Unbeaten in nine and currently second in the form table based on the last six games – what a time to be alive!
Going by last season’s heroics up to Christmas, we were unplayable and played a new way where even the likes of Morgan Amalfitano looked class.
Unfortunately that same season we saw a decline in the side where injuries and lack of squad depth led to us winning just twice between the turn of the year and the end of the season, which eventually led to us parting ways with Big Sam.
Big Sam is the one we should be crediting alongside Payet and Bilic. Sam laid the foundations for Bilic to build his attractive hipster-like flamboyant football, a type of football that HAS NOT been seen at the club…ever.
Yes we’ve had the Devonshire’s, Joey Cole’s, Di Canio’s and Tevez’s at the club, but to have a squad and an abundance of flair mixed with passion and guile is a first. This is the NEW West Ham Way.
As we all know, Big Sam saved us from the abyss of a tough Championship season with a day out at Wembley, followed by a successful Premier League reunion by finishing in the top half, a tale of two cup runs, almost risking relegation and a promising but yet deflated season ending his tenure at the club.
But look at the current players Bilic is using that Sam once based his squad around. Big Sam took on Noble, Reid and Tomkins from a relegated Avram Grant side, making them the spine of the side.
He brought in Carroll, Adrian, Kouyate, Valencia, Song, Jenkinson, Cresswell, Sakho and Zarate over his three Premier League years. These players improved the squad depth and make the club fight in games.
With Bilic’s additions – Payet, Lanzini, Moses, Antonio, Jelavic, Randolph, Ogbonna and Obiang – we have seen an average West Ham team become a force in the league and brushing aside a list of Premier League title contenders.
I give credit to Sam for stabilising the squad and making additions to do that, even if one transfer window we gambled our budget on a crocked Andy Carroll. I also give credit to Bilic for building on Sam’s legacy and looking to improve further.
What we need to do this January is to tinker, tweak, buff and polish the current squad to see us past the finishing line of this season and mount a serious FA Cup challenge.
The squad currently has an abundance of competitive players who feed off Bilic’s passion and we need to get players who will change the game in our favour from the bench.
Jelavic is a clever player and his off the ball work I have noticed a lot more in recent games. He opens up defences to give other players options to pass, run or shoot. If the rumours are true about a big money off in China, then all parties should take it and get an obvious Championship performer to replace him.
Zarate is another player who has been hit and miss. When he plays well it shows but when he plays badly it shows more, so to shift him off and again get another Championship player would benefit the squad.
Why championship players? I feel some Championship players will jump at the chance to join a Premier League side and will be patient enough to wait their chance and prove themselves, just as Michail Antonio has done.
In the summer I feel Bilic should add to the squad with a few players, not a major overhaul but to build again and make us stronger. Bare in mind we have at least three positions fill when Moses, Song and Jenkinson all return to their parent clubs.
Things are looking good for us Hammers at the minute, we’re doing well and exceeding my earlier predictions.
I thought we would get 38 points. We have 35 and its the second week of January. How wrong could I have been?
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