Three Points Taken Off Hammers But Questions Remain Ahead Of Tough Run In

The win over West Ham United was the first in quite a while and gives fans a good feeling heading into the second international break of the Premier League season.

It came at a time when some fans have started to become disillusioned with the club over a number of different matters, but sitting in sixth place after accruing a good points tally from eight games leaves a very good taste in the mouth.

Even though the win over the Hammers was the first for some time, it leaves a number of questions among fans ahead of reconvening to take on Manchester City in a couple of weeks time.

Is it right to be looking at the 40 point barrier as the target for the season?

Both Patrick van Aanholt and Jordan Ayew were said to ‘toe the company line’ in their post match interview with Geoff Shreeves on Sky Sports. However, it will likely come as no surprise to anyone as us fans have always said the very same or the alternative of achieving ten wins, but there is a critical eye that suggests players should be looking to achieve more.

Roy Hodgson rightly stated that the players were not prompted by him, it shows more that they are grounded individuals that will not get carried away with a good run of form or a particularly good win. Fans will always demand progress and for a club to move away from what is deemed a restrictive target, but football is an exceptionally fickle industry and while we all want better for our club, you have to be careful what you wish for. Having said that, if the 40 point mark is reached by the end of February for instance, that is the time to push on with more freedom.

Does Luka Milivojevic return for the game against City?

James McArthur slotted into the gap vacated by the Serbian international while James McCarthy made his first start for the club, both providing a seamless transition to the point that we did not particularly miss Luka – how dare we even suggest such! However, having said that, he has not had a great start to the season by his standards and with five bookings accrued in just 7 matches, it may do him good to have a spell on the bench. The personnel that put in a very good performance at the London Stadium perhaps deserve a chance to start the game against City unchanged. That is no slight on the ability of Milivojevic and what he brings to the team, but the current squad does give us different options.

If Luka does regain his starting spot, is there an argument for Gary Cahill to keep the captains armband?

There is no reason why Luka should not regain the armband if he is to start, there is no doubt about that but every good side has more than one captain in the starting line up. Cahill has impressed with his leadership qualities since making his debut and that is not about to stop by not having the armband.

Is Jordan Ayew the answer to our long standing striker problems?

The Ghanaian has started the season exceptionally well and has proved a snip at the price paid to Swansea in the summer for his services. He even looks a different player to what we saw last season in his loan spell. It is too early to tell if this is a positive step towards solving the striker crisis that we have experienced for too long, but it is very promising indeed. His lively performances up front have brought a different dynamic to the team and if he can add more goals to his performances then his addition will have been an exceptionally shrewd one.

Will James Tomkins or Mamadou Sakho get the chance to oust Gary Cahill or Martin Kelly from their starting spots?

If someone had said in the summer that our centre back pairing would not include either Tomkins or Sakho, it would have been very hard to believe. The fact is, Cahill will not be losing his place any time soon (injuries and suspensions apart) and Kelly has grabbed his opportunity with both hands after waiting patiently for his shot. The partnership has flourished and we have yet to mention Scott Dann – another centre back that was one of the first names on the team sheet a couple of seasons ago. How times have changed.

Let us have your view on the questions that have been posed that we have attempted to answer, either below this article or across our social media platforms.

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