A late Diafra Sakho goal meant that Sam Allardyce’s men secured the three points against a faltering Sunderland side, and many will be hoping that it spells a return to form of the Hammers. Injuries have reduced their squad to the bare bones, with players out of position, thus reducing their effectiveness.
This has been especially prevalent in the defensive roles, with Cheikhou Kouyate filling in as a centre-half despite his defensive midfield position being natural. Winston Reid, James Tomkins and Doneil Henry are all on the sidelines, and the Hammers did very well to keep a clean sheet against the Black Cats - even with their lack of attacking threat.
It was just the second clean sheet the club have kept since the turn of the year, and after their brilliant defensive record last term, it represents a massive downturn in fortunes. The football on display has been much more attacking, but at the cost of defensive solidity, and club co-owner David Sullivan is keen to see the Hammers get back in the ‘habit’ of keeping clean sheets.
Speaking to the official Irons website, Sullivan said: “We need to get back in the habit of keeping clean sheets again and hopefully Saturday can be the start of a lean period for opposing strikers.”
With the international break now upon us, the Hammers will be hoping that their defenders can return to match fitness prior to the return of the Premier League, as they will prove vital in the late season fight for European football.