Proof that West Ham fans were right all along about Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce Press Conference 12/02/2014

On the whole West Ham United fans appreciated the job Sunderland's Sam Allardyce did for them but new stats show they were right to demand more.

The Hammers are flying high in the Premier League this season and have mounted a serious challenge for the Champions League places.

Indeed were it not for a string of poor refereeing decisions against them in the last five games Slaven Bilic's side could arguably already be sitting pretty in third place with five games to play.

Whatever happens, though, this season has marked real progress for the East Londoners who have rediscovered a style of football more akin to the 'West Ham way' under Bilic.

Style and substance

There is substance too. Playing some fantastic football with stars such as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini but proving one of the most difficult sides to beat in all of Europe with just six defeats all season.

It is a far cry from the arrogant predictions of many pundits and rival fans when West Ham decided to part company with Big Sam last summer.

Make no bones about it some West Ham fans just never took to Sam Allardyce. But even those that defended him as the bitter medicine the club had needed grew tired of the football on display most weeks by the end.

Big Sam and West Ham reached a natural conclusion

The relationship reached a natural conclusion last summer and despite large sections of the media warning West Ham to 'be careful what you wish for' the Hammers waved goodbye to the former Bolton Wanderers boss after four years in charge.

The club and its fans were panned for daring to dream of more than mere survival in the top flight by playing the percentages.

In fact some pundits suggested West Ham fans were fickle and simply using Allardyce's reputation as stick to beat him with when results weren't going their way.

But new statistics, published in full by Wharf, have proved what West Ham fans have known all along... they were right.

Surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City also lead the way in the long ball table with nearly 7% of their passes hoofed (or should that be Huth'd) - they do love that ball over the top for the jet-heeled Jamie Vardy don't they?

Stats the end of that

West Ham sit firmly ensconced in midtable with just 5% of passes hit long, the majority of which will come as and when they utilise Andy Carroll.

But somewhat unsurprisingly for Hammers fans is the fact Big Sam's Sunderland sit second with 6.7% of passes hit long, and that's with poor little Jermain Defoe stuck up front on his own.

So there you have it one stat that vindicates Irons fans and closes the Big Sam debate once and for all.

For the record Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City hit the fewest number of long balls with just 2.4% - expect that to drop to 0% when Pep Guardiola arrives this summer.

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