I had a niggling feeling after we beat Tottenham on Wednesday evening. After the initial buzz; the flurry of gloating texts; the incessant retweets and the replays, I was reminded of the shambles of the home game to Sunderland a few days before. But also, I was mindful of something little spoken of under the tenure of Sam Allardyce: the inconsistency.
Allardyce’s West Ham reign – in our Premier League seasons – has been marked by a bizarre roller coaster of great results and confusing defeats. As some people may know, West Ham are yet to win back-to-back games under Allardyce in the Premier League. In over 50 games with Big Sam, we haven’t managed six points in the space of two games. That is worrying.
Just look at last season. We start off back in the top flight with a 1-0 against Aston Villa, then fell to a 3-0 defeat to Swansea the following week. We beat Southampton 4-1 at home, then capitulated to Wigan 2-1 away, then coming back to draw 0-0 against the then champions, Manchester City. We beat Norwich 2-1 on New Year’s Day, a much needed victory we hoped would lead us on a run away from the bottom three. We subsequently lost 3-0 to Sunderland, who a few weeks later sacked their manager.
Thus, we have all read, from the manager down to the players and across to the pundits, that West Ham will gain great confidence from the Spurs victory, that a Cup run may boost morale and lead us up the League table. We had vaguely high hopes for a great performance against Manchester United on Saturday, but ultimately were left disappointed. We will still expect a tour-de-force against the League leaders on Boxing Day, but as a West Ham fan – especially under Allardyce – nothing can be predicted, and logic never works.
After all these games, and after the shambles of a start to the season, is it really worth expecting our first back-to-back victories in the Premier League start with a win against Arsenal? It’s worth a shot. But if anything, the games against West Brom and Fulham are the real tests for this side. We need our first back-to-back wins in these games.