At last! According to the OS this is the biggest home league win since the 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa in 2005! There is, of course, a huge difference between beating Villa in the Prem and the Kings Arms Blackpool in the Championship, but it has been a long, long wait for the team to throw off the shackles of doubt at the Boleyn so, no matter the quality of the opposition, this has to be trumpeted! Has Allardyce solved the conundrum at last? Do the bits finally piece together into a coherent jigsaw?
Noble knockers will be delighted. Mr West Ham didn't start and his omission may, indeed, be critical to the side's shape. He is not a holding midfielder so he has been used as a square peg in a round hole so far this season. Diop is what he is, a stopper in midfield, and his inclusion creates the opportunity for the full backs to get forward, secure in the knowledge that they have genuine protection behind.
Zola messed around with Behrami and Parker, and Grant with Parker and Noble, with neither settling on a pair that complimented each other: Behrami and Parker offered no offensive threat, whilst Parker and Noble both sought to play the same role. In Diop we have the rock and in Nolan the lighthouse. Collison and Taylor meanwhile offer energy, vision, cover and a goal threat. No prizes for guessing the West Ham midfield when we thumped Villa: Mullins played the Diop role, with Reo-Coker, Benayoun and Etherington offering the energy and goal threat in midfield.
It's also good to see a return to 4-4-2. I have long argued that 4-5-1 is the formation of the gods. It's great if you have players of the calibre of Rooney and Young - and even then England struggle to make it work - but with ordinary mortals, 4-4-2 gives you shape and an out ball, especially when a big guy like Carew can knock it down for a nippy striker like Baldock. Hopefully the days of lumping up to an isolated big man are over!
And what about Carew and Baldock? Are they the Claret and Blue Toshak and Keegan? Do we have our long craved for fox in the box to feed off the scraps created by a lion of a centre forward? One swallow does not a summer make, but let's begin to believe! At long, long last!
Reid and Tomkins are mobile centre backs, McCartney is a solid enough left back, Faubert or O'Brien offer the width going forward on the right, allowing Collison to drift inside. It's all down to shape as I have repeatedly argued and the jettisoning of Parker, Noble and Cole may just be key to finding a shape that actually works. Why has it taken six years to get there?
One last thought, perhaps we shouldn't go for Tevez - he might refuse to come off the bench when Baldock tires!
And a final conundrum for all you Claret and Blue egg heads. What player links that 4-0 win over Villa and the 4-0 triumph today?