The first International break of the 2018/2019 season is upon us and West Ham United, in their first term under experienced new manager Manuel Pellegrini, are without a single point in the Premier League.
This comes after four consecutive defeats to open up the campaign, losing out at Anfield on the opening day, before slipping to a 1-2 home loss to AFC Bournemouth and following that with respective away and home losses to Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
With the former English Top-Flight title-winning manager Pellegrini installed and close to £100 million spent on bringing new players in during the summer transfer window, few would have predicted the club’s worse start to a league campaign in 92 seasons.
But, it has happened in East London and as we analyse today, it is difficult to see how and when that elusive first league point is going to arrive for Pellegrini and his players, looking ahead to the daunting run of fixtures that lies in wait over the next few months.
While it has been reported by the mainstream media that the veteran Pellegrini’s job is not thought to be under threat at this moment in time, it could well be if his team fails to pick up a result in their next three PL matches.
Many have predicted the Chilean to get the chop if the Hammers lose their next three and the task of avoiding defeat in those matches will be made very tricky by the calibre of the opposition.
When the players and coaching staff regroup after the Internationals, first up for West Ham, in their next match, will be a tricky trip to Goodison Park to face off with Marco Silva’s Everton.
If they can’t pick anything up on Merseyside, there’s no need to fear, as a week later, on Sunday 23 September, they have a home game at London Stadium and the opponents are only Chelsea, one of three sides with a 100% record so far.
The Irons will be in London Stadium action once again come the next weekend, last year’s Premier League runners-up in Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are the visitors.
The general consensus here is that the East Londoners will struggle to collect anything in this hat-trick of tough clashes and could well emulate Crystal Palace last season by losing their first seven, this may be just enough for Pellegrini to be heading home to Chile.
The Hammers could well be starting October with a new manager at the helm and his first assignment with the rock-bottom team will be visiting Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion on the South Coast.
If a tough journey down south is, on paper, the easiest match in October, West Ham know they could be in for another turbulent month, one that will be split up by another International break.
The only home match of the month sees fierce London rivals and top four contenders Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip to Stratford, another of the “Big Six” sides.
This derby may turn out to be pivotal if Pellegrini is still in a job at by this stage, meanwhile, October concludes with an away clash at Leicester City, far from a walk in the park even after a timely victory at the King Power Stadium at the back end of 2017/2018.
The beginning of the penultimate month of yet another tricky year for the Hammers presents them with what could be a relegation six-pointer, at home to Burney.
This fixture was notorious both on and off the pitch last season and if things continue to go so disastrously for the East London club, a repeat of those scenes, this time around, can’t be off the table.
The momentary respite from facing one of the giants of the Premier League carries on the Saturday after with an encounter with another team expected to be embroiled in the fight for survival.
Huddersfield Town will be the opposition on Saturday 10 November at the John Smith’s Stadium, a ground that David Moyes’ West Ham won 1-4 at in January.
The visit of the reigning champions Manchester City caps off the month and the pressure may have eased a bit in this one, if the Irons can get the results they should do in the first two games of November.
It may very well turn out that Pellegrini’s men, if he is still in charge, will have to wait until the 11th month for their first victory, or possibly even first points of the term.
This will leave them with a hell of a lot of catching up to do to beat the drop a and it would be very difficult to see any team or any manager coming back from something like this.
Pellegrini’s East Londoners could well just need that one Premier League triumph to open the floodgates and pave the way for win after win and points after points.
While it is possible that a shot of confidence is all that they need, it is becoming more and more difficult to see where that is going to come from for pointless West Ham and as games go by and the defeats flow, the Hammers could be sleepwalking into very dark days, indeed.