Premier League Half-Term Reports: West Ham on course for top 10

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Team Name: West Ham

Current Premier League position: 7th

Giddy highs: The return of ‘the West Ham way’

It may be a vomit-inducing term, but the Hammers have really got the ball on the ground and played some decent stuff this season, and long gone is the ‘direct’ style of recent times.

The new signings of the likes of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho, Cheikho Koyate and Mauro Zarate have all gone some way to accommodate this, and it is refreshing to see. Now just to see what happens when a certain Andy Carroll returns to the fold.

Crushing lows: The worst possible start

West Ham’s opener was going smoothly heading into the closing stages, matching Tottenham stride for stride and looking good for a point, something most fans would probably have taken at kick-off.

But with 93 minutes on the clock Spurs young debutant Eric Dier pops up in the box to slot past Adrian to start the Irons’ season off with a defeat to their London rivals.

Shining Star: Diafra Sakho

It was a toss-up between Sakho and ‘the best midfielder in the Premier League’, Stewart Downing for this accolade, but the striker just edges it.

The Senegal international was a dubious signing from the French second tier, but has hit the ground running in the Premier League, netting five goals in his first five starts for the Hammers, and looks to have been a steal for £4m.

Biggest Disappointment: Ricardo Vaz Te

While he has done nothing inherently wrong, and this may seem a bit harsh, Vaz Te looks a player on borrowed time at the Boleyn.

He started the first three games of the season, doing nothing special, and was substituted in two of those. That was before Valencia and Sakho established themselves as first choice front men. He may struggle to get back in the side unless injuries strike.

Best bet for the rest of the season: To finish in the top 10 @ 7/4

Grade: B

Final Thoughts: It has been a season of transition in the East End; Sam Allardyce has delivered on his challenge to get his side playing attractive football, and results have come with it.

The victory over Liverpool was a particular highlight, and with performances such as that looking like they will be a regular feature for the side in claret and blue, a top half finish looks on the cards.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.