Should West Ham United continue with their good form much longer, Sam Allardyce admits he may have to re-evaluate their targets for the season.
Having spent much of last term fighting in the wrong end of the Premier League table, Allardyce was instructed by his board to introduce a more entertaining brand of football to the Hammers this time around. Accepting this challenge, he was given the funds to add to his squad and signed the likes of Alex Song, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, all of whom have impressed.
Indeed, the Londoners are proving to be one of the surprise packages of the campaign, having won nine of their opening 17 fixtures, drawing four and also losing just four. Such a sequence has given them a total of 31 points, which ensures they are fourth in the table as we enter the festive period. Of course, this would result in UEFA Champions League qualification if this is maintained.
Allardyce is realistic enough to accept that finishing in such a lofty position is a big ask for his club, particularly as their rivals such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have bigger squads and will likely spent in January. However, the 60-year-old admits he may have to re-evaluate his targets if his side continue with their impressive form.
“The top four in the Premier League is very difficult to break into if you haven’t got the same spending power as them,” Allardyce told Sky Sports Goals on Sunday, following his side’s 2-0 win over bottom-placed Leicester City at Upton Park the previous afternoon. “Lots of us have lived on the fringes in the past, I did the same at Bolton Wanderers for the last two or three years.
“To try and get there is something that would have been beyond the club’s owner’s will at the time, for the spending power you need to fund for it. For us this season, it’s just enjoying the position we’re in and seeing at the end in January whether we reset our own goals. If we carry on the way we are, we’re predicted a top-four finish. But whether we will or whether we won’t is another matter.”
Before the Hammers turn their attention to the FA Cup on 6 January, they play another three fixtures in the Premier League. On Boxing Day they face the daunting task of taking on leaders and title favourites Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and two days later Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are the visitors to Upton Park, which also hosts West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day.
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