Fan blogger Joe Difford says the Hammers need to replicate their fine away form at the Boleyn Ground
Despite two home defeats against Leicester and Bournemouth, it’s difficult to be disappointed as a West Ham fan right now, as two magnificent victories over Arsenal and Liverpool have made people stand up and take notice.
However, as thrilling as away wins are, the Hammers simply must pick up three points at home on Monday, otherwise we risk being typecast as a weak side at home.
Whereas the Boleyn Ground is often considered one of the toughest places to come and play in the Premier League, a third successive defeat will send out the message that points are there to be taken and this could make it very difficult for Slaven Bilic’s side to recover from.
During the short spell in the Championship, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham were equally shaky at home, but seemed to ease past sides away without the added pressure to succeed.
Of course, if points are picked up away instead of home, leading to a decent league finish, it will be tough to complain, but it is important to remember that this is the last season on Green Street and the last thing the Hammers want is to go down in history as a side to never win in the last season at their famous ground, but that’s jumping the gun a bit and of course that won’t happen, but the sooner we get that win at home some of the pressure will be taken off.
Coming off the back of an international break, the boys in claret and blue will be refreshed and ready for action following an incredible performance at Anfield.
Andy Carroll is set to return, giving the strike force a huge boost, as only Diafra Sakho was available against the Reds. A number of the deadline day signings may also make their debuts in East London, meaning that the Hammers’ squad is the strongest it’s been all season.
Not only is there now depth, but there is competition and the individuals who endured lacklustre performances against Leicester and Bournemouth will know that they must consistently impress to keep their place in the side.
We know very well that scoring goals has not been an issue this season, it fact it has been one of the most prolific starts to a season in recent memory. What is crucial, however, especially when playing at home, is creating a fortress where opposition sides struggle to score.
Despite two clean sheets away this season, West Ham have leaked goals in front of the home support and need to ensure that this doesn’t become a regular occurrence.
Darren Randolph will play his third game in a Hammers shirt, as Adrian serves the last of his three game ban. Despite conceding four against the newly promoted Bournemouth, Randolph has made things very difficult for Bilic, and Adrian may have to fight for his starting place once he returns, which is never a bad thing.
This game comes at the perfect time. The international break has allowed for extra preparations, a number of injured stars may return and the deadline day business has left Slaven Bilic with a wealth of talent at his disposal.
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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United