West Ham United’s fantastic run in February saw manager Sam Allardyce win the Barclays Manager of the Month Award but more importantly, the Hammers steered themselves further away of the relegation zone.
The 2013/14 campaign has been a disappointing one as the Hammers have been in the bottom half for the majority of the season, with the Irons even dropping into the bottom three at different stages of the season. But February saw the east Londoners beat Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich City and Southampton to gain a maximum 12 points. That is a fantastic run in the Premier League, especially when the club has suffered the sort of form it has for the majority of the season.
The Southampton win resulted in West Ham climbing into 10th place, which was their highest position since the opening weeks of the season. That impressive run of form was all-important. It had come at one of the best times of the season and now the Hammers side have confidence going into the remaining games of the season.
Confidence is very important, especially in the latter stages of the season. The confidence that Big Sam’s side have gained because of that four-game winning streak could be the difference between them staying up or being relegated. The club now have a very good chance of staying in the top flight as there are a lot of clubs below West Ham in poor form.
Cardiff City are in terrible form and apart from the sixpointer against Fulham that they won, they have been woeful since Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge. Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan sacked former Hammer Malky Mackay halfway through the season because he feared that the club would be relegated after only one year in the Premier League.
But that change in management has proved to be a wrong move because the club’s form has worsened since Solskjaer came in. Fulham are also in severe trouble and the Hammers seem to have a better squad than the likes of Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Sunderland. If you look at it like that, the Hammers should be safe but it is a well-known fact that you cannot take anything for granted in the Premier League.
In the London Evening Standard two weeks ago, Allardyce said in his weekly article that a 10th place finish is as high as the club will go in the Premier League. Therefore, that should be the club’s target for the remainder of the campaign. A 10th place finish will result in the club knowing that they had a strong end to the season and so the club will be able to take some positives.
We should also be looking to match the 46 points the club finished with last season.