but it might begin to change once Carroll is fully fit – he certainly threw himself into the thick of the action when he was called upon to replace Cole at the weekend.
It should not be forgotten, of course, that Cole was on the score sheet at Cardiff and not for the first time this season, which has earned him a new West Ham contract for another 18 months.