West Ham return to Premier League action this weekend when they travel to Watford looking to avenge a 4-2 defeat at the London Stadium earlier in the season.
Whilst the start of the campaign could not have gone much worse for the Hammers, with trouble off the pitch clouding many of the concerns on it for the likes of Slaven Bilic and those in the boardroom in Stratford.
The side that Walter Mazzarri’s players will face this weekend will be vastly different to that which they turned over earlier this term. Before the Hornets ran riot back in September the hosts had taken the lead and were showboating when Dimitri Payet sent a rabona across the face of the goal for Michail Antonio to head home.
In the end their swagger and arrogance cost them dearly, with Odion Ighalo sparking a remarkable comeback.
Since then the Hammers have been through the mill, with further issues surrounding the stadium fading away until playmaker Payet decided he’d had enough and went on strike. With the fallout from that saga having settled, Bilic’s side look to have an added grit and determination to prove they are more than just the Frenchman, and have put in some impressive displays since his departure, aided by new additions Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte.
With a win and a draw under their belt in the last two Premier League outings, accompanied with strong performances, the east Londoners have something to build on going into the run in.
Bilic has nothing but the remaining thirteen Premier League games to focus on with no European or domestic cup action to speak of in the months ahead. Whilst it may seem a disappointment to only be involved in the league from February onwards, it may be just what they need for this term, at least.
Having had all the trouble with their new home and the performances within in it in the early stages of the season, Bilic will be hoping for a pleasant yet successful run in over the coming months.
Whilst a push for European football may seem a little far off at this stage, although you cannot rule it out, a respectable top half finish, considering that many fans and pundits were tipping them to fall into a relegation battle a couple of months ago, would be far from troublesome.
Having proved that they can turn around their fortunes after the woeful start, poor summer additions and the Payet episode, a top ten finish would prove as something to really build on going into next season. In moving from Upton Park to the London Stadium, or whatever it will be called next season, the club have embarked on quite the project.
With a solid base this season, and a couple of well thought out additions over the summer, the project could really kick into gear next term, and this time next year things could look rather exciting for West Ham fans.