The David Moyes era at West Ham United got off to a poor start with Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Watford in the Premier League.
Goals from Will Hughes and Richarlison either side of half-time were enough to give the home side a deserved three points at Vicarage Road.
Defeat means the Hammers remain in the bottom three ahead of Friday night’s crucial home encounter with Leicester City.
Now that the dust has settled, here are three things we learned from the game with the Hornets:
Take your chances
Strangely enough, despite being outplayed for long periods, the Irons did create several gilt-edged chances that unfortunately passed them by.
Cheikhou Kouyate saw an attempt smothered by Heurelho Gomes when put one-on-one with the Brazilian after a clever through ball from captain Mark Noble.
The Senegalese later skied an effort from when unmarked 10 yards from goal, whilst Manuel Lanzini saw a drilled half-volley cleared off the line.
However, arguably the best opportunity fell to Marko Arnautovic in the dying moments of the first half, with Gomes producing a miraculous double save to keep out the Austrian’s deflected header and the subsequent follow-up from the same player to preserve his team’s lead.
It was a classic case of not being clinical enough in front of goal but on a positive note at least there were some moments of creativity in what was overall a disappointing display.
Carroll on his own is not the answer
The decision to start Andy Carroll up front was not altogether a surprise; Moyes generally favours a direct approach from his teams with plenty of crosses coming into the box.
The former Newcastle United forward is a specialist in the air but failed to impress throughout what was an indisciplined performance.
Carroll could have been sent off inside the opening minute when his stray elbow caught Watford debutant Marvin Zeegelaar on the nose and he was involved in several off-the-ball incidents during the first half.
With the England international on a booking and looking likely to pick up another, many fans were surprised when Moyes did not choose to remove him from the fray at the interval.
Ultimately he was substituted in the 65th minute for Diafra Sakho and whilst the lack of support around him was a factor in limiting his impact, Carroll seemed more interested in getting involved in petty spats than holding up the ball for his team-mates.
When played with a strike partner the 28-year-old can be an effective weapon, winning flick-ons and bringing his side up the pitch, but perhaps he lacks the touch and nous on the ball to operate as a lone centre-forward.
No miracles from Moyes
Any fans expecting to see a totally different Hammers side to the one that was smashed 4-1 at home by Liverpool two weeks ago were left frustrated.
Moyes has only been in the job for under a fortnight and whilst there was slightly more organisation on show against the Hornets, the performance as a whole was reminiscent of Slaven Bilic’s final couple of months in charge.
This is a side short on confidence and it will take more than a few training sessions to whip them into shape.
Having Javier Hernandez sidelined with a hamstring problem is also a blow; the Mexican is the club’s top scorer this term and surely would have gobbled up at least one of the clear-cut opportunities that were spurned on Sunday.
If they had been taken, then the discussion could be centred on a gritty draw rather than what seemed on the face of it another comprehensive defeat.
Moyes will be aware of the scale of the task ahead of him and must be given time to find the right formula; here’s hoping he gets it right against Leicester!