VERDICT: Allardyce defies everyone’s expectations



Hull City v Irons

Match verdict

by Hugh Southon

It may of course prove temporary but Sam Allardyce has put a few of us in our place tonight!

Let’s own up, many of us, and certainly and an army of Twitter critics, have complained long and loud that he only has one way of playing.

Over recent days there has been a clampdown on training ground leaks as team plans have emerged early, leaving those in charge more than a tad frustrated. The ‘leak’ days it seems are behind us.

We can see why! Mr Allardyce decided to play a diamond formation and when the team news came though there were amazed gasps right across the social media.

When it was transferred onto the field of play we watched gobsmacked as for a long period of the 90 minutes West Ham became – well – West Ham again.

Even Steve Bruce was moved to declare that he and his team hadn’t expected to see West Ham play that way – perhaps things really are changing.

Enner Valencia’s goal, Diafra Sakho’s industry and a team which believed in forward motion whenever possible, gave us a performance which was totally absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable.

Thoese are words I didn’t believe I would ever be writing about a Sam Allardyce team ┬ábut for tonight at least the manager has defied all my expectations

And how enjoyable to see the team attacking to the very end away from home, to the point where they all but won it at the death when Sakho’s effort was somehow turned over the top.

One swallow has never made a summer and we remember only too well what happened after Palace.

But that was before the coming of Enner Valencia and as this team develops it may well be the Hammers purists are going to have something to shout about at long last.

Share this article

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Michael Miller says:

    Right, BFS pulled the rabbit out of the hat tonight, firstly with the team selection that included Sakho, Valencia and Zarate, and then in the way they came back from going behind.

    When Hull scored their first – which was a fantastic header – I feared we would crumble and get badly beaten, but West Ham really went for the throat in the second half – Valencia’s goal was fantastic, one that will be talked about for years.

    It was written in the stars that Diame would score but it was well taken and we came back again with a bundled equaliser and were unlucky with a few other good chances. There were good saves from both keepers.

    My only gripe was in the way Zarate faded badly again, he needs to do a lot of fitness work.

    Song looked good when he came on and will get better.

    Downing was outstanding in the centre of midfield – another surprise from BFS – things are looking up at last – Roll on Liverpool!

  • SXHammer says:

    That was entertaining footie, and I’d pay to see the Hammers play like that. Just need to defend better!!!! But the new found attacking football, you score then we’ll score is ok with me!!!
    Only issue I have, and not to put too much of a dampener on a greatly improved display – especially with 6 new top class players from the outset in the team with some great entertainment – was unfortunately I wasn’t convinced BFS knew what he wanted to achieve & got some drastically wrong – Downing centre mid???? and Kouyate right wing??? Both mis-played and should have been role reversed!! and we still needed that width which was lacking tonight. Just need to quicken the pace and counter attack speed too.
    But all in all a welcome change and entertaining enjoyable football. COYI

  • philtheiron says:

    Yes I think BS deserves all the plaudits tonight. From his team selection, his tactics, the style of play and even his substitutions(a sign of a strong bench is when subs come on and really effect the game), the only slight disappointment was the final score!

    Despite a weak defensive performance, a team that dominates the stats, 60% possession, 16 shots, and 10 corners, has a right to think we should have won the game.

    However, Tonka was poor and Reid is only coming back to form. We looked vulnerable again when loosing the ball in midfield and when Kauyate tired in the second half teams were allowed to run right through us again. Tomkins distribution was also poor. Although we were playing the ball out from the back more, thus keeping possession Tonka was still blindly humping it forward!

    The sooner we bring Burke on the better. His development could be crucial if we are to prosper this season.

    Attack wise well that was a different matter! Playing Valencia, Sakho and Zarate was a real statement of intent as was playing a midfield of noble, Kauyate and downing. God knows how we are going to fit song in!

    Once the new formation settled down after half an hour we started to play with real intent and were a bit unlucky to go in one down.
    The second half was a different story and except for giving away a sloppy goal we really looked like running away with it.

    So well done BS and well done west ham! If we can continue to play like this(I believe we will improve), we have areal chance of doing something this year! COYI!

  • Hammerman6 says:

    Gob smacked…I could not believe this was a team managed by Sam Allardyce. I have commented that I thought Valencia was over priced, I have to bite my tongue and hide my head in shame…the guy is amazing…..The goal was a wonder strike, but the height he jumped to provide the cross back which Mcgregor miraculously palmed away was incredible.
    I can not believe I am writing this but to play Downing in centre midfield was a master stoke. He controlled the game, and gave support play all over the pitch.
    One down side the Diame goal….written in the stars that, if he had been waring claret & blue that chance would have probably sailed wide or hit the post and bounced into the keepers arms !!!! Hey Ho such is life.
    Well Done Sam….bring on the Scoucers
    COYI Forever

  • baddowhammer says:

    I have to say it i have never had a bad word for Sam.Before the abuse,let me explain,he has kept us up on a shoestring budget,thats because of the debt we have only just finished paying.No doubt a few bob towards the move,his hands have been tied till now,so each season we have pretty much had to fight to stay up as if we had just come up from the championship.This year is the first year he could bring in more than one or two new faces.I hold my hands up to questioning his choice of strikers,i thought Defoe,Bony,Crouch,all proven scorers in the Prem.But Valencia looked good and what a goal,Sakho looks very nippy,strong,and plays intelligently.Zarate,im not quite so sure about got pushed off the ball to easily,reserved judgement.But Diame has never taken a shot for us like that,he must have been given,a dont panic pill,apart from his goal he didnt do much else for them.I have to end by saying i hate this stupid BFS crap,sometimes the players have to take blame.Like last night,the golden rule as a defender is never pass,throw across your back line,sorry Aaron Diames goal your fault.Apart from that he and all the team gave more than ive seen for a long time,espcially Downing,great game.C.O.Y.I.

Comments are closed.