After an exciting summer in the transfer window, West Ham United fans were rightly looking forward to the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, with optimism that the club could push for a top-eight finish this term.
However, with a new manager at the helm in the form of Manuel Pellegrini and a host of signings arriving at the London club, to say there has been teething issues at the Hammers so far is being kind.
West Ham go into the international break as the only side in the Premier League without a point as yet, with four consecutive defeats leaving the team bottom of the table and with a -8 goal difference.
With pressure on the players and manager to buck this worrying trend and move the Hammers away from a potential campaign of relegation fears, a positive September is required.
In the cut-throat world of football management, club owners are becoming less patient and more trigger-happy – something Pellegrini will be fully conscious of.
As such, West Ham fans betting on the Premier League at 888 will hope their side’s fortunes improve and have games against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United to look forward to.
Given the standing of September’s opponents, the Hammers will need to be at their best to arrest the slump and move up the table.
Everton vs West Ham – September 16
Everton at Goodison Park is the first fixture after the international break and will be far from straight forward.
Marco Silva’s men are unbeaten this season and the new Toffees manager has the Merseyside club playing a more expansive and attacking style of football.
That said, there are a number of reasons for optimism for West Ham.
Key attacker Richarlison will be suspended for the game, while Everton have concerns at the back that the Hammers will hope to exploit.
In particular, Pellegrini should deploy Michail Antonio or Felipe Anderson on the right flank in an effort to expose Leighton Baines, if he is selected, who has looked defensively suspect this season so far.
West Ham vs Chelsea – September 23
After a poor start to the campaign last season, it was a 1-0 West Ham win at Stamford Bridge in December that sparked a move up the table for the Hammers.
With a 1-1 draw against the Blues in the reverse fixture in April also, the Irons have shown they can go toe-to-toe with their London rivals.
Maurizio Sarri has led Chelsea to four straight wins so far this season, but they have not been overly convincing and clearly have defensive frailties at centre-half that Marko Arnautovic and the West Ham forward line could take advantage of.
Given that Pellegrini’s men have suffered home defeats to Bournemouth and Wolves so far this season, it is time for the London Stadium to be turned into a fortress – three points here would be the ideal start.
West Ham vs Manchester United – September 29
West Ham complete September with a home clash against Manchester United and will hope that a positive result will have the ability to move the club away from the bottom three.
Jose Mourinho’s men have won two and lost two so far in 2018-19 and have stuttered their way into a place in mid-table.
For West Ham to get a foothold in this game, the midfield battle must be won – something that the teams that have beaten United this season have done.
Pellegrini must decide on his first-choice central midfield – if the likes of Mark Noble, Carlos Sanchez, Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere can get hold of the ball and dominate possession, the Hammers have a great chance to beat a Red Devils side that has looked devoid of inspiration this season so far.