West Ham’s good run of form came to a disappointing end on Friday night.
The Hammers were beaten 1-0 by bogey team Brighton and Hove Albion, with Glenn Murray once again scoring against them.
It was a frustrating way to go into the international break as it halted the Irons’ momentum.
Before this game, West Ham had claimed wins away at Everton and at home to Manchester United, as well as picking up a draw against Chelsea and an 8-0 win over Macclesfield Town.
But Manuel Pellegrini’s men could not break down resolute defending from Brighton.
Here are three things for Pellegrini to think about during the break.
Once again, Arthur Masuaku’s defensive work was called into question against Brighton.
There is no doubting the Frenchman is a skilful and talented runner. But he was at fault for Brighton’s goal.
Masuaku failed to track Murray, leaving the veteran striker with a simple, unchallenged shot at goal.
Unfortunately, replacing Masuaku isn’t a formality. Aaron Cresswell has also struggled with his form.
The sporadic England international has not been the same player since returning from injury.
But what he does offer is a more solid defensive game and he does have the ability to bomb forward and provide assists.
Is it time to throw Cresswell back into the mix? There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer here and it is a debate which splits the West Ham fan base straight down the middle.
By the time West Ham face Tottenham Hotspur after the break, Pellegrini could have plenty of attacking options.
Javier Hernandez is on the road to recovery after falling ill with glandular fever. And Andy Carroll is nearing his comeback as well.
Both players often different dimensions.
Hernandez is a fox-in-the-box natural finisher; if the ball drops to him in the area, you expect the net to bulge.
Carroll, on the other hand, is a unique alternative option. Given his height, power and ability to jump, no one can deal with his aerial presence on his day.
Unfortunately, Carroll appears to be made out of glass and those days are few and far in between.
But if he is fit and raring to go, he is worth having on the bench for a late cameo. Likewise with Hernandez.
So, who drops out of the match day squad? Michail Antonio is certainly a leading contender after he was widely criticised for his poor performance against Brighton.
West Ham’s 4-3-3 system failed to break down Brighton’s sturdy back line.
In games like these, Pellegrini might have to consider dropping one of Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang.
This allows West Ham to use a 4-2-3-1 formation and the extra attacking player might unlock a deep-lying defence.
Brighton were happy to sit back and soak up pressure and unfortunately West Ham’s midfield trio were unable to create anything.
But in the next game against Spurs, sticking with the 4-3-3 is a necessity as the Hammers attempt to nullify Tottenham’s midfield threat.