Going into the international break, how would you grade West Ham’s start to the season?
Andrew Hosie: B*. Can you imagine if we’d beaten Leicester and Bournemouth at home? We’d be top of the league! But we’re not. Having said that, you can’t complain about beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City away. We should, however, have beaten Sunderland.
David Bowden: B. Fourteen points from eight games is a solid start for Bilic. The away form has been very un-West Ham, which is refreshing to see. I don’t think any Hammer could see those wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City coming, but just four points at home is a concern.
David Blackmore: For me, we’ve had a fantastic start to the season. Regardless of the results against Bournemouth, Leicester and Norwich, every game has been a refreshing treat to the football we witnessed in the Allardyce era. It’s an A from me.
Marcus Johns: Tricky. Some bonus results at the big clubs, but disappointing at home. Points wise, probably about where we’d expect to be. Leicester and Bournemouth were disappointing. Too many individual errors at home costing goals. On the whole, happy. B+
What do West Ham need to do to improve their home form?
AH: I don’t think we’re too far away from getting the home performances right. We have to concentrate though and actually play with full effort for 90 plus minutes, like the shift we put in against Man City away. Do that and the results will come
DBo: It’s clear that the Hammers will play on the counter this season. At home though, the Irons have to be more proactive and get on the front foot more especially against the ‘lesser sides’. We must use our pace and power to our advantage and go at sides rather than inviting pressure
DBl: We need to start better. It’s as simple Good start: Slaven Bilic can be pleased with his first few months in the job as that. We conceded after 11 minutes against Bournemouth, and earlier than that against Norwich. We also went two goals down against Bournemouth, Leicester and Sunderland before we really got going. We’re not always going to be able to get an early goal so it’s important that, at home, we take the game to the opposition from the first whistle
MJ: I’m not sure this is an issue related purely to West Ham. As we’ve seen with our away performances, teams are set up to counter. When we have to dictate the pace, we struggle at the moment. All I’d say is to be bright, play front foot football, and give the ball to Payet.
Has Dimitri Payet already proved himself to be the best value transfer by any Premier League club this summer?
AH: He’s definitely right up there with the best of them, isn’t he? Overall for the outlay he’s got to be considered the best signing by any club, for his sheer consistency of high standards and impact he has had on the team.
DBo: It is early days for Dimitri Payet, but he has started like a house on fire this term. He is a player that the club has been crying out for, he has an eye for goal and his vision is magnificent.
DBl: I agree with David, it’s still too early but from what I’ve seen so far, I think he’ll certainly be up there come the end of the season when we all look back. He was revelatory in August and September, and has drawn acclaim from all corners. I’m very surprised we managed to land Payet so comfortably but I’m wary that our star man’s head could easily be turned if one of the Big Four come in for him in January or next summer.
MJ: I think so. I’d say it is probably between him and Swansea’s Ayew at the moment — but so far so good. Let’s hope he can continue his vein of form throughout the season.
Adrian has just signed a new long term contract, where does he rank amongst West Ham’s recent keepers?
AH: I love Adrian, I love his attitude on and off the pitch and he really does seem to love West Star man: West Ham signed Dimitri Payet in the summer transfer window Ham too. He’s a great shot-stopper and definitely is the best keeper we’ve had in ages.
DBo: What can you say about Adrian? He is a total lunatic but you have got to love him. His love for the club is clear to see with his wild celebrations after every goal. But he is a terrific keeper too. He, in my eyes, is a legend and our best since ‘keeper Phil Parkes.
DBl: In most people’s eyes, he will be number one. It’s not just his ability but also his personality and the rapport he built with the fans right from the off. Rob Green, in my opinion, runs him very close but it’s Adrian’s likeability that gives him the edge. I was delighted to read he had agreed to stay at the club for longer and, in my opinion, wouldn’t look to leave the club if we were relegated or if more money was offered at another English club. He’s here to stay and we’re all loving this – especially Lucy Woolford.
MJ: It’s always difficult to compare eras. My dad swears Mervyn Day was the best ‘keeper West Ham have had, I think Ludo. Adrian has come on leaps and bounds since we signed him and looks the real deal. Consistency is key though, and we need a Ludo/ Parkes type duration to really be able to judge him
Sam Allardyce is bringing out his autobiography this Christmas. If you could ask our former manager one question what would it be?
AH: With your firm belief in the use of algorithms and statistics to base your training methods and tactics on, how was it that Kevin Nolan still managed to start pretty much every game in your last season?
DBo: Sam, you seemed to be against giving young players a chance, why was that?
DBl: I think, like Mr Bowden, I’d be tempted to ask a question about why he didn’t really give our academy products a chance. But, in an attempt to be different, I’d ask him if he could, would he go back in time and give a different answer to the ‘West Ham Way’ question that still irks me to this very day. Or why he didn’t feel the need to placate the West Ham faithful like Slaven Bilic has.
MJ: I can’t think of any that you’d actually be able to print!