West Ham have enjoyed a stunning start to the 2014/15 campaign, already picking up 28 points, but with the busy Christmas period soon upon us, playing four games in eight days takes its toll on the squad.
Another issue for the Hammers this season is being without two key members of the team during January, as they prepare to be away with their countries for the African Cup of Nations. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how we might cope.
The competition runs from January 17 until 8 February, meaning we’ll play up to four matches, as well as a possible FA Cup fourth round tie within that time.
Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho have both been influential to Sam Allardyce’s system this season and without them, although we still have some quality in the side, we may have no option but to revert to the way we were playing last term.
Given the form of the teams we’ll be playing against during that period, we could still get some points. But we do face a trip to Anfield during that time and most of us know that we have not won there since 1963, while it will depend on which Manchester United side turns up in East London on February 7 as to whether we get a result against the team that are currently in a good run of form.
Additionally, the Red Devils aren’t missing anyone during that period so they will have a full squad to choose from when they visit The Boleyn.
There is no doubt that AFCON could be a real issue for West Ham but if we can pick up maximum points, especially in the winnable game against Leicester this weekend and the reverse fixtures against Swansea and West Bromwich Albion after Christmas, then we would move closer to the minimum safety total of 40 points.
Given the calibre of the opposition we find ourselves up against during the festive period, anything would be a bonus in order to further strengthen our European chances before the African Cup of Nations begins.