As speculation mounts over Sam Allardyce, has West Ham's season been a success?

West Ham Upton Park

Debate has raged for months over the future of Sam Allardyce at West Ham United, but in the cold light of day has the club's season been a success?

Big Sam is a man of statistics. He uses them to analyse his players, performances and to justify his decisions.

So how do things stack up for him and his side as he approaches judgement day at the end of this month?

Well let's start with the positives. West Ham could be on course to record a positive goal difference for the first time since the inception of the Premier League 23 years ago.

The Hammers have been in the Premier League for 19 of the 23 seasons since it was first introduced in 1992 and currently sit on an even goal difference with two games to go against Everton and Newcastle United.

The East Londoners have enjoyed a number of strong finishes in their Premier League history including ending the season in fifth, seventh and eighth and finishing ninth place and 10th three times each.

If they finish 10th it will mean the Irons have ended exactly half of their Premier League seasons in the top half of the table. And after last season's disappointing 13th place finish, it is an improvement.

As a club West Ham's summer transfer business was some of their best for a long time. Most of the nine signings have been a success.

Diafra Sakho, surely the bargain of the season, has scored 12 goals after signing from Metz for just £3.5 million (per the Guardian) and may well have threatened the 20-goal mark had he not spent two spells out injured.

Aaron Creswell, the young left back signed from Ipswich Town, was named Hammer of the Year and also won the club's Players' Player award while Cheikou Kouyate, loan signing Carl Jenkinson and Enner Valenica have also played crucial roles in the side.

West Ham's half-term report this season would have been a glowing one. Sitting in the Champions League spots at Christmas after their best ever start to a Premier League season, things couldn't have been much better.

Victories over Manchester City and Liverpool were highlights, while the club should also have been celebrating wins over Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United after brilliant performances were marred by last-minute slips in concentration and inspired goalkeeping.

The football was more entertaining too, something the board had ordered Allardyce to address in the summer.

But it tells you how far the Hammers have fallen that the end of term report will read 'could have done much better'.

2015 has been a slog and Allardyce's side have produced nothing short of relegation form with just three wins.

After being knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle at home to League One Sheffield United, the FA Cup was the club's only realistic hope of silverware.

And things looked good initially as they progressed past Everton and then Bristol City while most of the big guns were knocked out in THAT weekend of shocks.

'Could it be our year' some West Ham fans thought, after all they were one of the form teams in the country.

The answer was no. An embarrassing 4-0 away defeat to West Bromich Albion abruptly ended those dreams.

To make matters worse any positivity built up after the brilliant start to the season dissipated as co-owner David Sullivan was accosted by a small group of angry fans outside the ground.

Away from the cups, what of the points total? Obviously there are still two games to go, but Allardyce has continually highlighted the aim to get to 50 points and beat the club's best total in the Premier League under him.

Of the 47 points collected thus far, 24 have come from the bottom six clubs - more than 50% of the Hammers' total points.

We know all about the brilliant start, but since New Year's Day the club has taken just 16 points from a possible 51 in 17 games with three wins - against Hull City, Sunderland and Burnley - and seven draws.

Two of the most damning statistics, though, are Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan.

The big striker is West Ham's record signing but many fans are starting to see him as an expensive bonus after yet another season wrecked by long-term injury.

And Allardyce's captain Kevin Nolan has suffered too. He has scored just once all season, one of the worst goal returns of his career to date, to provide more ammunition for critics.

But things can still end on a positive note for the club. A top 10 finish and entry into the Europa League via the Fair Play route would bring European football to the Boleyn in its final season.

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