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With which century's football will Allardyce out-tactic 'best in the world' Mourinho this time around?

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea aren't the only (relatively) high-flying, highly confident outfit at the moment in the Premier League.  Manchester City, winners of six in a row, are obviously up there as well, but so are fourth place West Ham United who are currently enjoying their best start to a top flight season in nearly 30 years.

The Hammers have lost just once in the last three months, and Big Sam's got designs on a surprise or two when they visit Stamford Bridge on Friday.  "We'll see what century we're in," he warned a few days ago, referring to Mourinho's jibes about the 19th century football on display from the visitors in last season's corresponding fixture.

Incidentally, Allardyce credits that draw for turning their season around and providing the foundation for this season's success.

"The turning point - why West Ham United stayed in the division eventually - was the draw at Chelsea.  That's how important it was. It gave the lads a huge confidence boost and huge belief that they could hold a team like Chelsea off.  We went from there on to make ourselves safe in the league."

"We'll see what century we're in when we finish there (on Boxing Day).  It's a nice time, I think, for us to be playing Chelsea and Arsenal.  We can go there and see if we can go and challenge ourselves against two of the big boys in this league."

Unlike last year, when West Ham were hoping desperately just to survive, Allardyce has nothing to lose this time around and is purely just looking forward to challenging himself against the best.  And that sounds like a potentially more dangerous situation than the one last year, even.

"He is probably the best working club manager in the world at the minute on his track record. I don't think there is any doubt about that."

"I want to pit my wits against the best and obviously he is proving that again here in England with Chelsea this season."

h/t: thanks for the FanShot, Juhopa

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