An unhappy few years to begin life in the London Stadium appear now, finally, to be well behind West Ham United. Last season's sixth-placed finish under David Moyes was their best since 1999 and brings Europa League football to E20.
The 2020/21 campaign ended with a record Premier League points total (65), as well as records for Premier League wins (19), and Premier League away wins (9). And this season has started in a similar vein.
The Hammers have scored 13 goals in their opening six league matches, winning three and drawing two. Moyes' former employers, Manchester United, are the only side to beat them in the league this term although The Hammers did gain some element of revenge, getting the better of United in the Carabao Cup Third Round 11 days ago.
West Ham have also enjoyed a perfect start in the Europa League with opening wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Wien leaving them three points clear at the top of Group H.
Michail Antonio (above) tops the Premier League scoring charts with five goals and three assists while former Bees favourite Saïd Benrahma has three goals and two assists to his name already.
Writing for Hot Off The Press The Athletic's Roshane Thomas, said: "It will be a 4-2-3-1 formation. Lukasz Fabianski in goal, a central defensive pairing of Ogbonna and Zouma, left-back Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal at right-back; Rice and Soucek in the middle, No 10 – I’d imagine – will be Benrahma (above), Pablo Fornals on the left, Jarrod Bowen on the right and Antonio up front.
"It has been a consistent team and a consistent formation this season. Last season we saw a wing-back system, but Moyes has preferred a 4-2-3-1 system this season and it has worked"
Ethan Pinnock was declared fit by Thomas Frank during Friday's press conference meaning it's only Josh Dasilva (hip) and Mads Bech (knee) who will be absent.
Ahead of their seventh game in 22 days, David Moyes is hopeful Vladimír Coufal and Ryan Fredericks will be fit after both missed Thursday’s UEFA Europa League victory over Rapid Vienna.
Glasgow-born, David Moyes' playing career began with Celtic where he won the Scottish Premier Division in 1982. Spells with Cambridge United, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town, Dunfermline Athletic, and Hamilton followed before he joined Preston in 1993.
As player, coach, and then manager, Moyes would spent almost a decade at Deepdale winning promotion from the Fourth Tier as a player in 1996 and the third tier as manager in 2000. In March 2002 Moyes took the manager's job at Everton, a position he would hold for 11 years. He was twice voted LMA Manager of the Year while at Goodison Park before Manchester United tasked him as the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. His tenure at Old Trafford lasted just ten months before he was sacked with United seventh in the Premier League.
Year-long spells with Real Sociedad and Sunderland followed before Moyes took charge of West Ham in November 2017. He saved The Hammers from relegation but left in May 2018 after not being offered a new contract. He returned to East London in December 2019 to replace Manuel Pelligrini and he has since gone on to develop a talented group of players.
THE OPPOSITION VIEW
David Moyes told whufc.com: “I have been impressed but not surprised because they have been a top team in the Championship and they have that momentum.
"They have put together a really strong squad, they have a good identity in how they play and are well coached, they are a well run football club. So I don't think anybody should be really surprised by that. We have to put a halt to that and make sure we get three points on Sunday.
"Ivan Toney is someone who has looked very hungry to prove himself in the Premier League. I think if you've got that hunger and determination, it's a big ingredient, you know sometimes having the ability is terrific, but I think having those characteristics gives you a real chance to succeed. It will be a tough game for us and a tough game for the centre-halves but it will be a tough game for Brentford as well"
Referee: Peter Bankes
Assistants: Ian Hussin and James Mainwaring
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes
West Ham United 21/22
44 fouls - Fewest in Premier League
4 yellow cards - Fewest in Premier League
1 red card - Joint-Most in Premier League
Supporters are advised to leave extra time to get to the game with the Central Line supended west of Queensway and congestion expected due to the London Marathon.
HOW TO FOLLOW
This afternoon's game is only available on iFollow as Charlie MacDonald joins Mark Burridge for live commentary.