4th in the league; boring

Look, it is a mischievous headline, I’ll grant you.

Bottom line? Two shots on target, two goals scored. Haven’t watched it yet but it seems like most of the commentary I’ve read speaks of long balls to Carroll and a sublime finish from Downing, oh and conceding 53% possession to a side that sits at the bottom of the league.

Whatever, here is the updated prediction league:

Contributor

Sunderland vs WHU

Points

Total

HammerRay

3 – 1

3

17

Bomad

2 – 0

5

16

American

Hammer

3 – 0

3

14

Headmaster

4 – 0

3

14

RazorWine

3 – 0

3

14

Sanctown Hammer

2 – 1

3

14

ClaretNBlues

2 – 0

5

13

Harry – son of HM

3 – 0

3

11

Roshi

3 – 0

3

11

Alan Carter

2 – 1

3

9

Goatygav

3 – 1

3

9

DevoDevo

2 – 0

5

8

Stelios J

2 – 0

5

8

ADeludedCoker

3 – 0

3

6

Florida Hammer

4 – 0

3

6

Steve Broomfield

3 – 1

3

6

AoF

1 – 1

0

4

So, top 4 on Christmas Day?

Frankly, that is a headline I thought I most definitely would not be writing this year. So, as far as that goes, I am sending out a pre-Christmas message of enormous thanks to the squad, the management and the owners for a magnificent start to the 2014/15 season. At times we have played some sublime stuff and the success to date does make going to work on a Monday morning so much easier than in so many recent seasons. Despite our reputation for being critical and acerbic on this site, our regular contributors will know that we also do give credit and praise where we believe it is justified. If being top 4 as we approach the halfway point in the season isn’t about the right time for praise, I’m not sure when it ever will be. Good stuff, West Ham. Long may it continue.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Saturday’s home match vs Leicester is a banker. The run both sides are on means that logically there is only one outcome. Allardyce has just about a full squad to select from, with only Mark Noble sidelined until Boxing Day. that in itself is something of a first for West Ham Unite in recent years, if you think about it.

Hammers midweek talking points include Allardyce’s future!

One or two matters kicking around this week that seem worthy of some discussion.

Firstly, it may not have gone unnoticed by all of you that Sheffield United, having drawn a now out of form Southampton in the league cup quarter finals, now find themselves in the semi final of a major cup competition. Anyone else more than a tad aggrieved that we failed to beat them at Upton Park back in August?

Secondly, new deals; it is great to see that Sakho has been rewarded with an improved contract, higher wages and benefits and that he appears to be happy to have signed and accepted these. It seems as though the club are looking to offer a long contract extension to Mark Noble too although I guess there will be some split opinion about the reported offer of a new 5 year deal. Personally, I’m pleased. I’m in the Noble camp and not just because he is Mr West Ham. No, I rate his work ethic and his ability to break up play. I get frustrated sometimes by some of his dead ball delivery and I think he can improve further creatively but as a midfield dynamo, he is a natural successor to Parker for me.

Thirdly, Winston Reid. The silence is deafening. Is this the latest Diame or Rob Green scenario? It sure feels like it. I’m with posters on the last thread on this one. The boy is good but is he irreplaceable? I’m not so sure he is. Bottom line, as ever, if a player has had his head turned, begins to believe the hype then we’re probably better off getting what we can whilst we can get it.