The period since the last international break has largely been a positive one for West Ham.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have hauled themselves off the foot of the table and despite the defeat to Brighton, find themselves four points above the drop zone.
From an attacking point of view, Marko Arnautovic has been central to that turnaround. The energetic Austrian has spearheaded Pellegrini’s new-look attack and is West Ham’s most potent threat.
However, there is one black cloud looming. Arnautovic limped off at Everton with a problem behind his knee; that issue forced him to miss the following game, against Chelsea.
He has since returned, but the injury is still lingering. Given his importance to West Ham, it is understandable that Pellegrini keeps playing him; but it feels as if the injury is something of a ticking timebomb.
If it goes off, it could derail West Ham’s impressive progress; backups Javier Hernandez, Lucas Perez and Michail Antonio have not been impressive so far this season and represent a huge drop off form what Arnie can offer.
International duty is a worry
That lingering issue means that hitman could do with a rest. The last thing his injury needs is another two games in a matter of days and travel time added to that.
This break could have offered him a much-needed chance to relax and recover; but he will have no such opportunity.
Arnie’s all-action style means he is unlikely to take it easy either. That means Pellegrini and Hammers fans could be in for a nervous two weeks while they wait to see whether the talisman comes back unscathed.