It’s still early days, yes, but life at West Ham United is going rather swimmingly for first-year manager Slaven Bilic. Through 12 rounds of action, the Hammers sit sixth in the Premier League, just three points out of the fourth and final UEFA Champions League place.
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Midfielder Dimitri Payet, who was signed from Marseille for $18 million in the summer, has been a key cog (5 goals, 3 assists in 12 appearances) in West Ham’s unexpected start to the 2015-16 season. For the next three months, though, Bilic’s side will have to get by without their high-flying French talisman, thanks to an ankle injury suffered in a 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday.
The challenge, a dangerous scissor-kick tackle from James McCarthy, force the 28-year-old from Saturday’s game on 50 minutes.
With Payet out until February at the earliest, Bilic will be forced to turn to Manuel Lanzini (3 goals, 1 assist), Diafra Sahko (3 goals), Mauro Zarate (2 goals) and Victor Moses (1 goal, 2 assists) for much larger contributions to keep afloat a chase for a top-six or -seven finish this season. Up next for West Ham is an away date with Tottenham Hotspur on Nov. 22, following the current international break.