Can Avram cure Hammers’ travel sickness?
West Ham go to Wolves on Saturday, the scene of their last away league victory
THAT SUNNY August day in Wolverhampton seems like an awful long time ago.
Actually, it was. Since West Ham cruised to a 2-0 victory at Molineux to get the 2009-10 season off to a perfect start, they have failed to register another win on their travels in the league.
They did go some way to breaking that travel sickness hoodoo last month at the Stadium of Light when they outplayed and outscored Sunderland to book their place in the last 16 of the Carling Cup.
But it wasn’t the Premier League, it wasn’t where it really matters for Avram Grant and his men.
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After that excellent win against Mick McCarthy’s boys, West Ham never really looked like emulating that feat as the Hammers flirted with relegation.
They managed six draws last season, but none of them could be considered as daylight robbery or that West Ham unluckily missed out on securing all three points.
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They had dull 0-0 draws at Blackburn and Aston Villa where nothing of note seemed to happen in the entire 90 minutes.
They threw away a lead at bottom of the table Portsmouth to draw 1-1, while they were saved from defeat at Everton by an Ilan goal that was as unlikely as it was spectacular.
The other two draws were really the ones that got away against teams they really should have beaten.
West Ham were 2-0 up against Sunderland and then saw Kenwyne Jones sent off for the home side, but still the Wearsiders came back to level at 2-2.
It was even worse against Hull City. Again they went 2-0 up, but Hull hit back to go 3-2 up before Bernard Mendy was sent off.
Manuel Da Costa saved their blushes that day with a late goal.
And that was it for last season. This time round they have gained a deserved point at Stoke City, but couple that with resounding defeats at Villa Park and Old Trafford and it is easy to see why the wait has gone on so long.
West Ham have currently gone 21 games without an away league victory and that is a club record that the Hammers will want to bring to an end as soon as possible.
During that time they have drawn seven and lost 14 matches, scoring just 16 goals against 44.
Back at the turn of the sixties, the last time West Ham only managed to win one away game all season, the club had the appalling record of just one victory in 35 games spanning 1959 and 1961.
West Ham will not want a repeat of that and the Hammers recent form suggests that they are ready to break out of the away day shackles and at last record that elusive win.
Manager Av-ram Grant had some dark days at Portsmouth last term, but the club did win two games away from Fratton Park.
One was at Burnley, and the other – more significantly – was at Wolves, where they won 1-0.
An omen? Why not.