West Ham problems – What happens to David Moyes’ side bottom third in the Premier League?

Almost a year ago, West Ham had been collecting points at such a prolific rate, and there was a very real possibility that they could challenge them for a place in the Champions League.

It was a great time at London Stadium. David Moyes seemed to have put together an exciting team that could not only compete in the Premier League but at the same time in the domestic cups and the Europa League.

On December 4, they beat Chelsea 3-2 in an exciting match that was settled by a faulty cross pass from Arthur Masuaku that tricked goalkeeper Edward Mendy.

West Ham striker Gianluca Scamaca (left) cuts into a depressed figure after Sunday’s loss to Everton.

Head coach David Moyes couldn't stand watching at times as his team fell to another defeat

Head coach David Moyes couldn’t stand watching at times as his team fell to another defeat

The Hammers enter the bottom of the third international fortnight and into the relegation zone

The Hammers enter the bottom of the third international fortnight and into the relegation zone

With this result, Hammers left in fourth place in the table, ahead of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United. They knocked both Manchester clubs out of the Carabao Cup and out of their group in the Europa League.

West Ham’s trajectory appears to be irreversibly headed upward, and although they will eventually have to settle for seventh place, and a semi-final exit in Europe, there is a positive to keeping everyone attached to the club.

Captain Hammers Declan Rice dreads another defeat

Captain Hammers Declan Rice dreads another defeat

That optimism has now evaporated as quickly as it came. Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Everton means West Ham enter the two international weeks into the relegation zone, with just four points out of a potential 21.

It’s the club’s worst start to a Premier League season since 2016-2017 and you have to go back to 1973 for the last time, as the Hammers had fewer points at this point in the Premier League season.

The manager who has come to be known as ‘Moesia’ has lost much of his shine and the season threatens to become a real flame, as his participation in the European Conference League is more of a hindrance than an opportunity.

Thursday night football has had pretty much the only taste of success so far, but victories over the likes of Viborg, FCSB (formerly Steaua Bucharest) and Silkeborg won’t sustain them.

Their only league win over Aston Villa and Everton’s loss mean Moyes has a lot to think about as his players set out to play for their countries this week.

A sore point for Moyes was that he was not backed in the January transfer window when West Ham had an excellent chance to make the season unforgettable by finishing in the top four or winning a trophy.

They spent £160m on new players over the summer but Moyes hasn’t even begun to integrate them into his first team.

At Goodison Park, the likes of Gianluca Scamaca, Maxwell Cornett, Emerson and Flynn Downs – who cost a combined £80m in the summer – started off the bench.

The most positive results for West Ham this season came in the European Conference League

The most positive results for West Ham this season came in the European Conference League

Neil Maupay's second-half goal gave Everton a 1-0 win over West Ham at Goodison Park

Neil Maupay’s second-half goal gave Everton a 1-0 win over West Ham at Goodison Park

Their bad start

August 7 Manchester City (H) L 0-2

August 14 Nottingham Forest (A) L 0-1

August 21 Brighton (H) L 0-2

August 28 Aston Villa (A) W 1-0

August 31 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 1-1

September 3 Chelsea (A) L 1-2

September 18 Everton (A) L 0-1

With four points from seven games (W1 D1 L5), West Ham have made their worst start to a Premier League season since 2016-17 (also four points), while in only 1973-74 the Hammers had fewer points at this point in a campaign than First degree (three – assuming three points to win).

Both Cornet and Skamaka started to beat Silkeborg on Thursday and presented a greater attacking threat than they had seen in West Ham’s previous matches.

Italy international Scamaka, who cost £35.5m from Sassuolo, has scored three goals in the European Conference League but is still only in one Premier League game.

Cornet, bought for £17.5m from Burnley, has contributed five assists in four European games, but has yet to start a league game.

But despite showing up well, Moyes stayed with Michael Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals against Everton and all three struggled to make any impact.

The quick turnaround from the trip to Denmark was a factor, of course, but Cornet, in particular, was an even bigger threat when involved in the second half. Maybe he should have started.

It was also not a great look that the club’s record £51m signing of Brazil international Lucas Paqueta was the one who replaced Cornet after he struggled to make anything of it.

The problem is that merging all the new signings together will take time and likely require a switch in formation.

Moyes likes to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which allows Declan Rice and Thomas Suchic to cement things in midfield, and they would need two up front to accommodate Scamaka and Antonio together.

More importantly, the players Moyes has come to rely on in his squad – long-serving players who are senior – have been sub-par so far this season.

The manager had no problem contacting them after that. Today I discovered quite a bit of information, especially about players I already knew. “They were mostly the ones who let me down,” Moyes said.

Vladimir Koval appeared in the picture after West Ham's latest setback against Everton on Sunday

Vladimir Koval appeared in the picture after West Ham’s latest setback against Everton on Sunday

Moyes wasn't afraid to call up his established players and top players due to poor performance

Moyes wasn’t afraid to call up his established players and top players due to poor performance

‘They are below their level. We felt like we were down last season. I need them to play at their best.

It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of this stagnation. Is it the feeling of missed opportunity last season, or the core of a team now past its peak?

With all the summer boosts, West Ham should have been in a good position to start playing, but so far that simply hasn’t happened.

Integration will take time and established players will not tolerate slack. They have only scored three times so far in the league and no one has scored fewer goals than open play; The threat of counter-attacks has diminished.

Maxwell Cornet is one of the summer deals for West Ham that has yet to be fully integrated

Maxwell Cornet is one of the summer deals for West Ham that has yet to be fully integrated

It takes time for the club's record signing Lucas Paqueta (right) to adapt to English football

It takes time for the club’s record signing Lucas Paqueta (right) to adapt to English football

Travel sickness is another concern – they have lost eight of their last 10 away matches in the Premier League and no one has lost more times on the road this calendar year.

International rest period can be both a help and a hindrance for managers. In theory, it saves more time on the training ground to pass on ideas and instructions without the stress of travel and games.

In fact, many West Ham players will be mostly absent to represent their countries. Moyes, in their absence, has a lot to think about after an unsettling start to a season that promised so much.