As the relief subsides on West Ham United’s win over Watford which has secured their Premier League status for next season, some will ponder what might have been.
No matter what happens in the last two games, when all is said and done at the end of this season, no team in the top flight will have surrendered more points from winning positions than West Ham.
The Hammers were backed to challenge for the European places at the start of the season.
European pretenders to relegation contenders
And Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked good for that after starting the campaign unbeaten in seven.
Many put West Ham’s problems down to a lopsided squad lacking in depth in key areas.
That has played a part.
But mental toughness has been the side’s biggest weakness.
West Ham have looked brilliant at times as highlighted by performances against an in-form Liverpool, a league double over Chelsea, a win over Manchester United, the goal-laden league double over Watford and that swashbuckling 4-0 victory over Norwich testify.
But the inconsistency in between has been as frustrating as it is baffling.
West Ham have thrown away 24 points from winning positions this season.
It is an incredible, unprecedented statistic.
Dropped points show West Ham’s mental fragility
If West Ham had those points now they would be sitting pretty with 61 points looking likely to beat their best ever Premier League return and in the mix for the Champions League spots.
Even a more realistic take on the situation, giving West Ham around half of those points, and they would be in contention for a Europa League spot.
Many pundits, fans and commentators have said the same thing about West Ham – ‘they shouldn’t be in a relegation battle’.
Those words were uttered again by Sky Sports’s Martin Tyler during the win over Watford.
The experienced commentator was discussing how baffling it was to see West Ham in the relegation mix.
He effectively said West Ham were a Jekyll and Hyde team with two faces. And that the Hammers were showing their good face again against Watford as they had against Chelsea and Norwich.
Neville’s brilliant two word description of Hammers sums up perennial problem
And that’s when Gary Neville interjected with a comment – and two words in particular – that perfectly sum up West Ham’s big problem.
“There’s more than two faces to this West Ham team,” Neville said on Sky Sports’s live coverage.
“They’re a Rubik’s cube.”
Therein lies West Ham’s age old problem.
You never know what you are going to get with West Ham from one week to next.
The team can go from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Roll their sleeves up and beat a team like Chelsea, then lose at home to Burnley.
A modge podge of players of all different ages, no discernable identity, philosophy or style.
The comparison to a Rubik’s cube is perfect.
Now it is up to David Moyes to fix that problem and make sure all the sides line up.
He has made his plan to get there very clear.
Signing young, energetic players hungry to prove themselves at the top level – most likely from the Championship.
Moyes wants to follow the Red Bull model and revamp the club’s scouting and transfer policy.
It is all admirable stuff. And he has made a good start with the excellent signings of Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.
The next window will be vital. West Ham simply cannot continue to enjoy the odd good season in five and endure battles against relegation in between.
If Moyes can put his plans into action he can be the man to finally solve the West Ham Rubik’s cube and make it claret and blue all over.
He will need the backing of co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold to do it, though.