Pelle & Sakho – Changing The Fortunes Of Southampton & West Ham

Back in August, West Ham and Southampton were considered two clubs who would be lucky to survive relegation. Fast forward three months and both sides enter November in the top four of the Premier League. 

What, when, where and why are all the beginnings of questions which can be thrown down in an effort to fathom how these two surprise packages have come all the way to the dizzying heights of Champions League qualification, for the moment at least.

However, it is rather the question of who which gives us the answer as to why the Hammers and the Saints are where they are.

Rewind back to the summer of 2014 and Southampton had had the clear out of all clear outs. Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Dani Osvaldo, Rickie Lambert and Callum Chambers, just to name a few, all departed the club before the season was in full swing.

With all the departures at the South coast club this summer there was cause for negativity. Shane Long – the club’s most expensive signing was seen as the main man up top this season but Graziano Pelle has given the Saints a focus of attack that many wouldnt have expected to be so fruitful.

Shane Long is not even in Southampton’s top four goalscorers this season with just one goal in six games, whereas Pelle has emphatically taken over the mantle of top striker at the club with nine goals in six games.

His previous record at Feyenoord would have given cause for optimism with an impressive 23 goals in 28 league games, but the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League can be a tough one.

A call-up to the Italian national team ahead of Mario Balotelli earlier in the month is sure to only increase the 29-year-old’s confidence yet further as the Saints head into the tough Christmas period.

West Ham on the other hand have, if anything, been even more surprising this season. The Hammers finished 13th last season, just seven points off the relegation zone so there was certainly a large degree of pressure on Sam Allardyce to improve his side, and similarly to Southampton, there has been one signing in particular that has grabbed all the headlines – Diafra Sakho.

The 24-year-old has scored six league goals already this season for the Londoners, catapulting them to fourth place in the Premier League, two points ahead of Arsenal.

When the frontman joined from then, second tier French club Metz, few had expected him to have as much of an impact as he has had.

Now the question remains can these sides continue their consistent form and are they going to become guilty of relying too heavily on their standout stars as the season progresses. So far West Ham have scored 17 Premier League goals while Southhampton have scored 20, which shows that both sides are at present relying heavily on their new recruits.

However, if these two new additions can keep going the way they are West Ham could become at least a Europa League contender, and Southampton who this writer believes have a better all-round team could also very well challenge for European competition.

Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.