Sunday 30 October 2022

Moyes ready to finally make the record books

Oooogh! Moyes has picked a strong starting XI to take on Man United with Dawson back and Bowen passing a late fitness test. 

Scamacca gets the nod ahead of Antonio but expect Mikey to appear as and when needed before the end.

Both Benrahma and Downes are rewarded for their decent form of late and start.

Perhaps in recognition of his record of scoring against the Hammers, or that we tend to hang deep away to top sides, Ronaldo starts.

Moyes' men need to press hard to expose Man Utds flexibility. 

With Ericksen and Fernandes in midfield, Soucek, Rice and Downes need to get stuck in and make ot as physical as possible. 

Set pieces could be key as Zouma, Dawson, Soucek, Rice and Scamacca are pretty formidable from corners.

Moyes still awaits an away win against Man Utd but this is definitely possible with today's teams.


West Ham United: Fabianski; Kehrer, Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice (c), Soucek; Bowen, Downes, Benrahma; Scamacca.

Subs: Areola, Johnson, Coufal, Fornals, Antonio, Lanzini, Ogbonna, Coventry, Emerson.

Man Utd: De Gea, Dalot, Shaw, Maguire, Martinez, Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes, Elanga, Rashford, Ronaldo.

Subs: Bishop, Dubravka, Fred, McTominay, Malacia, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Garnacho, Sancho.

Here's how Moyes can change his awful record against top sides

To kick things off West ham have not beaten Man United at Ye Olde Trafforde since the great escape in 2007, with a humble 3 draws and eleven defeats!

Add to that David Moyes has never won away from home as a manager against Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal despite a whopping 69 attempts!

Quite simply, his record is atrocious and here's why - he plays it tight trying to steal a win with counterattack but in doing so typically concedes 65%+ possession. That simply doesn't work when you are up against the might of wobbly refs and aggressive home fans where soft free kicks and penalties are a regular occurence and decide close games. 

The trick is to try to win by two goals, not nick a 1-0 smash n grab raid. Maybe we need to pretend that a win by two goals is needed to stave off relegation or qualify for Europe or avoid the plague - whichever option, let's play like our futures depend upon it!

Moyes has rarely had the kind of resources available to him to go toe to toe with big sides but just now he has his best squad ever and can realistically match Man Utd in every department - but only if the players play to their potential!

There is absolutely no reason why a Rice-Soucek-Downes triad in midfield can't at least get parity with Man United's current midfield set up. Add to that the defensive spine of Kehrer, Zouma and Fabianski and we shoukd force Man United out onto the flanks where if Bowen and Benrahma are energetically tracking back we can limit penetration. 

With our current attacking options we can surely create chances and given our recent fortune in front of goal this would be the ideal game for things to click into place as we undoubtedly have the ability to hurt opposition sides.

Whether Moyes throws down the gauntlet or opts for a conservative will become evident in a few hours but even if we start cagey there is the option of switching to full nuclear with Antonio and Scamacca asking the questions, with Bowen and Benrahma pitching in.

It's time to end the pain.

Rory Nostradamus is opting for 3-1 to West ham but the bookies are offering 40-1 against and of note he was out picking mushrooms yesterday so may be feeling a bit 'unusual'

Let's do this!


Thursday 27 October 2022

Coventry back from the brink

It's a big night for Conor Coventry as he starts in central midfield against Silkeborg. The 22 year old has followed in the tracks of Declan Rice through the academy but will have been disappointed when the Summer saw the arrival of Flynn Downes as the third choice central midfield option for David Moyes.

Moreover, Lucas Paqueta is pretty feisty and could well play in a deeper role if needed, further pushing Coventry down the pecking order.

But he has stuck to his guns and has a big chance to show his quality tonight. 

Otherwise, Moyes is using the game to give game time to many fringe players and also to give Aguerd his competitive debut. 

A point will seal top spot. There's plenty on the bench if it gets sticky out there.

West Ham Starting XI: Areola, Coufal, Johnson, Aguerd, Ogbonna ©, Emerson, Lanzini, Coventry, Fornals, Antonio, Benrahma

Subs: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell, Souček, Potts, Rice, Downes, Appiah-Forson, Scamacca

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Five Lessons from the Bournemouth Win

While the manner of the victory was far from ideal with two dodgy VAR decisions underpinning West ham's two goals, the result was certainly deserved. 

We noted five take away thoughts about the game;

1. The triad of Downes-Soucek-Rice in midfield is a big presence that allows the Hammers to boss lesser sides, but there is a lack of creativity that can lead to a blunt attack. West ham amassed 20 chances last night but could only get 4 on target. Perhaps the triad shoukd be wheeled out for bigger teams with Paqueta replacing either Downes or Soucek for other (i.e. most) games? 

2. Benrahma is a brilliant squad player. He endures a lot of criticism from Headmaster Moyes but keeps his head down and always gives it his all. He has been unlucky not to score more frequently, but at the very least he is a tremendous impact sub to shake things up and create a bit of space. With more regular game time he will surely blossom into the magician his skillset suggests.

3. Scamacca and Antonio are an ideal partnership. Mikey is a terrifying adversary when he comes for the final half an hour where is pace and aggression can make tired defences cave in. Scamacca hasn't been getting the breaks over the past few games but has slotted in perfectly and more goals will undoubtedly arrive. The real question is whether they should play as a partnership? Certainly, if we are chasing a game it would make sense.

4. Right back remains a problem position. Coufal came on briefly last night but in a short cameo looked the top class full back he was before the groin injury. Ben Johnson played better last night but still looks sluggish in possession and doesn't link with Bowen the way we want. Can Kehrer slot in at right back? He certainly has the composure on the ball.

5. A top six finish is still well within our grasp. We are suddenly in the top half and our new signings look to be bedding in well. It's time for a run up the league before the annoying World cup break. 


Monday 24 October 2022

Mike Dean's VAR....ahem....thanks!

West ham have dominated the game but failed to open a modest Bournemouth defence - except for two harsh VAR calls.

Thilo Kehrer certainlt didn't mean to fondle the ball in the run up to Kurt Zoum's goal, but he did. 

Then a nonsense penalty for a cross cut out by a flailing arm (less then a metre away and clearly unintentional) and a cracking spot kick fromSaid Benrahma...

2-0. Thanks Mike but it feels a tad dirty.

Oh, and you missed an obvious red card for a silly lunge on Scamacca. 

We deserved three points and needed the win but all the same Gaz O'Neill can feel hard done by. 

VAR get distracted during beach volleyball session at the London Stadium!

It's been a workmanlike performance so far tonight as the Hammers have had the initiative but struggled to open a dogged Bournemouth defence.

In fairness, the multiple stops for injuries haven't helped but West ham have missed the craft of Paqueta.

But on 43 minutes Bournemouth flapped at a corner, which looked to bounce off Kehrer's arm before a beack volleyball session ended with it glancing off Downes and then Zouma into the net.

The long wait followed until.....

Computers says YESsss!

How weird is that?

West ham need to seize the moment now Bournemouth will have to come out of their (cracked) shell.

Fasten seatbelts folks!


Sensible Moyes goes for solid line up as Bournemouth await

No major surproses as Moyes has opted for his in form players to face The Cherries. No Paqueta, so Downes continues with Benrahma and Bowen supporting Scamacca up front.

Antonio and Fornals on the bench. Kehrer and Zouma at CB, Ben Johnson and Cressy at full back. 

Dawson is still out.

Starting XI: Lukasz Fabianski, Ben Johnson, Kurt Zouma, Thilo Kehrer, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Flynn Downes, Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Gianluca Scamacca

Saturday 22 October 2022

The Gods of Karma Come aKnockin for Virgil Van Cheat

Aharrrrrrgh. Hammers fans have been seething all week after footage emerged of Liverpool 'ace' Vigil Van Dyck tampering with the penalty spot priot to Jarrod Bowen's penalty at Anfield.

Bowen struck a decent spot kick but his shot lacked height and allowed a well judged leap by Alisson to push it away. A save that ultimately robbed the brave Irons of a deserved point. 

If the ball hadn't been embedded in Virgils manufactured dike it would have likely sailed over Alisson's flailing arms. If this was cricket Virgil would get a few months ban for ball tampering.

Virgil and Co. Thought they had gotten away with it and in usual Scouselogic justified his skullduggery as the behaviour of a winner.

But the Gods of Football were not impressed and have taken decisive action. Liverpool travelled to Notts Forest expecting to continue their recent string of good results but were served a sickening dose of justice as Forest stunned them with a 1-0 win!

Even better, Van Dyck inexplicably fumbled two gilt edge chances to get Liverpool back into the game and even when gifted a third opportunity the Forest keeper pulled off a super save!

We can expect the Hammers to get more than their share of luck against Bournemouth on Monday night as the big wheel of fortune keeps turning.


Thursday 20 October 2022

Five things we learned from Anfield

The Hammers can feel somewhat unlucky not to have stolen a point in their clash with Liverpool last night but now its back to the drawing board for Moyes and Co. 

In an intriguing tactical battle there were many talking points to consider:

1. Declan Rice IS world class and was by far the best midfielder on show last night. The experiment with a Rice-Downes-Soucek triad in midfield looked solid and significantly limited Liverpool's penetration. The big question now for Moyes is whether he should start with Soucek or Downes when he just needs two in central midfield?

2. Ben Johnson still hasn't pushed on as a right back. He continues to turn infield or backwards and really needs to try pushing up the wing a lot more. Too often Liverpool forced the Hammers to distribute out of defence through Johnson and it didn't allow us to progress up the field and when he got crossing space it lacked belief. Is he destined to play as a centre back rather than full back? Just now, Thilo Kehrer looks like our best option at RB. 

3. Benrahma is our most in form winger of late and made a huge difference when he came on in terms of penetration and was behind the opportunities to snatch an equaliser that we created in the final quarter. If Pacqueta had played last then West ham would probably have gotten a point.

4. We need a top class penalty taker. In fairness, Bowen's was a good effort but a miss is a miss. Can Scamacca take penalties?

5. The combo of Antonio and Scamacca is an exciting option if we are chasing the game. Their speed and physicality is a real problem for any tiring defence and the more game time they get together the better their link up play will become. 

Next up is Bournemouth at home - we really need three points!

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Team analysis as Moyes shakes it up for Anfield

It's mixed news for Hammers fans ahead of tonight's visit to Anfield. The defence looks more coherent with Zouma returning to a back four, with Coufal and Emerson on the bench. One wonders with Salah back on form whether this is the very game in which Emerson should start so that he can cover Aaron Cresswell in his efforts to contain the talismanic Egyptian.

The bad news is that Lucas Pacqueta has succumbed to the heavy handling at Southampton and is unavailable for the matchday squad. In comes Flynn Downes for his first taste of the big time - after excellent performances in Europe (albeit against lesser opposition) he comes in to add weight to the Soucek-Rice midfield combo.

How this additional central midfield body will apply tonight remains to be seen. Many fans feel that West ham's poor record against Liverpool (last away win in 2015) reflects the fact that Moyes takes a very cautious approach against top sides and, perhaps, gives them too much respect!

So, our money is on a packed midfield but Moyes may instruct Rice to push up and pressurise Thiago et al, which may be a good ploy.

Up front it's Bowen, Fornals and Scamacca. Antonio and Benrahma are available from the bench. For Scamacca, it will be a real test against Van Dyck who will be brimming with confidence after his good showing against Erling Haaland on Sunday where he reminded us that he is the best physical CB in the league.

That said, Scamacca has the knack of finding opportunities and could surprise the Scousers with his quick thinking. 

No Dawson but we are unlikely to get a ton of corners and in reality Kehrer is probably a better CB fit against the current Liverpool front three. 

Perhaps the best pressure point for West ham to exploit is down the wings. Trent Alexander-AWOL returns at RB while on the keft Scimecas will have his hands full with Jarrod Bowen. 

Similarly, if Scamacca can get himself isolated with Joe Gomez his aerial power could offer opportunity.  Whether West ham can control the game enough zonally without Pacqueta remains to be seen.

There's no Jotta or Diaz for Liverpool with Nunez and Carvalho looking to shine. Henderson and Thiago will be an interesting match up with Rice-Soucek-Downes but Liverpool play a fluid system and will try to bypass that central midfield collision that Moyes is seeking. 

Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield this season and on the back of a demolition of Rangers and an impressive win over Man City. But, we are an unpredictable circus at the best of times. You'd take a draw tbh!!!


West Ham Starting XI: Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Downes; Fornals; Bowen, Scamacca. 

Subs: Areola, Emerson, Coventry, Lanzini, Antonio, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Randolph. 

Sunday 16 October 2022

The Trouble with Tribbles

It's finished 1-1 at St Marys as a dominant West ham couldn't find that crucial second goal to take all three points.

Southampton have reached crisis point with double-barrelled names fielding Caleta-Car, Maitland-Niles, Walker-Peters and much so that they had to substitute Armstrong for an Armstrong as there aren't any surnames left!

For West ham, the lack of potency at corners was our undoing. Who would have thought that 12 months ago we could get 14 corners and not even trouble the opposition! How we missed Dawson and Zouma in that regard.

Benrahma continued his good form with a crafty assist for Captain Krispies to bang in his first in a year.  Otherwise, we huffed and puffed, dominating possession (61%) but simply didn't quite click. 

But the talking point was the Southampton goal. Walker-Peters feet were clearly in an illegal position as he took the throw in, while the ref got in Bowen's way as he tried to break up the attack. Then a wicked deflection spun into the Hammers net to complete a triad of misfortune. VAR looked but didn't intervene. Damn!

As a final aside, Hassenhutl made a quadruple substitution just before the end making for probably the highest number of surnames ever fielded by one team in a Premiership match as the Southampton team list grew like tribbles.

Sadly we didn't have Captain Kirk to solve the tribble conundrum but we did have Declan Rice to at least grab a point.

An away point. We move on. Scouseland on Wednesday - they'll be low on confidence after a probable Haaland-De Bruyne mauling. Now there's a thought for the ultimate double-barrelled wannabe surname!


More VAR nonsense as Hammers concede

Errr. The Hammers are one down at St Marys after VAR failed to rule out a Southampton strike that followed and obvious foul throw by Walker-Peters!

The bottom line with VAR is that the final decision involves humans. Hmmmm.

Amazing - we need to come from behind once again. Southampton haven't kept a clean sheet in their last 25 games and Scamacca has already served notice that he means business.

We can do this but the next goal is key.


Hammers Defence has Moyes Full Backing

It's a bit of a patch up job at the back as West ham travel to St Marys for today's clash with Southampton. The injuries are mounting after an intense series of matches in Europe and the Premiership.

Moyes is without Dawson and Zouma with Ben Johnson and Thilo Kehrer filling the CB berths. Along with Emerson that makes for a defence composed of five full backs and no dedicated centre back in the starting XI!

Angelo Ogbonna is approaching full fitness and available from the bench if needed.

Otherwise, it's a predictable side with Scamacca leading the line and Pacqueta in behind with Emerson and Bowen on the wings. 

This presents the chance to make it three wins on the bounce but Southampton usually make it difficult, especially at home.


West Ham Starting XI: Lukasz Fabianski; Vladimir Coufal, Ben Johnson, Thilo Kehrer, Aaron Cresswell, Emerson; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Gianluca Scamacca, Lucas Paqueta

Substitutes: Alphonse Areola, Darren Randolph, Angelo Ogbonna, Conor Coventry, Flynn Downes, Manuel Lanzini, Said Benrahma, Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals

Saturday 15 October 2022

Hammers lament VAR absence

Until recently (last weekend to be precise) many Hammers fans would have celebrated the retirement of VAR. After a series of harsh VAR calls in recent seasons, the belief had formed that the technology was stacked against the Irons.

But last weekend's tussle with Fulham certainly changed all of that as the Hammers benefitted from three dodgy decisions to gain three valuable points that have got their season back on track!

Wind forward to the VAR-less Europa conference and suddenly West ham were looking for a video review as Ben Johnson appealed the refs decision to (incorrectly) award a penalty by signalling the need to look at the tackle on screen.

Sadly there was no screen to look at and the Hammers had to endure a tricky 6 minutes of injury time as Anderlecht were gifted the chance to steal a draw in a game where they had been hopelessly outclassed. 

Images clearly indicate that Johnson was hard done by as he pinched the ball and was kicked by the Anderlecht forward.

Alphonse Areola did his best but couldn't provide justice with a save. The keeper had pulled off a fabulous save from a curling Esposito effort midway in the second half which ultimately proved crucial to the unneccessarily narrow 2-1 win. 

Areola had another good night, again demonstrating his excellent distribution skills as the Hammers opted to play out from the back as they did not have any of their big target men up front for most of the game.

Either way, it was a job well done and the Hammers march on to the last 16.

A week is a long time in politics, and the pro-VAR vote has surely risen substantially amongst the Hammers faithful!


Friday 14 October 2022

Outrage at scenes from West ham!

As West ham eased their way into the last 16 of the Europa Conference thingy, fans joy turned to outrage as Anderlecht fans chose to ruin the night for everyone.

With West ham cruising at 2-0, Alphonse Areola stepped up to take a free kick from deep in the Hammers half. Suddenly, a very Belgian-looking ruffian stole onto the pitch and attempted to rob the ball from the Hammers stopper!

Areola may have a mere one-star rating for ball skills on FIFA but he responded calmly with a simple pull back that left the invader on his behind and, no doubt, feeling like the utter idiot that he is.

Responding afterwards, our top sports psychobabblologist - Dr Hansi von Fleishbanger- captured the ire of fans as he noted "pitch invasion without at least 50% nudity is a disgusting insult to the legends of streaking from the 70s and 80s - these idiots of the modern game couldn't tie the bootlaces of the likes of Mark Roberts, Michael O'Brien and Erica Roe"

Von Fleishmuncher duly elaborated "these pretenders need to complete extensive training before taking on these these responsibilities, quite frankly, a simple Youtube search can clarify the three key ingredients of a proper pitch incursion - nudity, nakedness and no clothes-ness"

In other news, Jarrod Bowen is bloody brilliant and Flynn Downes looks set to nail down a well deserved starting place in the midfield.

West ham are MASSIVE!


Thursday 13 October 2022

Big guns rested as Moyes goes experimental!

With West ham way out front in their Europa Conference group after three straight wins, any decent result tonight essentially nails down a last 16 spot. 

With that in mind Moysie has decided to start with an unusual line up where our fringe players get the chance to strut their stuff.

There's no Rice, Zouma, Soucek, Dawson, Antonio or Scamacca, with a back line of Coufal, Oggy, Johnson and Cresswell. Emerson may make it a back five?

In Midfielld its Lanzini, Downes and Pacqueta. Benrahma and Bowen are up front - presumably with Bowen leading the line.

It's a side of ballers but you'd have to feel nervy if Anderkecht can get corners - quite likely given their impressive performance in last week's game. 

We can expect an open game and a high scoring encounter!

It's pretty experimental looking but we have plenty of muscle on the bench of it goes wrong.

Let's do this!!!

Starting XI: Areola, Emerson, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Johnson, Coufal, Downes, Lanzini, Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma

Subs: Randolph (GK), Hegyi (GK), Dawson, Potts, Scarles, Rice, Souček, Forson, Coventry, Fornals, Scamacca

Sunday 9 October 2022

Hammers VARy VARy lucky in overcoming unlucky Fulham

Wow! They say fortune balances out over time.  Hammers fans have felt very hard done by in recent seasons with a host of dodgy VAR decisions robbing them of crucial points in their annual European quest.

Not so today as Moyes' men enjoyed three close calls to overturn Fulham's early strike and run out 3-1 winners in a competitive clash.

First up, West ham were gifted a soft penalty after some run of the mills precorner antics where Craig Dawson hit the deck and the ref pointed to the spot!

Then, Gianluca Scamacca deftly lobbed the keeper but it appeared that the ball had (perhaps) brushed off his hand before falling to his foot. After a prolonged VAR break the goal stood!

Then in stoppage time Michail Antonio pushed past a flimsy Fulham defence but also seemed to control the ball with his hand. 

In the end, it's a valuable win and we are up to 13th with our first back to back Premiership wins in yonks and three wins in a week!

Poor Fulham though - in all honesty, they looked like a decent Premiership outfit and our money is on them staying well clear of relegation troubles as the season progresses.


Hammers Ready To Nail Fulham

Ahoy! David Moyes was unusually upbeat in his prematch interview as he indicated that he believes his squad are finally starting to click. 

He has gone for Scamacca up front today - of note the Hammers have won all six games where the Italian has started this season.

Pablo Fornals gets the nod ahead of Benrahma. Flynn Downes is on the bench despite his recent strong showings. 

Antonio is ready to pummel the visitors, presumably from the 70 minute mark but if needed perhaps Moyes might go for the Antonio-Scamacca combo up front that many Hammers are dreaming about.

Fulham are without Mitrovic. Diop is on the bench. Luis Boa Morte is assistant coach for Fulham these days. 

It should be a cracker!

West Ham United Starting XI: Lukasz Fabianski; Thilo Kehrer, Craig Dawson, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Cresswell; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, Pablo Fornals; Gianluca Scamacca.

Subs: Areola (GK), Ogbonna, Johnson, Coufal, Emerson, Downes, Lanzini, Benrahma, Antonio

Friday 7 October 2022

Five things we can take from Hammers win in Anderlecht

West ham took full control of their Europa conference last night with a classy win against a feisty Anderlecht side. David Moyes will be delighted with the 1-0 win which highlighted many positives about the current squad at his disposal. Here are five thoughts to cheer Hammers fans;

1. This is a quality squad - starting with almost his b-side, Moyes was still able to field a side brimming with talent and experience that was as good as most starting line ups we have had over the past 20 years!  Being able to leave Rice, Soucek, Scamacca, Paqueta, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell, Fabianski and Fornals on the bench says it all. Despite all the absences, the Hammers played with fluency and largely dominated a decent Anderlecht side on their own turf. The arrival of Rice, Paqueta and Scamacca inevitably tilted the game towards the Hammers and the 1-0 win was well deserved. Moysie certainly has plenty of options right now.

2. Flynn Downes is a fantastic addition to the squad. Calm on the ball, great positioning sense and an eye for a gap, he adds fluency to the midfield. He doesn't have the physical presence of Tomas Soucek but brings plenty of quality to the side in every other department. The one remaining unknown is whether he has a decent shot in him? Either way, he has been a great acquisition and will inevitably play an increasingly important role in the side as the season progresses.

3. Paqueta has that creative ingredient that has been missing at the club in recent years. He is understandably taking time to settle in, but sees things others are oblivious to and is no wilting violet in the physical stakes. His through ball for Scamacca's goal was classy while the take down with his back foot was audacious! He looks a big step up from Lanzini and once he gets a few goals will surely start to have a major influence on games. 

4. Scamacca is the hitman we have yearned for since Arnie departed. A big physical presence, neat on the ball, hungry in action and, most importantly, he shoots on sight with great precision. The thought of pairing him up front with Antonio when we want to terrorise opposition is a mouthwatering prospect!

5. Areola is ready to push Fabianski for the starting berth. Last night highlighted how European action can exercise a squad that has true depth - this is our first time to approach European action without the fear of exhausting our squad and it keeps our fringe players active and happy. Areola's save at the end was superb but also, his distribution from kick outs is precise. 

Happy days - we are firmly in control of our European journey and now it's time to translate all this potential into Premiership points!


Sunday 2 October 2022

Reasons to be cheerful: Five things we learned from the Wolves match

Hammers fans will be hoping that yesterday's much needed win over Wolves signals that our new squad is finally starting to gel. Overall, the signs were certainly positive and at VERYWESTHAM we noted five reasons to be cheerful.

1. Scamacca looks the real deal. Aggressive, quick, good in the air and willing to shoot on sight, the lad has the skillset managers dream of. Still only 23, he has lots to learn but after a frustrating period where he was fighting of a virus, his first Premiership goal looks likely to open a floodgate. The skill involved in his goal should not be underestimated. He looks like Arnie without the churlishness. 

2. Kehrer is a top class player - calm on the ball, intelligent in defence and adaptable across the back line. Apparently he has leadership presence in the dressing room too! Over time he may well even challenge Soucek for the second central midfield berth! What a bargain at £10m! Coufal has struggled since he was needlessly kneed in the groin by Matic and maybe a break is needed - with Kehrer, Johnson and Coufal (and Ashby?) Available to play at RB we have strength in depth. And let's not forget that Antonio can play there too (just kidding!).

3. Soucek played his best Hammers game in a long time - better on the ball (i.e. quicker) and he was excellent in defence. Let's hope he can get to the level he was at 12 months ago - if so, we will likely go on a winning run.

4. With Bowen it was only a matter of time before things clicked back into gear. He rides the waves with his abrasive style and that can be frustrating if its only slightly off, but on form it is almost unmarkable! He's off the mark and we know what's coming next - with Fulham, Southampton and Liverpool over the next few games we can push on.

5. Paqueta is slowly getting to grips with the Premiership - it takes time but his attitude is exemplary and in all honesty a different ref would have given him 4 or 5 extra free kicks yesterday. 

So, the Hammers are out of the bottom three and firmly looking up - a decent haul over the next few games and we will be back on the edge of European places - you know it makes sense!