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The numbers that lie behind West Ham’s disturbing early form

| 26.09.2016

Early exits from the London Stadium are becoming unsettlingly common for West Ham fans, as the eastenders slump their way through the season’s opening exchanges.

A 3-0 loss at home to Southampton last time out made it four league defeats in succession for Slaven Bilic’s side, who remain in the bottom three ahead of winless pair Stoke and Sunderland.

Pressure is mounting on the Croatian tactician to keep his job, let alone find a solution for the slip. Before the Saints game Bilic was 10/1 to be the next Premier League manager sacked. By Monday morning he had been cut to 3s.

Adding some sturdiness to the division’s most porous defence should be the former Besiktas man’s first port of call.

The Hammers have shipped more goals than any other team through the first six games of the season, with their tally rising to 16 after Claude Puel’s Saints had finished slicing them open.

The second goal in that match, scored by Dusan Tadic, set an unwanted record for the east Londoners according to Opta:

A backline under constant strain – West Ham’s 39 shots on target conceded is the second highest in the division so far – has been the biggest contributor to the club’s worst ever start to a season:

In times of strife, a team’s best player is often looked upon for moments of inspiration and the Hammers are no different. The problem is that claret-and-blue muse Dimitri Payet is misfiring badly in front of goal:

A run of matches against Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Sunderland in the coming weeks already has the feeling of a vitally important stretch from a relegation point of view.

An unbeaten span would help propel them away from a season of woe, but more defeats could spell the end of Bilic’s reign.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.