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Safety for West Ham

Despite not being the most popular man at times at Upton Park, Sam Allardyce guided West Ham to promotion at the first attempt ensuring the quickest of returns to the Premier League.

A very positive end to the transfer window saw ‘Big Sam’ bring in two impressive loan additions in the shape of Yossi Benayoun as well as pulling of a transfer coup in the form of Andy Carroll.

A good start to the season ensures that West Ham sit comfortably in the top half of the Premier League. Two wins at Upton Park have proven they’ll be a hard nut to crack at home, which is imperative if they are to avoid being part of the relegation mix come the end of the season.

The addition of Carroll hasn’t done the belief Allardyce’s side playing ‘long ball football’ any favours; however they do have some flair players in the form of Ricardo Vaz Te and the returning Benayoun, and these two could be the difference in the tight games.

I worry about them defensively as in their previous two Premier League campaigns they’ve conceded a lot of goals. Under Allardyce they’ll be more solid then both Avram Grant and Gianfranco Zola, and in James Tomkins they potentially have a world-class centre half; however if they defend half as poorly as they did away to Swansea, then the Hammers will concede more then they score.

Key player – Kevin Nolan. Having previously worked under Allardyce at Bolton and Newcastle, bringing Nolan to a then Championship side was a brilliant move for West Ham. Just three games into the new campaign and Nolan has proven his worth to the team with three goals, including the winner on their return to the big time against Aston Villa. A goal scoring midfielder is key as it takes the pressure of the centre forwards, and Nolan is one of the best in the business at doing exactly that.

Prediction – 15th. I don’t think the Hammers will be in a relegation fight this year and 15th may even be a tad harsh as they’ve started the campaign well; however they don’t have enough about them to make the top 10. It might not be pretty at times but under ‘Big Sam’ it’ll be effective in ensuring they won’t be in a dog fight.