Forget West Ham's Last Two Defeats - the Real Fight for Survival Starts Now

David Moyes
West Ham were comfortably second best against Tottenham. | Julian Finney/Getty Images

West Ham's Premier League defeats to Wolves and Tottenham have taken few by surprise.

The Hammers have shown in their last four meetings with Wolves that they simply don't know how to combat the high-octane counter attacking threat offered up by Nuno Espirito Santo's side - evidenced by four consecutive defeats and zero goals scored.

Similarly, Spurs tend to have a bit of a stranglehold over West Ham when the chips are down, and José Mourinho most certainly has the wood over David Moyes - victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday night extending his unbeaten run against the Scot to 14 games.

So, perhaps, if you're a West Ham fan, maybe these two defeats aren't the end of the world? Sure, it feels like it now, particularly when Brighton have picked up four points from - on paper - difficult fixtures against Arsenal and Leicester.

David Moyes
David Moyes has struggled to pick up points since being reappointed West Ham manager. | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

But a more forensic examination tells you that these were games that West Ham, deep down in their minds at least, had perhaps expected to lose, with other fixtures between now and the end of the season offering a significantly better chance of picking up points.

For that reason, West Ham's response to these defeats is key and the players - and Moyes - must find a way to channel any negativity and deflation into something positive.

One thing that's become alarmingly clear is that the Hammers need club-record signing Sebastien Haller back fit - and fast. The Frenchman's been on the sidelines since 'Project Restart' propelled us back into action last week, leaving Michail Antonio - who is not an out-and-out striker - leading the line on his own.

For all of his hard work and endeavour, the versatile 30-year-old is out of his depth playing up top by himself - and his isolation from Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and co. has been a key factor in West Ham registering just two shots on goal in 180 post-lockdown minutes.

You'd even go as far as to say that West Ham have looked toothless in attack, offering very little threat in front of goal despite covering plenty of ground in both matches.

Sebastien Haller
Sebastien Haller is an imposing presence up front for West Ham. | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

For survival to be achieved, you feel Haller's return is not only wanted, it's needed.

He offers a physically imposing threat up front, which coupled with Antonio's explosive pace and brute strength has proven to be a dangerous combination - just ask Southampton, who were bullied off the park back in February, and Arsenal - who somehow escaped with victory at the Emirates Stadium in the final game played before the Premier League's three-month hiatus.

Haller's not been prolific this season, no, but that underrated ability of bringing others into the game can't be understated. West Ham were starting to reap the benefits of it - admittedly not shown by the club's results, but still - after switching to a conventional 4-4-2, and you'd anticipate the pair doing well against Newcastle, Burnley, Norwich and Watford, too - four very winnable fixtures that the Hammers have coming up.

The problem is, Haller has not returned to training yet because of a hip problem - and a timeline for his return is yet to be given. Worse still, David Moyes doesn't have anybody else he can turn too, either - with Albian Ajeti, the only other senior striker on the club's books, evidently not up to the task.

Felipe Anderson, Giovani Lo Celso
Felipe Anderson has had a poor season for West Ham. | Pool/Getty Images

How the former Manchester United boss goes about adapting things into a shape that is penetrative and effective without Haller remains anybody's guess, particularly when West Ham's attacking midfield options - Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson - look flimsy, lightweight, lacking in quality and, at times, disinterested.

What we do know is that just seven games remain and even though the Hammers have been comprehensively outplayed in their last two, they're still in with a shot at Premier League survival. Aston Villa and Bournemouth must be thanked for that - as they've been pretty ordinary themselves - but now West Ham must take the mantle on themselves.

They must forget these two defeats, get men forward in support of Antonio - particularly in the games they are targeting maximum points from - and ensure that a catastrophic relegation is avoided.