1 A perfect New Year
West Ham United are enjoying their best start to a calendar year – ever!
Never before, in the Club’s 125-year history, had the Hammers won six consecutive matches to kick-off a New Year, until 2021.
The previous best was in 1958, when Ted Fenton’s promotion-chasing Irons won four in a row, overcoming Derby County and Swansea Town in the old Second Division and Blackpool and Stockport County in the FA Cup.
This time around, of course, West Ham have won four Premier League matches, at Everton and Crystal Palace either side of home victories over Burnley and West Bromwich Albion, and two FA Cup ties, at Stockport and home to Doncaster Rovers.
2 Six in a row
West Ham United have won six matches in a row for the first time since 2012,
Back then, eight-and-a-half years ago, Sam Allardyce’s team ended the 2011/12 Championship seasons with five straight victories to secure promotion, beating Leicester City and Hull City in their final two regular season matches, then Cardiff City twice in the Play-Off semi-finals, and ultimately Blackpool in the final at Wembley.
When Kevin Nolan’s goal secured a 1-0 win in West Ham’s first Premier League game of the following campaign at the Boleyn Ground, it was six in a row.
Victory over Liverpool at London Stadium on Sunday would equal the seven First Division matches in a row won by John Lyall’s squad between 2 November and 14 December 1985.
Back then, just over 35 years ago, the Hammers defeated Everton, Oxford United, Watford, Coventry City, West Bromwich Albion, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City, and would go on to finish the season third in the table.
West Ham United’s perfect start to 2021 has not been down to one individual player, but the result of outstanding teamwork – or squadwork, to be more accurate.
Seven different players – Michail Antonio, Tomáš Souček, Craig Dawson, Pablo Fornals, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jarrod Bowen and Oladapo Afolayan – have combined to score 12 goals in the Hammers’ six victories in Premier League and FA Cup.
Those goals have been created by seven different players too – Bowen, Yarmolenko, Antonio, Vladimir Coufal, Ryan Fredericks, Said Benrahma and Aaron Cresswell
At the other end, the Hammers have kept four clean sheets and conceded just three goals, with three goalkeepers and nine different defenders contributing to the cause.
4 Moyes moving up
Victory at Crystal Palace in midweek means David Moyes has now won more games (29) than he has lost (28) as West Ham United manager.
Three points at Selhurst Park also took the Scot ahead of Sam Allardyce, Manuel Pellegrini and Harry Redknapp in overall win percentage.
With 29 victories in 77 games, his percentage is now up to 37.66%, ahead of Allardyce’s 37.6% (68/181), Pellegrini’s 37.5% (24/64) and Redknapp’s 37% (121/327).
And success against Liverpool at London Stadium on Sunday would take Moyes onto 30 wins from 78 games and his win percentage up to 38.5%, ahead of Slaven Bilic’s 37.8%.
When you consider he took over two struggling squads in November 2017 and December 2019 respectively, those are achievements the boss can be proud of.
5 Chasing history
A win over Liverpool on Sunday would not only complete a perfect January and boost David Moyes’ win percentage, but it would also see West Ham United equal their record points haul for a calendar month.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers collected 15 points from a possible 21 in December 2018, defeating Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Southampton, but losing at home to Watford and away to Burnley.
This time around, the Irons would literally complete a perfect month, as they would have only played five Premier League matches in January, in addition to two FA Cup ties.
6 Academy graduates impress
Of the 23 players David Moyes has fielded in West Ham United’s six victories, no fewer than seven have come through the Academy of Football ranks.
Club captain Mark Noble, Declan Rice, Ben Johnson, Nathan Trott, Oladapo Afolayan, Jamal Baptiste and Mipo Odubeko have all turned out for the Hammers at either youth or development squad level prior to appearing for the first team.
Every Irons supporter loves to see one of their own emerge, and this month has shown the production line is still rolling smoothly.