With victories at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City already this term, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham were a team to be feared away from Upton Park.
The Croatian’s side were brought back down to earth with a bump at Tottenham on Saturday, but overall the Hammers boss will be pleased with how his reign has started.
So what three things have we learnt about West Ham after 13 games?
1) Good players can be found in the middle east.
When West Ham announced they’d signed Manuel Lanzini on loan from Al Jazira Club in Abu Dhabi, it was a deal which went largely under the radar. If you’d had asked fans at the time how the Argentine would do in the Premier League, many would have given a negative reaction due to there being no previous examples of players succeeding here after a move from the Middle East. But it’s easy to say that the Argentine has been a hit so far after four goals and a string of eye-catching performances in 11 Premier League outings. His ability to hold the ball, skill and eye for goal from midfield means the Hammers will have to act fast if they are to secure the 22-year-old’s signature on a permanent basis.
2) Bilic loves a big away trip.
After upsetting England at Wembley as manager of Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, everyone realised that Slaven Bilic loves causing an upset on the big stage. And in his first Premier League match in charge of West Ham he was at it again, this time by leading his side to a 2-0 win at Arsenal. In their second away match they pulled off another shock by defeating Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield, before causing the biggest shock with a 2-1 win at then-leaders Manchester City in their third away game. Recent trips to Watford and Tottenham have been somewhat of a reality check, but don’t be surprised if the Hammers pull off a few more results (watch out Manchester United and Chelsea) on the road before the campaign is up.
3) Dimitri Payet is different class.
Not a lot of English football fans knew too much about Dimitri Payet before he signed from Marseille for over £10 million in the summer. But it only took the first few weeks of the season for supporters to realise the Hammers have a fantastic talent in their ranks. Five goals, three assists and 43 key passes in just 12 league games shows the France international’s class; he’s simply Bilic’s match winner. An injury has unfortunately sidelined the 28-year-old for a few months, but hopefully he can return to his best in 2016. If you add his form for West Ham with the 134 chances – including 17 assists – he created last term, it’s crazy to think that the Premier League’s ‘big’ sides weren’t challenging the Irons for his signature.