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Can West Ham handle the EPL's Top Four pressure?

Will Chelsea & Arsenal destroy West Ham's Top Four ambitions after Christmas?

December 12, 2014 By Nate Axvig
Sam Allardyce’s club has two winnable games before facing Chelsea and Arsenal within a three-day stretch after Christmas.

West Ham United and its hardscrabble manager Sam Allardyce are one of the compelling stories in the Premier League as the team enters England’s compressed Christmas holiday schedule.

The Hammers, following summer acquisitions Enner Valencia, Alex Song (on loan from Barcelona) and Diafra Sakho find themselves alone in fourth place and ahead of the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Sakho leads the team with seven goals, Valencia owns the best goal of the campaign for his 61 MPH scorcher against Hull and Song’s arrival has shorn up the defensive midfield and given the Hammers a toughness they have not possessed since returning to the top division of English football in 2012. But can it last?

The Hammers have two winnable games in successive weeks as they journey to the Stadium of Light this weekend to face Sunderland before returning to Upton Park on December 20th to face Leicester City, currently at the bottom of the table.  They should be able to add to their current total of 27 points.  To show how far the Hammers have come, they had 13 points at this stage of the season last year and were mired in 17th place. 

Holiday fixtures will test the strength of Iron

The Hammers will be hard pressed to concentrate on the Foxes as the schedule maker created the ultimate holiday test for West Ham. Indeed, they will face current Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on December 26th and return home to greet Arsenal two days later on the 28th.  The Hammers must have some success against their more accomplished London neighbors if they are to qualify for Europe for the first time since crashing out in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 2006.

If the Hammers succeed and achieve their European goal, we can expect more smooches from Allardyce and their number one fan, Russell Brand.  

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