Slaven Bilic was pretty busy during the summer months, the Hammers boss bringing in the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Joe Hart, however despite these signings the Hammers have yet to win their first Premier League point of the 2017/18 season and following an opening-day 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, more misery was heaped upon the side when they went down 3-2 at Southampton in their last outing.
It was nevertheless a decent showing from the visitors at St Mary's and whilst they had a nightmare start to the game with two goals conceded in the opening 38 minutes and Arnautovic being given his marching orders, they were offered a glimmer of hope when Hernandez scored just before the break and banged in a second late in the day. It wasn't to be however and a Charlie Austin penalty in stoppage time was enough to send the Hammers home empty handed.
Bilic was nevertheless pretty upbeat about the whole thing, saying: “We are very disappointed we lost a point but we gained a lot of things. We showed character, quality and that we can cope with 10 men and we can score two goals and we can stop them scoring. We had two or three chances to take the lead. I am proud of my team and they showed everything I asked – commitment, quality, character, team spirit, and we never gave up.”
Bilic may have taken the positives from that defeat but it will be hard to imagine him doing so if the Hammers are the victims of a cup upset on Wednesday evening. West Ham United will be heading to Cheltenham Town in the EFL Cup second round and the Robins have nothing to lose in this cup clash.
Nevertheless the hosts have lost two of their three opening matches and there is no way we can go against the Hammers, even considering their poor form in the top-flight. The Austin winner at the weekend was a heartbreaker for the Hammers fans but they impressed in the manner in which they fought their way back from two goals down with just ten men on the pitch and we would be surprised were they to fail to win convincingly at Cheltenham on Wednesday evening.
Bilic will almost certainly feature a few fringe players for this clash at Whaddon Road and as such we could see Diafra Sakho play his part, the Senegalese forward coming off the bench in the opening two Premier League outings and certain to be in with a chance of scoring as he seeks to put behind him an injury-ravaged 2016/17 campaign.
Our tip: Back West Ham to win and Diafra Sakho to score at 13/8 with Sky Bet