How quickly the gloss fades. A few weeks back Irons boss Sam Allardyce was fielding questions about a possible European slot. But now after another home defeat – albeit against the Champions elect – West Ham have settled into their default mid-table position.
There were signs of life for the home side, though, harrying their opposition throughout and making life uncomfortable but it was always going to be a nervy match once Eden Hazard put the Capital One Cup winners ahead on 22 minutes.
Although the second half was scrappy, West Ham offered plenty of endeavour and created sufficient chances but the team was let down by some wayward finishing. The zero-pointer means they have won just once in 10 league games and plummeted from fourth to ninth.
They can point to a better points tally than this time last season and more vocal support from the terraces but with a tough away match to Arsenal a week on Saturday, Allardyce will be keen not to let disappointing results turn into a full-on slump.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was upbeat though. After the match he said: “I believe the performance was magnificent. Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves. I think the goal is offside by a hair’s breadth.
“These decisions need to go for you, not against you. In saying all that we shouldn’t have lost it in the chances we missed.
“We started the second half brilliantly, the keeper made some great saves, and it is a shame these are happening on a regular occurrence with no wins. We can only hope it turns in our favour quickly.”
Meanwhile, the strength of the team spirit will be enhanced by news that Winston Reid, linked with a number of clubs, has finally signed a contract to remain in east London until 2021.
The New Zealand defender told the club’s website: “It’s one of those things that took a bit of time, but we got there in the end and I’m very happy to be here for the next part of my career. I’m looking forward to it.
“I feel comfortable here. My family are happy living here too. We’ve been part of the club living in London, so we weighed all the factors up and I’m delighted to be staying.It’s exciting times for the club with the Stadium move and that was a factor.”
“I’ve grown massively over that time too. Coming here five years ago I was only a young kid, but now I’m kind of a Londoner I guess! It’s a second home for me and I’m delighted.”
Image: West Ham United midfielder Kevin Nolan, left, vies with Chelsea's defender Gary Cahill, second left