David Moyes' men left Athens last night with their tails between their legs after a sound thumping from Olympiacos. In truth, the 2-1 scoreline did little justice to the Greek's dominance in a game where the Hammers didn't show up until the final fifteen minutes.
Moyes opted for a starting lineup consisting mainly of fringe players, presumably hoping that the hunger of those on the margins would translate into an energetic performance. It didn't!
The Hammers looked lacklustre and disorganised. Without Bowen, Paqueta and Antonio we lacked any cutting edge up front, while defensively we struggled with Olympiacos' width and then descended into circus antics in front of goal.
Olympiacos' first goal resulted from a stunning failure to close down a meandering run along the 18 yard box and a cruel deflection off Mavropanos. Instead of hitting back, we then conceded an embarrassingly sloppy second on the cusp of half time as Ogbonna and Areola miscommunicated and a seemingly benign cross scuttled into the net.
It was easy to blame our defence for the 0-2 scoreline at half-time but in reality our top half had totally misfired. It was hard to choose between Fornals, Ings and Benrahma as to who was the most unimpressive (or disinterested) as we seemed to feel entitled to get another European win by only showing up! Olympiacos, in comparison were full of energy and commitment, constantly coming out on top in 50-50 collisions.
Mercifully, half time came but instead of a second half revival, the next 30 minutes were dominated by the Greeks who truly had the bit between their teeth. Spurred on by their fans giant banner that read "Tonight you dine in hell" they hunted in packs and should have gone further ahead.
Moyes brought on the bomb squad, but they too stuttered and it wasn't until too late that Paqueta scored a majestic goal to open the door on an unlikely comeback. Along the way, Danny Ings missed a massive chance (again). Worryingly, once again we created almost nothing of note from a string of Ward-Prowse corners, getting lost in bully-boy antics in the six yard box.
Last night was the first time you could really sense the absence of Declan Rice's leadership and energy.
So, it's back to the drawing board. Everton at home on Sunday is a big chance to get going again, while Olympiacos' visit in a fortnight gives us a chance for some revenge.