With the season now past the halfway mark, West Ham are sitting comfortably in seventh in the Premier League.
Very few Hammers would have complained with this position at the start of the season, but now it only seems appropriate as a supporter of this club to be as ambitious as possible.
We have drifted slightly since Christmas day, when we were positioned in the final champions league spot, and you cant help but feel old habits are beginning to creep back in to the side.
I am not meaning to say that our bubble is well and truly burst, our fantastic FA Cup win against Everton proves this in’t the case, but we must be cautious that the 4-3-3, in which Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan are centrepieces, does not come back to haunt us.
The game against Hull City last Sunday is a prime example of where Allardyce decided that our old style of play would be more than fitting to see off our opponents, even with the Boleyn erupting in the sound of boos and jeers in the very same fixture last campaign. Big Sam should remember that one, right? I seem to recall him cupping his ears at the near to 35,000 fans to further antagonise them.
As the second half began, a new formation and style was introduced; this being the diamond we have all grown so fond of this term. Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell were once again able to use their pace and quality to act as wing-backs, whilst Stewart Downing was placed back into the attacking midfield position which I think we all agree suits him much better than the wing.
I truly believe that the diamond combined with the quality of players we now possess – due to some brilliant work from the chairmen and manager in the summer – means we can push on and really compete for a high finish this season.
Maybe our squad depth isn’t quite there yet, with fatigue over the Christmas period proving tough for us to manage. Nevertheless, our starting 11 is one of the best I’ve seen for a very long time. The diamond formation utilises every player and it doesn’t seem that anyone is uncomfortable playing in this style of play. This is not something I could have ever said for the 4-3-3.
With the success of this year, it’s easy to forget how dire last season was. The style of play was atrocious, the manager was intransigent, the fans were frustrated and the players didn’t seem to be interested. This season the diamond has brought the likes of Downing back to life, with a new confidence and attitude evident in his play. In addition to this, it has meant new signings like Diafra Sakho and Alex Song are utilised fully; whether they would have enjoyed playing within the style used last year is very questionable.
Nevertheless, with the move to the Olympic Stadium on the horizon, we can all be very optimistic for the future of West Ham United. If we continue our form for the rest of this season, I have no doubt that next season will be just as entertaining.
In any case, it’s a very exciting time to be a West Ham fan.