The international break has offered West Ham some respite after a shocking start to the season.

Manuel Pellegrini was supposed to usher in a new era but the early signs are not good. However, there is plenty of time left this season, so what can the Hammers expect?

Is a top half finish still on the agenda? Is another relegation battle lying in wait? We’ve taken a closer look at whether it is time to panic or whether West Ham can still enjoy a successful season…

Look to the past

(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Last season offers three pieces of evidence that a poor opening period does not necessarily mean that a poor league position will follow.

Everton’s spending spree did not go as planned last season, and Ronald Koeman got the sack. David Unsworth did not set the world alight but there were signs of life even before Sam Allardyce took over.

He was an uninspiring, firefighting appointment, but the Toffees still finished eighth. That would represent a good season for West Ham and it need not be off the cards after four poor games.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace are another cause for optimism. They lost their first seven games last season, without even scoring a goal, but still ended up finishing 11th.

They only missed out on the top half on goal difference, and were just five points off Everton in eighth. The fans stuck behind Roy Hodgson, even when the club only had one win in mid-December, and were rewarded with a solid finish.

 

Palace were never in grave danger of relegation come the end of the season, but were being written off by all-comers after seven games.

Even David Moyes engineered a 13th place finish out of the shambles that was last season. However, what all of the three causes for optimism have in common is a change of manager.

Moreover, replacing a foreign manager with designs on attractive football with a pragmatic, British manager. That does not bode well for Pellegrini, and removing the Chilean in favour of a more hardened figure may be a depressing move, especially for the fans.

However, it shows that a top half finish need not be off the agenda for West Ham. The Hammers can still reasonably expect to end up in the top 10, with eighth still an ambitious possibility.

There is quality in the side, and I don’t predict another relegation battle like last season. Last season proves there are reasons not to panic.

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