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Back Big Sam to steer West Ham into the top half

| 09.10.2013

Even as he led his team to a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane, some West Ham fans found it hard to praise Sam Allardyce, with the stereotypes about his style of play now firmly part of English football.

However, whatever kind of football his teams have played, Allardyce has managed to produce six top-half finishes in his last eight full seasons in the Premier League with three different clubs.

The Hammers, who finished 10th last season in their first campaign back in the top flight, are 2/1 to at least match that this time around.

In his final four years at Bolton, including the last where he left at the end of April, Allardyce took the Trotters into the top 10, as he did in his only full season at Blackburn.

Before the win at Spurs, West Ham had underwhelmed this campaign with three losses, two draws and one victory in their first six games.

Despite the poor results, their defence has shone, keeping four clean sheets in seven matches and only letting in one goal from open play.

The Hammers have especially resistant on the road, with Robbie Brady’s penalty in the loss to Hull the only goal they have conceded in four games.

Their attack is the concern, as Andy Carroll’s long-term injury has left Allardyce without a credible option to lead the line.

Modibo Maiga has thoroughly spurned his chance to claim the number nine spot, while Mladen Petric is still settling after his free transfer and Ricardo Vaz Te is better suited to a wide role.

As such West Ham will rely on their midfielders for goals. Kevin Nolan notched 10 goals last season and based on recent form Ravel Morrison can be relied on to score around that amount as well.

With their tight defence the Hammers will not need a huge amount of goals to pick up the points required to grab a top-half spot and with Allardyce at the helm they have a manager well used to producing lofty finishes.

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

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Alex Fortune