West Ham United are hovering above the relegation zone, with only goal difference keeping them above Crystal Palace, currently in 18th. The Irons have won just three games this season, with their recent victory over 19th-placed Fulham their only win since that dramatic 3-0 over Tottenham at the beginning of October. With just 13 goals all season, you have to wonder: how is Sam Allardyce going to pull his side out of this mess?
To be sure, many West Ham fans don’t think he can do it. There’s a petition out to replace Allardyce, and it doesn’t seem to matter who takes his place, only that the new manager believes in “positive” football. The rumors in the media are heating up as well, with reports that Big Sam might be gone in January if the results don’t start going his way.
And, following a 4-1 loss to Liverpool in which at least two, and possibly three, of the Reds’ goals were scored by West Ham players (and with Liverpool providing the only goal for the Irons), it’s hard to fault those who want Allardyce gone.
Allardyce himself doesn’t seem at all confident. Speaking after Saturday’s loss, the manager said, “”The sickener for us was the way we conceded the first goal. We gave it a good go, but then the third goal killed us off. Nothing seems to be going for us at the moment.” To be fair to Allardyce, after Martin Skrtel put the ball in the back of his own net in the 66th minute, it did appear that West Ham could get something out of the match. But after Luis Suárez scored the third, it definitely was all over.
Yet, at some point, Allardyce must accept some of the responsibility for his side’s failings. No, it’s not his fault Andy Carroll has been out injured, and yes, it’s likely wise for him not to be rushed back on to the pitch. But, even without many strikers available, Allardyce could still make attempts to press for points. Instead, his traditional tactic most often prevails: sit back and hope to pull off a point.
Allardyce’s statement smacks of fate, of the idea that his club is at the mercy of something bigger than he (injuries, perhaps?). But we’ve seen little to suggest that the manager is willing to try something new, with the players he has at his disposal. Such an approach might both benefit West Ham’s standing in the table, and appease the supporters that are growing weary of Allardyce’s negative tactics.