Time to take the new West Ham seriously after their City scalp

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These are heady days to be a Hammer. A few short weeks after dismantling the reigning Premier League silver medallists, Sam Allardyce was able to mount the stuffed head of the champions to his wall of hunting trophies.

A 3-1 win over Liverpool last month could have been written off as one of those shock results that come along in the top flight every now and then but, after defeating Manchester City 2-1 at home, it’s clear that this new attacking dawn at Upton Park is a movement to take seriously.

The victory was West Ham’s fifth in nine top-flight games – and their third in a row – to leave them one point behind Manuel Pellegrini’s defending champions in fourth place in the table.

50/1 on the Hammers holding on to that position come the end of the season suggests there is still some way to go before people seriously entertain the idea of West Ham being a Champions League side, but they are certainly among the league’s feel-good stories thus far.

Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho, two summer recruits to help Allardyce realise his new attractive style, bagged the goals that sealed a famous set of three points, as the former Bolton manager boldly stuck to the 4-4-2 diamond formation that has reinvigorated both his side and reputation.

Sakho, the £3.5m bargain signing from Metz, became the first Hammer to score in six consecutive Premier League games and his all-action partnership with Enner Valencia caused City plenty of headaches.

This is not to say that Pellegrini’s men didn’t create chances. They twice hit the crossbar and were guilty of missing a number of opportunities to get back into the match but, thanks to heroism from Adrian and James Collins, were frequently denied.

Last season City beat West Ham four times and scored 14 goals in doing so. That such dominance has been quickly reversed not only reflects brightly on Allardyce’s side but should thrust them into European contention this term too.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.