With no game last weekend after being knocked out of the FA Cup and our next opponents competing in Europe this week, now is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and contemplate our current position without knee-jerking about recent results.
Obviously the defeat against Aston Villa was disappointing, not so much the result, but more the negative line-up choice and lack of any real confidence going forward. Sam Allardyce¹s post-match reaction was also infuriating, as he didn¹t seem to accept the fact he got it wrong and thought we played well. A view our chairman David Gold clearly didn¹t share when he let us all know his reaction to the game on Twitter.
In the days following the loss, several fans and critics believed that West Ham were now on a slippery slope towards the drop zone and our season was over. Some even suggested the most radical step of getting rid of Allardyce sooner rather than later.
The ideology of trigger-happy Premier League chairman had clearly rubbed off on some of the fans. However, a generous two-week break gives us the chance to reflect and be grateful on how far we have come in two years.
In 2011 after the same amount of games we were rock bottom of the Premier League, six points worse off than today. Considering bottom club QPR currently only has 17 points and West Ham are seven clear of safety, this is an obvious improvement. During that relegation battle several fans still had huge belief that we would survive right until the last few games despite our hapless and gutless performances under Grant.
Then when the inevitable happened, we needed promotion straight away or our precarious financial situation could see us implode. No-nonsense Allardyce came in, did the fundamental job with relative ease and once again we were mixing it with England¹s elite. While promotion through the play-offs was far from ideal and convincing performances were a little bit scarce it was still mission accomplished.
Some solid summer signings and a great start to the season put our manager in high regard. A couple of enjoyable high scoring home victories and credible results against the bigger teams left everyone believing a top half finish was achievable. Although this feeling of hope and optimism has gradually decreased, 11th place in February is a very impressive position for a newly promoted team.
While our away form has been decidedly poor all season and our style of play continues to infuriate, you have to commend Allardyce for steadying the ship and restoring our Premier League status. Although the possibility of relegation still remains, you would hope the warm weather training in Dubai and time off before our upcoming run of challenging games would be enough to restore some much needed form and for the time being at least, be thankful for Allardyce¹s contribution.