World Champion

Hamilton fulfils his dream to match Senna's title haul

"I want to encourage young kids. It is about the self-belief they have. Hopefully, this will inspire parents. I wanted to be Ayrton Senna or Superman when I was younger and I hope that they feel the same and don’t give up on their dreams." — Lewis Hamilton
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Gary Lim: Five reasons why West Ham are flying in the EPL

West Ham's flying start is no fluke and here's why

Slaven Bilic.

They have already raided the grounds of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, and returned with full points.

On Saturday, they claimed another big scalp - Chelsea.

Third in the Premiership table, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, unfashionable West Ham are living a dream.

Here are five reasons why the Hammers are off to a flying start this season.


Previous manager Sam Allardyce never got on well with the fans and the board.

Bilic has no such problems. The former player and Upton Park cult hero is a superb man-manager.

The 47-year-old has the charisma and oozes aura. He demands of his players the attacking football that the fans crave. The desire he instils in his team's play is thrilling to watch and infectious at the same time.

Against Chelsea, they hunted in packs, closing down the opponents to force them off their intended paths. The motivation level in the Hammers' camp is at its highest in years.

Even forward Mauro Zarate, deemed not good enough by Queen Park Rangers for whom he spent half of last season on loan, is enjoying a new lease of life.


The fact that Allardyce took the team to top four in the league last Christmas was evidence that there was already quality in the side.

But Bilic seems to have turned the existing lot into even better players.

Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho have looked extremely solid, while the decisions to retain Carl Jenkinson and Alex Song have been spot-on.

Whether the players can avoid a meltdown similar to that of the second half of the last campaign remains to be seen, though.


Few teams have recruited as shrewdly as West Ham, and much of the credit has to go to their new director of recruitment Tony Henry. Brought into the club last year, he was a former chief scout at Everton who spotted players such as John Stones and Seamus Coleman.

Another plus for the Hammers is that Henry has close links with super agent Jorge Mendes, after helping him establish his business in England.

Apart from Dimitri Payet, there have been other impressive signings. Manuel Lanzini, who arrived on loan from UAE Arabian Gulf League club Al Jazira, and Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus, have also stamped their marks in double-quick time.


The Hammers have been so prolific in front of goal that they are the Premiership's second-top scorers, two goals behind league leaders Man City's 24.

Payet leads the way with five goals, but he is just one of nine different players, including three apiece from Kouyate and Sakho, to have found the net this season.

With the goals spread around the team, West Ham have shown that they are not reliant on any one player.

They have also scored in each of their 10 league games this season.


The West Ham fans chant: "Better than Zidane." Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher calls him one of the "top three or four performers".

With five goals and three assists, the Frenchman, who cost a mere £10.7 million ($22.9m) from Marseille, is turning out to be one of the best bargains of the campaign.

The 28-year-old has a superb eye for an opening, as shown in his average of 4.1 scoring chances created per Premiership match, a mark bettered in the Premiership only by Arsenal's Mesut Oezil (4.7).

Payet also has a big-game temperament, as seen in his high-level performances in the Hammers' wins over Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea.

We are only a quarter of the way through the season. One quarter, so what? We have to be in what I call the red zone all the time, we can never be in the comfort zone.

— Manager Slaven Bilic not getting carried away by the Hammers' early form

It is the first time I have a song with my name — it never happens in France. It really touched me. I would like to thank the fans. Even to be compared with him (Zidane) is a really good thing for me.”.

— Dimitri Payet on the chant ‘Better than Zidane’ by the Hammers’ fans

Finally, they meet

All Blacks and Wallabies - a final that is set to grip the world

Steve Hansen
Michael Cheika
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