The big issues up for discussion ahead of Saturday's Premier League visit of Hull City to London Stadium...
It seems hard to believe, but West Ham United have not won back-to-back Premier League matches for nearly eight months.
The last time the Hammers celebrated successive top-flight victories was in April, when they followed a 3-1 home win over Watford by thrashing West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at The Hawthorns.
Since then, Slaven Bilic’s side have gone 19 matches – half a season – without stringing two wins in a row together.
So, completing back-to-back wins by defeating Hull City at London Stadium on Saturday would not only end that run, but also potentially lift the Hammers to 13th in the table.
To start Andy, or not to start Andy?
In his Evening Standard column this week, Slaven Bilic admitted he thought about keeping Andy Carroll on the substitutes’ bench for Wednesday’s win over Burnley.
However, Carroll’s own attitude and determination to start convinced the manager to insert him in his team for the first time since August.
The No9 responded with an all-action performance against the Clarets, winning eleven aerial battles, including the header which indirectly led to Mark Noble’s match-winning goal.
Bilic will again be tempted to protect his attacking talisman on Saturday, with few alternatives available, but with a nine-day gap until West Ham play again at Swansea City, Carroll may well convince his manager to keep him in the starting XI.
History is on our side
Hull have won just twice in 22 visits to West Ham, with the most-recent Tigers victory coming as long ago as January 1990.
Since then, the Hammers have won six straight home matches against Hull, scoring 19 goals and conceding just three.
In the Premier League, West Ham have a perfect 4-0 record, conceding just once.
So, if history is anything to go by – and realistically, it isn’t! – then West Ham will win on Saturday, and win comfortably.
Since winning their opening two Premier League matches, the Tigers have not exactly roared on a regular basis.
In fact, they have rarely raised even a growl, winning just once in the ensuing 14 games – a 2-1 home win over Southampton on 6 November – to drop from top to 19th in the table.
A run of six straight defeats in September and October gave reason for alarm at the KCOM Stadium, while recent away losses at Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur only raised it still further.
If Hull are to remain a Premier League club, and extend their stay into a second season as they did in 2009 and 2014 they need to find the right code to silence it, and fast.
What a year!
West Ham United’s home slate of fixtures for 2016 comes to an end at around 4.50pm on Saturday – and what a year it has been in east London.
The Hammers kicked-off the calendar year with a 2-0 home win over Liverpool on 2 January, following it up with an unforgettable FA Cup fourth-round replay victory over the same opposition the following month.
Throw in wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, a memorable closing ceremony and the opening of London Stadium and it has been quite a 12 months on home turf.
In all, West Ham have played 25 competitive home matches in 2016, winning 14, drawing five and losing six, with the visit of Hull City to come.
Just in case you were interested, Tottenham Hotspur have played 24 competitive home matches in 2016, winning 14, drawing four and losing six.