All the wheels haven’t fallen off West Ham’s season but the east London front runners are beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
The Irons left the pitch with three points from Chelsea on October 24 looking like the team most likely to accept to disrupt the received order but since then two home draws and two away defeats have given the table a more familiar look, with West Ham eighth.
Manager Slaven Bilic was magnanimous after his side could only take a point from West Brom on November 28 despite dominating the first half. Mauro Zarate’s spectacular curling free kick gave fans early hope of a revival of fortunes after the 4-1 drubbing against Tottenham on November 22.
Zarate and Manuel Lanzini showed that Dimitri Payet was not the only silky player in the set-up and caused Tony Pulis’s well-drilled West Brom defence problems. But they failed to make it count and the game fell away as Zarate and Lanzini looked spent.
So, at the beginning of the second half, when Rickie Lambert saw his shot deflect off Winston Reid and into the back of the net that was the end of that with the departure, injured, of Diafra Sakho adding to the misery.
Bilic told the club’s website : “You cannot say it wasn’t a fair result. In the first half it was one of the best in this part of the season. We played really well and created good chances. We were pleased at half-time with the way we played.
“I asked the players to continue like that and keep the momentum high. We started the second half well but then we conceded a goal and it affected us a lot.
“Manuel and Mauro were involved in most of the moves and they dropped a bit in the second half because they used up a lot of energy in the first half.
“We are not happy with one point but we have to admit it was a fair result.”
Mauro Zarate said of his goal : “I practice the free-kicks every day, in every training session with Rapha [Spiegel] or Adrian. It’s a good way to score and to give a goal for the team.”
But he was disappointed with the result adding: “We didn’t feel so good with the result. We had to be 2-0 up after the first half. We were dangerous, with Manu, Sakho and me we had many options.
“But in the second half they scored so quickly and that killed us.”
Bilic remains optimistic saying that he still expects to take something from the next game away to dour but implacable Manchester United at Old Trafford on December 5.