It’s funny how much can change in a month, isn’t it?
At the turn of the year, a number of embarrassing defeats left sections of the fans calling for Sam Allardyce to be sacked immediately. Now, just four or five weeks later, he’s in the running for February’s Manager of the Month award.
Four games unbeaten, four clean sheets and three consecutive 2-0 victories means we are the form team in the Premier League this month and, for the first time since perhaps the first two months of the campaign, looking well on track to achieve the goals set out in the summer.
It’s unlikely that we’ll reach the 50 point target set by Allardyce at the beginning of the season, but at last equalling our tenth place finish is well and truly on the cards if we continue this run of form.
The highlight of our change in fortunes this past month has to be that we’ve had to half of the job without Andy Carroll. The impact he made on the side upon his return from injury galvanised the squad. So when he was red carded against Swansea, February looked like it would be ruined before it had even begun,
But we’ve pulled through without the big man and we could, should we secure another three points against Southampton today, be seven points clear of the bottom three and sitting happily in tenth.
Southampton are a good side and play some lovely stuff at times, but they haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders in the style they were at the beginning of the campaign.
They will pose a different threat to the likes of Cardiff, Swansea and Norwich, but if we can perform the same way in which we did when defeat those three sides, there’s no reason why we won’t be celebrating a fourth consecutive Premier League victory at 5pm this afternoon.
That said, a draw would also be a decent result given Southampton’s quality. As long as we avoid defeat today then it’ll be smiles all round and another point put between us and the relegation zone.
Prediction: Tough one to call, but we should avoid defeat.
West Ham United (11th, 28 points)
Andy Carroll serves the last of a three match suspension after his red card against Swansea.
Ricardo Vaz Te and Joey O’Brien are still sidelined with dislocated shoulders, while on-loan Roma striker Marco Borriello is a doubt.
Southampton (8th, 39 points)
Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez return from their ankle injuries, but Saints defender Jos Hooiveld sits out with an eye problem.
Last 10 meetings:
@WestHamWorld 3-0 Matt Jarvis hat-trick
— Dan Mansfield (@Dannmansfield) February 21, 2014
— Lee Sifford (@lee_sifford) February 21, 2014
— Jakespeare (@WHU_Jake) February 21, 2014
@WestHamWorld 2-0 to the Hammers
— Eric Mann (@ericmann1278) February 21, 2014
— Jo Hatton (@JoJo_psych) February 21, 2014
Match in Numbers:
1 – Southampton have won just one of their last seven league games at Upton Park.
4 – West Ham’s run of four consecutive clean sheets is their best ever Premier League record.
13 – The Hammers have kept 13 clean sheets in the top-flight this season, which is the best in the Premier League.
14 – Sam Allardyce’s side have lost 14 points from winning positions this season, which is a divisional high.
6 – Southampton are unbeaten in their last six league matches (W3, D3).
1 – Saints have lost just one of their last six league games away from home.
50 – Mohamed Diame could make his 50th league start for the Hammers.
Head-to-Head (all competitions):
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||For||Against||GD +/-||Win %|