David Moyes questions cloud West Ham progress as caution concerns fans

Just a third of the way through the season, already West Ham’s fortunes have taken several twists and turns, a bright start followed by a run of four Premier League games without a win that only came to a halt with Sunday’s dramatic victory over Nottingham Forest.

In the cup competitions, however, the Hammers have picked up where they left off after ending their trophy drought last season, currently top of their Europa League group and through to the last eight of a wide-open Carabao Cup.

Here, Standard Sport assesses how the Hammers are faring.

Season so far in one word: Inconsistent

Verdict compared to pre-season expectations: It really depends which part of pre-season you’re talking about. For a long while this summer, there was concern over a lack of transfer activity following the sale of Declan Rice but excitement ramped up after a flurry of late additions.

It’s been a bit up and down but ninth in the league and going well in Europe is probably about par. There would be more excitement over the Carabao Cup run were a daunting quarter-final away at Liverpool not in store.

How is the manager doing? David Moyes has got several big calls right; he has played strong teams in the cups, managed the transition in goal well, eased Mohammed Kudus into his side and turned Jarrod Bowen into a potent force at centre-forward.

And yet, with his contract up in the summer, questions over the Scot’s future are never far away and nor is the feeling that his teams play within themselves.

Questions persist over David Moyes' West Ham future with his current contract due to expire in the summer (Getty Images)
Questions persist over David Moyes' West Ham future with his current contract due to expire in the summer (Getty Images)

Reason to be cheerful: A new-look forward line of Bowen, Kudus and Lucas Paqueta is in its infancy but has all sorts of potential. All three are elite, exciting performers with the capacity to elevate the kind of attacking football this team is capable of playing, so long as the handbrake is released.

Also, that four of the next five league games come against teams in the bottom half.

Reason to be fearful: Perhaps owing in part to Rice’s departure, West Ham have lost some of their defensive solidity, keeping only one clean sheet in the Premier League all season.

With Kurt Zouma injury-prone and Nayef Aguerd still plagued by the odd error, a new centre-back may be on the wishlist in January. Losing Edson Alvarez for any prolonged period would be a major blow, too, given the lack of cover.

Fans’ mood: A tricky one to gauge. Supporters are thrilled with the prospect of another knockout run in Europe post-Christmas and pleased with the impact of at least three of the four major summer signings but there remains a nagging frustration at the team’s lack of Premier League consistency and the cautious nature of some of their football, particularly in home games against weaker sides.

Overall grade: B-