The signs are encouraging for Sam Allardyce’s men after a goalless draw against Newcastle but it is too early to tell if West Ham’s season will continue in the same vein.
West Ham are one of only three teams yet to concede a goal in the Premier League along with Liverpool and Tottenham after the two sides struggled to break the deadlock in a competitive encounter at St James’ Park.
Neither side really deserved all three points given the limited number of clear-cut opportunities created, however, West Ham held off Newcastle with ease, and showed a newfound defensive strength which could be the key to a successful season for the Hammers.
The Irons start to the season has created an unnerving and unfamiliar air of confidence around Upton park; West Ham comfortably saw off Cardiff last week and have now lost just two of the last 11 Premier League games either side of this summer’s break.
Our form away from home has been disappointing having lost 10 of our last 15 away games. However, Newcastle never looked like scoring against our outstanding backline and you would hope the Hammers have found a formula to resilience on the road.
Newcastle were left frustrated as both creativity and fluidity drained from their performance as the Hammers’ well-organised midfield and defensive unit simply proved too difficult to break down, as did Cardiff last weekend. On the odd occasion they did breach this set up, the superb pairing of Collins and Reid were able to deal with the threat.
The Welshman and Kiwi are beginning to forge a reputation for their defensive exploits and the side is now reaping the benefits of patiently laying the foundations of a solid backbone that shows signs of maturity and cohesion. Reid’s involvement in a couple close-run chances up front was also a fantastic bonus.
Considering West Ham went into the game short of their star striker Andy Carroll, we can come away with a well-earned point having had the majority of the few chances on offer, and also a great chance at stealing all three points at the death, despite Modibo Maiga’s tap-in from Ravel Morrison’s deflected shot was judged offside.
On a side note, a lot of excitement currently surrounds Morrison; his appearance at the weekend indicates he could become a feature in the starting XI and his winning goal on Tuesday night in the the Capital One Cup against Cheltenham, will reinforce his bid. Stewart Downing also impressed in what was his first start for the Hammers and he is already looking like an essential member of the squad.
The signs are encouraging, but given that West Ham’s two opening matches have been against newcomers Cardiff – and a faltering Newcastle, they have yet to be truly tested, and it is too early to say if the Irons’ performances are genuinely moving forward.
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