The view from Upton Park.
Ahead of Watford's game against West Ham United at the Vic this weekend, I caught up with West Ham fan Stuart Plant, who writes about the Hammers for ironviews.com.
Stuart talks about West Ham's start to the season, the clubs move to the Olympic Stadium next summer and shares his views on the Hornets and whether they can remain in the top flight.
From the outside looking in, it's been a great start to the season for West Ham, with the Hammers sitting in 3rd place. What have Hammers fans though of the start under Slaven Bilic and what are your hopes for the season?
"I think it's been a great start to the season, that's undeniable. Perhaps the only negatives so far have been the
games we've lost against Bournemouth/Leicester and the two draws against Norwich/Sunderland were games we genuinely could've got more points had we been set up better tactically/played as we can. Wins against Arsenal, City, Liverpool and Chelsea just about balance that up though!!!"
"The style of football is back to what we want to see at West Ham, the results by and large have been good, and we've got a thoroughly likeable ex-player as our manager and a very talented squad. Realistically, anything top 10 is a good season. I won't get carried away with anything more just yet, as we had a good season last year, even though I doubt Bilic would allow for such a catastrophic second half of the season as Allardyce did..."
What's been the key to the Hammers good from, especially on the road this season?
"Our pace and tactics. With players like Lanzini and Payet in the side we are more likely than not to create a handful of scoring opportunities - and we've got plenty of players who are more than capable of tucking them away."
"Whilst offensively we're better under Bilic by ahuge margin, we've managed to keep a balance with our defence too. The City game is a fine example whereby we were simply able to shut them out and reduce them to half chances at best to get back into the game."
"I think the run we've been on, and the teams we've beaten, also creates that spirit of self belief. This side don't travel to any club thinking they could lose now, that's how high confidence is right now within the side."
Dmitri Payet has been grabbing the headlines for the Hammers so far this season. What are his main strengths and what have West Ham fans thought of their new signing?
"I honestly cannot believe no bigger clubs looked at him. At just over £10million he has to be the signing of the
summer? He can dribble with the ball anywhere on the pitch in the confidence he most likely won't lose it. He produces audacious moments of sheer skill, that if Messi/Ronaldo/etc were doing, it would be replayed for weeks on end. He can assist. He can score."
"To be brutally honest, there's not much he can't do! He's even happy to track back to a degree, although having come over to the PL is still adjusting to the tempo so isn't perhaps as vigilant going back I guess?"
"The love between the fans and Payet is already through the roof, he's a fan favourite for sure, and providing (heaven forbid!) any injuries, he'll easily win our player of the year award."
What other West Ham players have caught the eye so far?
"Manuel Lanzini. My word, what a player. Capable of mazy runs, pinpoint balls, and scoring important goals. However, he is also extremely vigilant in his tracking back and his marking, it's astonishing to think we got him from the Arabian Gulf League. Bilic has recently come out and compared him to Luka Modric, so I guess that shows you how highly Bilic regards the 22 year-old Argentine."
Highlight of the season so far?
"Beating Arsenal away? Beating City away? Winning at Anfield for first time in 50 odd years? Beating Chelsea at home? Take your pick, ha!"
What is the general consensus among fans about the club's move to the Olympic Stadium next summer?
"It's split. Some hate the idea of leaving Upton Park. Some have accepted it and are enjoying the thought now.
"I get both sides of the split, but I'm firmly in the pro-move camp. The things it will do for the club outweigh the negatives."
"Saying that, EVERY fan will miss Upton Park dearly."
Thoughts on Watford's start to the season? From what you've seen, do you think we've got what it takes to stay in the Premier League?
"Solid if not spectacular. Bit disappointed Deeney hasn't been scoring as freely as he was last season, but
feel he may find that form once you're more settled. On the basis of the first 10, then yeah, I'd say 15th-10th would be a good season for you guys, and out of the promoted clubs, you're definitely the favourite to stay up!"
One Hornet you like to see in West Ham colours?
"Alessandro Diamanti. I loved him when he was with us, and was gutted he picked the wrong Premier League 'W' club to go too. Saying that, he is unpredictable and a fine example of a luxury player. Still, what a guy. And all those crazy haircuts too. Brilliant."
"I can't imagine us making our seven game unbeaten run even better, but, I genuinely think we'll win this 0-2."
Thanks to Stuart for answering the questions. You can give him a follow on Twitter - @IronViewsStu.
Good luck to West Ham for the rest of the season!!!!