LONDON (Reuters) – You would have got long odds at the start of the season that Sam Allardyce will lead West Ham United into the Premier League’s top four when his job was under the microscope and fan discontent was bubbling away in the background.
Yet Saturday’s 2-0 win over Leicester City at Upton Park, a ninth victory in 17 league games, has ensured the Hammers will be in a coveted Champions League qualifying spot on Christmas Day and has silenced rumblings of discontent among supporters.
The added benefit of seeing record signing Andy Carroll back on the pitch after so many injury absences and finding the back of the net with a fantastic finish will only have added to the festive cheer for the West Ham manager.
“Being fourth in the Premier League is a great Christmas present for everybody at West Ham,” Allardyce said on the BBC.
“Having 31 points before Christmas is a pretty major achievement for us.”
Striker Carroll has only made a handful of appearances this term but, after scoring twice against Swansea City two weeks ago, he made up for a poor miss against Leicester by adding to his tally with a delicate chipped finish in the first half.