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West Ham right in the thick of the relegation battle

Sam Allardyce's West Ham took just one point from two home games over the festive period

Sam Allardyce’s West Ham took just one point from two home games over the festive period

West Ham’s 3-3 draw with West Brom in the early kick-off on Saturday was disappointing for everybody connected with the Hammers.

The draw meant that the Hammers had picked up a solidarity point from two home games over the festive period.

Disappointing

The 3-1 defeat against Arsenal on Boxing Day may not have been the most surprising, but the draw with West Brom will be regarded as two points dropped.

The Baggies are managerless and the visitors are just three points ahead of the Hammers in the Premier League.

It was a game that the Baggies would have earmarked as one they should win. The Hammers now find themselves in deep peril second from bottom in the Premier League, just a point above bottom placed Sunderland.

Injuries

One of the Irons biggest problems at the moment is their injury list. The Hammers currently have injuries to centre-backs Winston Reid, James Collins and James Tomkins. Midfielders Ravel Morrison and Stewart Downing are also in the treatment room.

However, the area of the team that the Hammers are most crucially hit is up front. Record-signing Andy Carroll has been a big miss this season. Fellow strikers Mladen Petric and Ricardo Vaz Te are also on the sidelines alongside the England international.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce needs all his players fit and available if results are going to improve in the next few months.

Crucial

Andy Carroll was a player that the Hammers bought in as the focal point of the whole team. He made a big impact on-loan from Liverpool last season and looked set to be a major player for West Ham this season.

However, when he joined the Hammers he was carrying an injury. He has yet to appear for the Irons this season and is currently sidelined with a foot injury. The England striker is set to return to the first team in the next two to three weeks according to Hammers owner David Gold.

The sooner the striker returns the better, as the Hammers other strikers have not exactly been outstanding. Modibo Maiga has scored just one Premier League goal this season, while Carlton Cole has found the net three times in the top-flight.

No doubt West Ham would have won far more points this season with a fully-fit Andy Carroll in their team. West Ham fans will be hoping that Andy Carroll’s return does not come too late for the team to recover.

Doubts

The Hammers recent struggles have led to calls for the manager Sam Allardyce to leave the club. Allardyce has done a decent job at the Boleyn Ground and has previously got results. The former-Blackburn boss always seemed to produce good solid teams that got results.

This season his team have not achieved the results expected and Hammers fans are now asking whether he is the man to take the team forward or even rescue the team from the drop this season. If results do not improve then the West Ham owners may just look at changing the man in the dugout.

January

The January transfer window could be vital for the Hammers. They are in desperate need of inspiration and their squad strengthened. The team seems to be flat at the moment and in need of reinvigoration.

Sky Sports are linking the Hammers with a move for Everton’s Croatian international striker Nikica Jelavic, who has fallen out-of-favour at Goodison Park this season. The former-Rangers striker has struggled to find the back of the net this season and last, after initially scoring a bag full of goals on his arrival from Rangers

He is a natural goal scorer, but his lack of goals in recent months would be a worry for me. However, maybe a move elsewhere would re-ignite his goalscoring form and the goals would start to flow again.

The Hammers are also looking at bringing in a centre-back according to assistant manager Neil McDonald. When everybody is fully-fit the Hammers have a decent defensive unit and do look pretty solid, but an extra centre-back would give them another option.

Tight

As I wrote in yesterday’s article the bottom of the Premier League table is very unpredictable at the moment. The Hammers are currently odds of 15/8 to be relegated, which means that they are by no means favourites to go down.

The next two Premier League games will be crucial for the Hammers as they face trips to fellow strugglers Fulham on New Year’s Day and then a trip to Cardiff. Two wins could move them away from the relegation zone.

However, two defeats could leave them in major trouble at the bottom of the table. In Sam Allardyce West Ham they have a manager that is accustomed to relegation dogfights. Big Sam’s teams usually survive though.

If they are to move away from that drop zone, then they need to start winning, or the Hammers could once again find themselves in the Championship and Allardyce could find himself out of a job.

Will West Ham survive the drop this season?

Mon 30 December, 2013
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