Heading into their final game against already-relegated Reading, West Ham are comfortably perched in 10th position. Although the Royals beat them to automatic promotion from the Championship, they failed to adapt as well as Sam Allardyce's side, who look to round off an impressive return to the Premier League with a top-half finish.
Still, not everyone is convinced of the manager's merits. Criticism of his inflexibly physical approach remains, while transfer dealings leave a lot to be desired. Despite swelling the ranks of sturdy, hard-working professionals, West Ham have routinely looked toothless and unimaginative away from home.
There's been a lot of waste too, particularly in forward positions. Modibo Maiga, Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista all arrived to much fanfare yet haven't been given the game time such high outlay would seem to warrant. Instead of targeting concentrated quality, last year's budget was spread thinly across a number of signings who are still to contribute.
Flush from the new TV deal, West Ham will have more money this time out, which must be spent wisely if they are to prosper again. Despite scepticism in some quarters Allardyce was recently rewarded for his efforts with a new contract, allowing preparations for that difficult second season to begin in earnest.
The priorities are clearly a new goalkeeper, left back and solution to the Andy Carroll conundrum. Close attention also needs to be paid to the club's returning loanees and looking to add another dimension to their sometimes predictable attacking play.