West Ham United have a terrible recent record against Sunday night’s visitors to the London Stadium, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Since their return to the top flight back in 2018 Wolves have beaten West Ham in all four league matches home and away.
Wolves have scored eight goals in those four fixtures, West Ham a big fat zero.
It is fair to say Wolves have become something of a new age bogey side for the Hammers.
The truth is Wolves have leapfrogged West Ham as a club in so many ways in just two years.
Wolves have leapfrogged Hammers in the blink of an eye
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are everything West Ham should be aiming for.
And they are an example of what a middle-tier club with a consistent philosophy, scouting network, contacts and ambition can achieve.
For West Ham, Sunday night’s game takes on added importance after back-to-back Premier League defeats to start the new campaign.
Many are expecting West Ham to be pointless until November given their horrendous run of fixtures.
But this may well be a good time for West Ham to play Wolves.
Firstly there have been a number of big changes in playing personnel for the Molineux side of late.
A good time to play new bogey side Wolves?
Two star players, Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty, have been sold to Liverpool and Tottenham.
In fairness their replacements aren’t too shoddy. Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo has arrived for £37million to replace Doherty. And Portuguese wonderkid Fabio Silva has joined for a similar fee.
Daniel Podence looks classy too and very much in the Jota mould. He signed in January but has now started to make an impression.
They may be quality additions. But the new signings will undoubtedly need time to settle and the new-look team may also take a while to gel.
West Ham don’t have that problem. The Hammers are yet to make a single new addition this window. So that could work in their favour against teams where playing personnel has changed significantly.
Then there are injuries.
West Ham are missing Issa Diop after his positive Covid-19 test. But given his poor form that could be a blessing in disguise.
Otherwise the Hammers have no other injury concerns and are boosted by the return of captain Mark Noble.
Wolves on the other hand have lost new defender Fernando Marcal to injury.
Another sign of encouragement for West Ham is that tormentor in chief in this fixture, Adama Traore, has been out of form since being linked with – and missing out on – a big money move to Liverpool.
David Moyes’s formation change to a 5231 for the Arsenal game saw a much improved performance that deserved much more than the 2-1 defeat suffered at the Emirates.
Massive game for the Hammers as Moyes works from home
Another potential positive for West Ham is form. In the last 11 games following the restart after lockdown West Ham have won five, drawn three and lost three in all competitions.
In the same period Wolves have lost six times including two of their three games so far this season.
And finally the fact Moyes will not be present at the game due to his own positive Covid-19 test, could mean West Ham play with the shackles off in some respects.
That’s if the performance in the 5-1 demolition in the Scot’s absence in midweek is anything to go by. Yes it was against much-changed League One opposition.
But perhaps psychologically at least the West Ham players may attack with more freedom.
West Ham must look to the positives and start believing in themselves if they are to get any enjoyment from this season.
And what better way to start than getting one back on their new bogey team.