Betfred Sport

West Ham facing style or substance quandary

West Ham United have recently seen their automatic promotion hopes hampered through a combination of poor form and a resurgence in the performances from the likes of Reading and Birmingham who have joined them in the race for the Premier League.

West Ham were overwhelming favourites to rejoin the English elite before the Championship season kicked off, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the ‘academy of football’ may have seriously underestimated the competition that would face them in England’s second tier.

Murmurs of discontent have been evident on occasion this season at Upton Park, with a constant battle between a ‘style of play’ and winning by any means necessary being carried out.

With Sam Allardyce (pictured) you know what you’re going to get; dangerous from set pieces, efficient and effective defending, difficult to beat at home but not necessarily playing the most attractive brand of football.

The Allardyce formula is almost perfect in escaping from the Championship, and applying the same system in the Premier League has seen the West Ham boss experience stability with the likes of Bolton and Blackburn.

If the West Ham fans are going to see their team in the Premier League, they will need to put aside this need for the style of football that got them relegated in the first place, and oversee a different style of football that will inevitably breed success. 


Despite Sam Allardyce’s efforts to deliver Premiership football to Upton Park, West Ham’s impatience to gain promotion from the Championship may see them miss out on automatic promotion and settle for the lottery of the play-offs.

The Hammers boast what seems like an endless list of attacking players, with Cole, Carew, Maynard, Vaz Te, Nolan, Baldock, Mears and Noble to name a few.

The long list of striking options provides a selection headache for Allardyce, but also provides very little continuity coming into the tail-end of the season.

This vast selection of strikers have failed to hit the back of the net regularly and has provoked questions towards to transfer policy being implemented at West Ham.

In terms of a team seeking promotion, a run of 3 wins in 11 matches is not the form that you are looking for coming into the remaining league fixtures.

In short, anything other than automatic promotion for West Ham this season will be seen as a failure by the fans, the board and the playing staff.

All involved with the club need to allow Allardyce to employ his style of football which will inevitably guarantee Premiership football and subsequent survival, even if the West Ham ‘style of football’ is not being played.

If they are to cross the line, they need to find some continuity in their attacking options and start turning draws into wins, otherwise they could eventually join the likes of Middlesbrough and Leeds in Championship mediocrity.

By James Barton

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