West Ham vs Tottenham: Sam Allardyce looking to continue last season's domination over Spurs
Hammers won three out of three against their London rivals, scoring seven goals along the way, and Allardyce is looking for an opening day victory on Saturday
Friday 15 August 2014
Sam Allardyce is eager to extend West Ham's recent dominant record against Tottenham on Saturday.
Last season saw the Hammers flirt with relegation, enduring a chronic injury list, and manager Allardyce's future was questioned, but three victories over Tottenham punctuated the campaign with memorable moments.
A 3-0 Barclays Premier League win at White Hart Lane, their first at Tottenham in 14 years, was followed up with a 2-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final success in Tim Sherwood's first game as head coach of the north London club.
The Hammers then completed a hat-trick of victories with a 2-0 win towards the end of the season, and Allardyce will channel the memory of those games when Mauricio Pochettino's arrive at Upton Park for their season opener.
"It was fantastic for us to beat our old rivals three times last year," he said.
"But they are a top side and we'll have to hit the ground running. We'll have to hit top form from the first minute to the last.
"It's a very exciting fixture for the players, the fans and everybody else surrounding West Ham. A big local derby to start the season off and hopefully we can reproduce the performance that we did for the last game at home last year.
"Every game is important, whether it's the first or the last. If it goes as well as the last one did I'll be very, very happy on Saturday.
"It is a new season, they have a new manager. He'll assess the players he's got: he's brought some new players in, we've got some new players in, so it's a completely different scenario."
The 3-0 away victory will be remembered for Allardyce's tactics as he lined up without a striker in his formation.
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With Andy Carroll ruled out for four months and summer signing Enner Valencia not yet match fit, that option could again be in Allardyce's mind for Saturday's meeting.
But, with Mauro Zarate and Carlton Cole in contention and new recruit Diafra Sakho also hopeful of making his West Ham bow having arrived on Thursday, the Hammers boss has more choices in attack than he did last year and all three available front players are raring to go.
"I'm looking forward to playing," Sakho said after signing from Metz on Thursday night.
"It's more than a month now that I've been training for this and right now I think I'd be ready to pull on the club colours."
Cole, who rejoined the club during the last campaign having originally failed to earn an extension to his contract, wants to see another West Ham victory to hold them in good stead for the season.
"We're all looking forward to Tottenham on Saturday. It could really set the tone for us," he said.
"My personal hopes are obviously scoring goals, getting into a good position for the team and having a successful season. That means doing better than we did last year. We did okay last year but we know we can do better."
Zarate, too, is keen to get his competitive West Ham career up and running against Tottenham, with the former Birmingham loanee aware of the magnitude of the opening fixture.
"It's not an easy match for us - a derby. We have to win because we're playing at home, so we have to do our best and win," he told West Ham's official website.
"Pochettino is a good manager, I don't know him, but people say he is like Marcelo Bielsa. He attacks always, and he did very well at Southampton so it's a new chance for him."
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