Conclusions from our start

It’s never dull being a West Ham fan, is it? We’re only four matches into the season and already the emotions of every Hammers fan (this one included) have been pulled every which way.

It’s never dull being a West Ham fan, is it? We’re only four matches into the season and already the emotions of every Hammers fan (this one included) have been pulled every which way.

Opening-day victory over Aston Villa? Satisfied. Heavy defeat to Swansea? Embarrassed. Signing, on loan, of Andy Carroll? Amazed. Comprehensive win over Fulham? Joyous. Andy Carroll limping off with a potential six-week injury? “Here we go again.” And we’re back to being satisfied that we grabbed a point against Norwich. It’s only four matches in but we can start to draw some conclusions about the season so far and where things might head…

Andy Carroll at West Ham is like gravy on your roast dinner. It’s just right. Against Fulham, he ran the show and their defenders had no idea what to do with him. Even if he doesn’t score many goals, he will win the team points.

We have to take our chances. As convincing as the scoreline was at Swansea, we did have chances but missed them, whilst also making some costly mistakes. This was very nearly the case against Norwich too.

Home form will be key. There will be much sterner tests than Aston Villa and Fulham but we can build momentum from the home performances, and of course, home wins means a happy crowd.

We need to continue to get points on the board early. Our nice easy run of matches begins in late October when we get to play Arsenal, Man City, Newcastle, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool in fairly quick succession. Even the most optimistic Hammers fan would probably consider that we’re unlikely to get too many points from that lot.

There are definitely teams that could finish lower than us in the league. We don’t look out of place, so far, in the Premier League: although it is early days, I’d rather be in our shoes than theirs.

The accusation that we play “hoofball” is simply lazy journalism. If in doubt, watch the home match v Fulham again. The ball spent more time on the floor than in the air and there was some good football played. And when it was in the air, most of the time, it wasn’t aimless balls lumped upfield.

Our strikers need goals. It’s unfortunate that Andy Carroll is injured. Cole (pictured) should be able to step into the breach, but against Norwich he looked short on confidence. With Vaz Te also in questionable form, the team really needs Cole to step up. Finally, we should be optimistic. Of course, nothing was ever decided in the opening months of a football season, but if we remain competitive in the coming weeks there’s no reason why we shouldn’t finish the season in a relatively comfortable position.

Sunderland haven’t won a Premier League fixture this season – there’s no reason why this should change after this weekend’s match.

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