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Aston Villa so lucky but West Ham must respect the point

09:27 09 November 2014

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Our West Ham blogger wonders if Big Sam can play Sakho, Valencia and Carroll in the same team

West Ham United's Andy Carroll comes on as a second half substitute. Stephen Pond/PA Wire.West Ham United's Andy Carroll comes on as a second half substitute. Stephen Pond/PA Wire.

‘Respect the point’ was a phrase first coined by Sam Allardyce during West Ham’s promotion winning campaign of 2011/12; three seasons on and the words still ring true.

Yes we expected to beat Aston Villa and yes on the balance of play they were very fortunate to get out of the Boleyn with anything to show for their efforts.

However to be going into the international break sitting (as I write this) fourth in the league on 18 points is not too shabby at all, in fact it shows how far we’ve come that we’re sitting in a Champions League place after 11 games and yet we’re frustrated.

The cutting edge which has guided us to such heady heights was sadly lacking against the Villans, but you can’t win every week (unless you’re Chelsea) and when you can’t win, it’s just as important not to lose.

West Ham United's Alex Song and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.West Ham United's Alex Song and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

We’re now unbeaten in five and have only lost three games so far this season and of those three, only Southampton really deserved to beat us and they’re not doing too badly are they?

Whilst we for once lacked quality and a cutting edge in the final third, the effort and desire to win the game especially in the latter stages of the second half were unbelievable.

To say Villa were hanging on would be a gross understatement, they were clinging on with their fingertips as West Ham’s relentless tidal waves of pressure threatened to condemn them to their 7th straight defeat; especially in the brief minutes Andy Carroll was on the pitch; the Villa defence didn’t have a clue how to deal with the Geordie whirlwind and his return was the biggest positive to take from the match.

We already had arguably the best strike partnership in the league and now Carroll is back to put both Valencia and Sakho under pressure to hold on to their starting berths...one even wonders if you could possibly play all three?

This Premier League season has been unpredictable to put it mildly; Southampton’s position as Chelsea’s main challengers for the title is testament to how the notion of an established top four has all but withered and died.

I don’t want to get carried away, I’m not suggesting we will finish in the top four but I will say Liverpool and Man United have yet to convince, Spurs are average at best these days and our run of fixtures until we play Chelsea on Boxing day with the exception of Everton away look winnable, even more so with Andy Carroll back.

This squad of players can achieve something this season, the traditional boys at the top with the exception of Chelsea look nowhere near as strong and European football is very much on the agenda for this West Ham side.

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