West Ham are finally reaping the benefits of a strong summer of investment.
When Manuel Pellegrini’s side were pointless and bottom after four games, the Hammers squad resembled a bunch of individual assembled at great cost but with no clear identity.
Now, most of the arrivals have settled and Pellegrini has found a formula that gets the best out of his assets at both ends of the pitch.
The centre halves and the front three have been hugely impressive lately; but the area in between should be a concern.
Pellegrini already looked perhaps one midfielder light going into the season and has suffered a double injury blow in the engine room.
Jack Wilshere has suffered a recurrence of an ankle problem which has forced him to undergo surgery; it is hoped he will not be out for too long, but the Englishman has endured more than his fair share of injury setbacks.
Summer signing Carlos Sanchez is out for even longer; he limped off in the 8-0 win over Macclesfield and was never the most inspiring signing in any case.
That double whammy has robbed Pellegrini of both steel and style in the engine room; leaving Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang as his only senior midfield options.
What can Pellegrini do?
The lingering contract dispute with Rice only worsens Pellegrini’s situation; the Irishman is now his only specialist holding midfielder.
The Hammers probably needed one anyway, but surely the club will be in the market again in January.
Wilshere must also be monitored closely; if he is still struggling come January, a short-term replacement may be needed. Can Noble really last the whole season week in and week out?
In the short term, Conor Coventry may well benefit. The teenage midfielder made his debut against Macclesfield and would hope to have a similar impact to Rice if he came into the side.