The last time West Ham lost their first four Premier League games, they were relegated under Avram Grant.

The Hammers finished 20th back in 2010/11, seven points adrift inside the relegation zone.

This statistic is doing the rounds again after West Ham lost their first four games under Manuel Pellegrini.

Away losses against Liverpool and Arsenal may have been expected. Home losses against Bournemouth and Wolves, not so much.

But despite the ominous start to the season, West Ham fans must realise this team is better than the 2010/11 side.

Here, we look at a classic starting XI under Grant and compare it to Pellegrini’s preferred selection.

West Ham XI under Grant

Grant liked to use a 4-3-3 formation, often deploying strikers out wide.

Other players he used regularly during the season included Danny Gabbidon, Victor Obinna and Jonathan Spector. Demba Ba often started after joining the club in January.

West Ham XI under Pellegrini

Pellegrini has mixed his team around but this is probably his most used XI so far.

Operating in more of a 4-2-3-1 formation, it bares some resemblance to Grant’s 4-3-3.

How do we compare position by position?

Goalkeepers

CARDIFF, WALES – MAY 03: Robert Green of West Ham United gestures to the fans during the Npower Championship Playoff Semi-Final 1st leg match between Cardiff City and West Han United at Cardiff City Stadium on May 3, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Rob Green did a superb job for West Ham between the sticks. The England international stuck by the Hammers in relegation and helped win promotion again.

Lukasz Fabianski has started the season brightly, although he is yet to keep a clean sheet.

Defence

West Ham’s Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim (R) vies with Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Bebe (L) during their quarter final League Cup football match at Upton Park, London, England, on November 30, 2010. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

West Ham have shipped 10 goals already this term, but conceded 12 in their first four in 2010/11.

Lars Jacobsen and Wayne Bridge (after January, Herita Ilunga before) were poor at full-back, while Tal Ben Haim was a liability.

Matt Upson was coming towards the end of his career back then and so was Gabbidon.

West Ham’s current defenders would walk into that 2010/11 defence, despite struggling to gel at the moment.

Central midfield

Everton’s South African midfielder Steven Pienaar (R) vies with West Ham’s Czech midfielder Radoslav Kovac (L) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Everton at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, in East London, England, on December 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRKFOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Scott Parker was excellent that season and West Ham could do with someone like that in midfield now.

 

Mark Noble is still there and the main difference is the current options as opposed to Radoslav Kovac.

Jack Wilshere, Pedro Obiang, Declan Rice and Carlos Sanchez can all produce good displays on their day. Kovac, however, was poor for the majority of the time.

Attacking midfielders

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United clashes with Frederic Piquionne of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at Boleyn Ground on April 2, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

West Ham’s current attacking midfield line is taking its time to gel.

Felipe Anderson has shown glimpses while Andriy Yarmolenko and Lucas Perez are both yet to make an impact.

Michail Antonio and Robert Snodgrass have been preferred starters but more quality is needed from them.

In contrast, Grant never had quality to work with.

Frederic Piquionne was not a Premier League standard attacker, Obinna only impressed sporadically and Luis Boa Morte was awful in Claret and Blue.

From the bench, Julien Faubert and Pablo Barrera were not any better.

Strikers

Manchester City’s English goalkeeper Joe Hart saves from West Ham United’s Irish striker Robbie Keane (up) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Ham United at The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, north-west England on May 1, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATESFOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

In terms of firepower up front, West Ham are in a much better position now than they were back then.

Marko Arnautovic is a goal scorer andalready has two in four games. Javier Hernandez’s experience and finishing ability make him a good back-up and Andy Carroll provides a physical alternative when fit.

In 2010/11, Carlton Cole led the line but scored just five Premier League goals in 35 games.

Ba scored seven goals in 12 games but his January arrival was too late to save West Ham.

Robbie Keane was brought in as the saviour, but was wasteful in front of goal and clearly past his peak.

The end result was just 43 goals in 38 league games.

The verdict

Things are miserable at West Ham at the minute. Four league losses has really dampened the mood.

But considering the quality in this team, surely it will not be a repeat of 2010/11.

Position-by-position, West Ham look stronger and have more depth. They also have a better manager in Pellegrini than they did in Grant.

When looking at it from this perspective, there is some cause for optimism.

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