West Ham may have been downed in two of their three competitive outings so far, but, for a side seemingly hell-bent on ditching their manager for much of the summer, the outlook is decidedly pleasant.
Profligate finishing was to blame for allowing Tottenham to escape the Bolyen Ground with a three points they scarcely warranted on the season’s opening day.
A strong second XI went down 4-5 on penalties to Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup in the other of the aforementioned mishaps.
Yet in each of these showings, along with the 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, there were kernels of promise for the campaign ahead enough to make backing the Irons for a top-ten league finish at 9/4 an intriguing prospect.
Firstly, against Spurs, the Hammers were able to fashion 18 attempts on goal, suggesting an unfamiliar attacking intent for a side who averaged 11.1 efforts per game last term.
OK, so they missed the target with all but four of them while boasting a man advantage for 34 minutes, but it was a refreshing change nonetheless.
In the same game it was easy to see why Sam Allardyce was reportedly ‘thrilled’ to have landed Cheikhou Kouyate, who led by example with phenomenal work rate.
Reward for his toil was to come belatedly against Crystal Palace, who were cut down to size with one of, if not the finest performance West Ham have put up since their return to the top tier.
New boy Mauro Zarate shone with his craft and industry, while Stewart Downing seemed to be playing with a confidence few non-Teessiders are ever likely to have witnessed.
Perhaps most surprising was the nature of the football, with the ball moved around accurately and at pace.
A Palace side rudderless since the departure of Tony Pulis their opponents may have been, but Selhurst Park is no holiday camp and the Eagles’ had given Arsenal a run for their money at the Emirates in their previous fixture.
Even exiting the League Cup at the hands of team from the third rung with a team strong enough to have avoided such a fate was not devoid of positives.
That Irons’ B team in full: Jussi Jääskeläinen, Daniel Potts, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia, Guy Demel, Mohamed Diamé, Ravel Morrison, Reece Burke, Ricardo Vaz Te and Winston Reid.
Not a bad second string at all that!