Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini sparkle in midfield for West Ham
West Ham snapped a six-match losing streak with a nervy, but fully deserved, 1-0 win over Swansea City at the London Stadium.
It was Cheikhou Kouyate who scored the vital goal, his excellent long-range effort in the 44th minute coming at just the right time to dent Swansea's hopes.
In truth though, the Welsh club rarely threatened and could point to only one direct shot all game. Defensively, West Ham improved on their poor performance in mid-week, when they slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Arsenal.
The win takes the Hammers eight points clear of Swansea, but the manner of the victory did even more in terms of confidence. It was clear from the players' reactions at the final whistle that this result meant a lot to them.
The same can't be said of their Welsh rivals though. In a season when Hammers' fans have had to put up with visiting supporters capturing all the noise in the new Stratford stadium, Swansea supporters could be barely heard all afternoon.
The mid-week defeat to Spurs -- when the North London side came back from a goal down in the 88th minute to win 3-1 -- seems to have deflated Swansea, and there was a sense that the fans felt they were witnessing a relegation season.
West Ham aren't clear just yet and face a difficult trip to bottom-of-the-table Sunderland next week, but it's Slaven Bilic who will be breathing more easily after this comfortable victory.
West Ham were in complete control of this match from the start. Nerves inevitably set in late-on, but the team can be proud of their efforts against Swansea. This was an easier win than the score line suggests.
Another injury, this time to Michail Antonio, and things are so bad that Andy Carroll is named as a sub but isn't fit enough to replace him.
Manager rating out of 10:
7 -- You only had to look at Bilic at the end of the match to see what a relief this result was to him. The crowd was chanting the Croat's name post-match, so the manager can at least see he has the supporters behind him. He was brave not to make any changes after the 3-0 midweek pasting at the Emirates and, for once, the manager's obstinacy worked.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Darren Randolph, 6 -- There's little doubt Randolph looks happier when playing behind a solid defensive wall. Didn't have much to do but looked comfortable throughout despite appearing unsure on a couple of crosses. He seemed to get a slight touch to Luciano Narsingh's second-half volley. If he did, it was a vital stop.
DF Sam Byram, 7 -- Defensively solid and it was nice to see his teammates rushing to congratulate him when he put in a vital late block challenge. Crossing was good throughout, and the right-back almost had a goal when he hit the side netting.
DF Jose Fonte, 7 -- A vast improvement over recent games, Fonte got his head to a good few crosses and looked comfortable all afternoon, dealing especially well with Gylfi Sigurdsson.
DF James Collins, 8 -- Fan favourite Collins turned in another excellent performance against Swansea. There's always some part of the affectionally-known 'Ginger Pele's' anatomy that's capable of stopping the ball, and the Welsh defender made some vital interceptions with feet and head, too.
DF Arthur Masuaku, 7 -- Another improvement, as the Frenchman looked to be more prepared to battle than in the mid-week defeat by Arsenal.
MF Cheikhou Kouyate, 8 -- The Senegalese international was one of the few to come out of the mid-week defeat with any credit, and Kouyate continued to impress against Swansea. Powered forward at will and scored the vital goal with a superb shot from distance.
MF Mark Noble, 7 -- A captain's performance in his 400th game, Noble drove West Ham forward and sprayed some good passes around, too.
MF Manuel Lanzini, 9 -- Another classy display from Lanzini, who had the crowd on its feet with some sublime touches. Just needs to be more clinical; the free kicks are close but not quite Payet-style yet.
MF Andre Ayew, 7 -- On another day the former Swansea player could have had a couple of goals. Worked hard and kept his head down.
MF Robert Snodgrass, 5 -- Another poor performance before being replaced by Feghouli with 20 minutes to go. The lacklustre outfield play is bad enough, but Snodgrass is not even hitting the mark with the dead ball. One first-half corner almost hit the opposite flag. Nobody is sure what the problem is, but the Scottish international needs to sort it out quickly.
FW Michail Antonio, 6 -- Antonio was giving Swansea a torrid time until he regrettably chased Randolph's long and over-hit kick and was forced off by a hamstring injury.
Edimilson Fernandes, N/R -- Brought on for Ayew in the 86th minute, his introduction was to waste time and shake up the Swansea rear guard with some late runs.
Sofiane Feghouli, N/R -- Feghouli managed to come on just 30 seconds after the time available to receive a rating. Truth is it would have been the same old mid-range score though, as the winger once again showed the skill to create but failed to deliver the killer pass.
Jonathan Calleri, 6 -- Calleri got an early opportunity to impress when he replaced Antonio in the 40th minute. Had a couple of good chances and could have even had a goal but the Argentine striker hit the side netting on a well-placed attempt. Fans are still not convinced.
Peter Thorne, aka Billy Blagg (@BillyBlaggEsq), is ESPN FC's West Ham blogger.