From the Newsroom

BBC London Sport reporter Nick Godwin says there are still plenty of reasons for West Ham United to be upbeat
BBC London Sport reporter Nick Godwin says there are still plenty of reasons for West Ham United to feel upbeat about this season...

Saturday’s game was terrific. It was a great game of football and West Ham created a lot of good chances. To be honest, Stoke created some good chances as well, and it could easily have finished three-all.

I suppose, when you have got as many injuries as West Ham have got in attacking areas, it is going to take time to gel. Michail Antonio made his first start, Mauro Zarate is being asked to take a lot of responsibility and Andy Carroll is a very different player to Diafra Sakho.

It’s not all going to click automatically. There is going to be a bit of time needed for these players to bed in. Enner Valencia has also come back in after basically missing the whole season, aside from two games, so I don’t think people expect West Ham to be scoring a lot of goals at the minute.

The turnover of attacking players has been so great. Previously, it was Sakho, Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Victor Moses, so basically this is an entirely new front line.

The West Ham fans really appreciated the work of Carroll and Zarate and the goals will come, but I think they’re just going to take a little while because the personnel keeps changing. That’s understandable.

At the other end, West Ham have got some terrific defenders. Angelo Ogbonna has come in and James Tomkins is playing well at right-back, and they’ve kept two clean sheets in a row. The punch line these days is that keeping a clean sheet at Old Trafford is easy but, let’s be honest, it isn’t.

Adrian made a couple of terrific saves on Saturday from Mame Biram Diouf, who probably should have scored one of them, if not both.

There are positives to take from West Ham’s recent run. The fact is they have hung together when, more or less, they have lost their five best players this season, and drilling out results away from home and not buckling to a Stoke side who took Manchester City aside the previous weekend.

The fact West Ham have got through their last two games – and not picked up any fresh injuries on Saturday, I understand – means they go into the horrendously busy festive part of the campaign in relatively good shape.

Lesser teams would have folded, but West Ham haven’t. Everyone said they had a stronger bench this season and I think that’s true – Antonio was fantastic on Saturday, for one.

I think the next few games will be interesting. Swansea aren’t in great form and Aston Villa aren’t very good, so they are games in which West Ham will have to try and make the weather themselves, which has been difficult for Slaven Bilic’s team.

I get the feeling that, if Payet is back in three weeks and Lanzini is back for the Swansea game, those are massive boosts. If Enner Valencia gets some fitness into his legs as well, you’ve got three of the four missing attackers back.

I thought Andy Carroll was excellent on Saturday, so these are all positive things going into those games, where West Ham will have to do more of the playmaking.

You get the feeling that, because they’ve been so good for so much of the season, West Ham know how well they can play and know the way back to those high standards, so a couple of bits of luck should see them continue to thrive.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United.