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Keep it clean

Filed: Thursday, 13th February 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham require just one more clean sheet in order to match a Club record last set back in December 1985.

Sam Allardyce's Class of 2014 have kept the highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League this season, four of which have come in the last four games - a Premier League record for the Hammers.

But John Lyall's team were well on their way to achieving the Club's highest-ever top flight finish (3rd place) when they kept an amazing six clean sheets in seven matches in the run-up to the New Year with a back four of Ray Stewart, Steve Walford, Tony Gale and Alvin Martin.

That sequence began with a 1-0 win (courtesy of Frank McAvennie) at Coventry on November 23, followed by a resounding 4-0 thrashing of West Brom at the Boleyn seven days later where the goals were scored by Tony Cottee, George Parris, Alan Devonshire and Neil Orr.

Lyall's side kept their third successive clean sheet when they beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road for the first time in over a decade the following weekend, with McAvennie -having recently returned from international duty in Australia - on target again. A 2-0 win over Birmingham on December 14 (McAvennie and a Ray Stewart penalty) extended the run to four games.

Four days before Christmas, West Ham achieved their fifth consecutive clean sheet with a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road against Luton Town - a sequence finally broken when an 85th-minute Steve Perryman strike gave Spurs a 1-0 Boxing Day win at Upton Park. But the Hammers' defence was as mean as ever in their next outing, another 1-0 away win - this time at Leicester.

The feat was also achieved in the 1923/24 season when West Ham kept five consecutive clean sheets between September and October.

This season, West Ham have kept out Chelsea, Swansea City, Aston Villa and Norwich City in consecutive matches. Next to test that remarkable defensive record are Southampton, who face West Ham at the Boleyn Ground on February 22.

However the Hammers still have some considerable way to go if they are to match Chelsea's record of 25 clean sheets in a season, a feat achieved by the Blues back in 2004/05. The individual record for clean sheets in a single season is held by Petr Cech, who was responsible for 21 of Chelsea's 25 in 2004/05 and former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwni Van der Sar, who also kept 21 in the 2008/09 season.

Clean Sheets Table: 2013/14 Season

1. West Ham United (13)
2. Arsenal (12)
3. Tottenham, Chelsea (11)
5. Southampton (10)
6. Everton, Manchester City, Norwich City (9)
9. Manchester United (8)
10. Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Liverpool, Newcastle Utd, Sunderland, Swansea City

Goals Conceded Table: 2013/14 Season

1. Chelsea (21)
2. Arsenal, Everton (26)
4. Manchester City (27)
5. Southampton (29)
6. Hull City, Manchester Utd (31)
8. Liverpool, Tottenham (32)
10. West Ham Utd (33)

Club Record Consecutive Clean Sheets

Six in total (from 1980/81):

August 23: Preston (a) 0-0
August 26: Burnley (a) 2-0 (League Cup 2nd Round, 1st Leg)
August 30: Notts County (h) 4-0
September 2: Burnley (h) 4-0 (League Cup 2nd Round, 2nd Leg)
September 6: Chelsea (a) 1-0
September 13: Shrewsbury (h) 3-0

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