Tony Cottee Column: West Ham can carry on their super start against Sunderland
“We’ve got a 100 per cent record at home and I don’t see any reason why that can’t continue”
West Ham have done exactly what I thought they would do from the first four games.
I didn’t expect us to win them all, but I certainly did not expect us to be getting hammered.
Two wins, a draw and a defeat is about right. Seven points from 12 is a really good base to build from and, if we can replicate that form throughout the season, we will be comfortably in mid-table at least.
We got a good point at Norwich, but I was hoping we would get all three. I think Norwich were there for the taking, so it’s perhaps a little disappointing we aren’t on nine points from 12.
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The big positive is that we didn’t concede again and now it’s just a case of trying to get the balance right by building on the clean sheets with enough attacking intent to go on and win games.
We lost the focal point of our attack from the previous game against Fulham with Andy Carroll out injured. So it was always going to be difficult for Carlton Cole to come back and replicate that.
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But the team performed well on the whole and certainly no-one is looking out of place in the Premier League.
You do hear people say sometimes, ‘so and so won’t be able to play in the Premier League’ but I believe you have to give players the opportunity to prove themselves.
Big Sam has done that. With his transfer policy this summer he has kept the nucleus of last year’s team together.
Sam has been loyal to his players and given them a chance. Whereas, if you look at QPR, for example, they have had a massive turnover of players from the team that won the Championship.
Mark Noble, Gary O’Neil, Matt Taylor, etc, have all played in the Premier League, so I was always confident we could make a strong start.
I’ve been really pleased and hopefully we’ll keep picking up points, starting with Sunderland at home on Saturday.
Our home form has been a real turnaround from last season where we actually looked stronger away from Upton Park.
We’ve got a 100 per cent record so far and I don’t see any reason why that can’t continue – although Sunderland are very dangerous opposition.
I’m a huge fan of their two wide players, James McClean and Adam Johnson. They’ve got really quality and up front they’ve added Steven Fletcher, so they have more than one way of hurting you.
Martin O’Neill has instilled a good work ethic into Sunderland.
Like with any game we’ve got to battle, we’ve got to do the same things we did against Fulham – get amongst them and don’t let them settle. You could see from the first whistle the players were up for it and we must do the same again.