West Ham are winning even without our star names
10:44 30 November 2014
Our West Ham blogger says why not dream of fourth place?
I think the most satisfying aspect of the victory over Newcastle is that it was achieved without four key first-team players; no Reid, Song, Sakho or Valencia yet we still had enough in our armoury to dispatch a Newcastle side winning for fun.
We had to grind out the result and yes the first half was dour as was much of the seconnd; you could see we were really lacking the dynamism and quality of the aforementioned Sakho and Valencia.
However, defensively we were sound and didn’t miss Reid at all. (A good thing seeing as he’s probably on his way out) and we improved as an attacking unit as the game went on, culminating in an albeit fortunate winner for a signing who has taken a back seat to more illustrious names recruited in the summer; but he’s been every inch as influential thus far; Aaron Creswell.
The former Ipswich man has been sensational in his first season in the big time; his energy and quality have been massive contributory factors in our rise up the league, his cross for Sakho’s goal at Burnley showcased his wand of a left foot and his winner against Newcastle underlined he is a full back with an end product.
We now find ourselves fifth in the league and with a very welcoming set of fixtures looming: West Brom (A) Swansea (H) Sunderland (A) and Leicester (H) three wins from that lot which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility and the Irons could be heading into the new year still in the mix for a spot in next season’s Champions League and having spent a pittance in comparison to the teams around us.
I can’t help but feel that with our upcoming fixtures as we hurtle towards the midway point of the season that maybe we could spend the second half of the campaign attempting to chase down fourth top as opposed to the traditional chase for fourth bottom.
History and logic tells us who the top four will be, but what has been logical about this season?
Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce were supposed to be on the scrap heap, Southampton were supposed to be languishing following their summer exodus and yet Allardyce and Pardew are thriving and Southampton have been only bettered by Chelsea. This season isn’t following a script so why not dream?
The progress and rapid ascension of West Ham this season has been incredible to witness, we’re winning games last season we would’ve lost, we’re seamlessly playing a better brand of football, scoring more goals and we’ve traded relegation nightmares for European dreams. We’re no longer at the start of the season and those waiting for our bubble to burst will have to go on waiting.
West Brom away on Tuesday will be an altogether different test; to quote a cliché ‘they’re fighting for their lives’ however with just one defeat in our last seven games even without Song, Valencia and Sakho a victory is not only possibility but a probability.