West Ham boss Slaven Bilic must build on Palace win against Sunderland

What a difference a game makes.

Before last week's trip to Selhurst Park to play a confident Crystal Palace, some respected West Ham United watchers were insisting another loss and Slaven Bilic's position would be untenable. After the game however, opinions have shifted wildly.

So assured had been the Hammers defence in their solid 1-0 win -- even when the team went down to 10 men following Aaron Creswell's ridiculous sending off -- the general feeling was a tough corner had been turned.

In real terms, of course, Bilic had Christian Benteke's penalty miss to thank for the victory but, in football, such small matters that are often the difference between success and failure, are routinely ignored.

Even though, Cresswell's two yellow cards mean the left-back will miss the visit of Sunderland to the London Stadium on Saturday, the former Ipswich player's presence alone is enough to encourage supporters.

It's easy to be dismissive of a club that relies on one or two individuals, but all teams do it to some extent and only the very big clubs can successfully cover the loss of a hugely influential player. West Ham are not big enough to easily replace the likes of Cresswell or Dimitri Payet and they shouldn't be castigated for struggling when they are out of the team or out of form.

In fact, such has the success of Cresswell and Michail Antonio -- two players plucked from the Championship -- it's just surprising that West Ham don't use this route more often when signing players. The likes of Simone Zaza may be the type of marquee player that makes the headlines and keeps the media spotlight on, but sometimes these struggle to adapt to the peculiar requirements of the Premier League.

While most supporters felt Zaza made a better impression in the win over Palace, Bilic seemed to go a bit overboard in his praise of the Italian striker. Obviously the manager sees things in training that the fans don't, but there's a strong sense that Bilic is desperate for the former Juventus player to make a valuable contribution to his side. None of the Croatian's signings has settled in and the manager really needs to prove his prowess in the transfer market if he is to maintain the confidence of the fan base and club hierarchy.

David Moyes is similarly desperate to halt the slide of his Sunderland side. The former Everton boss brings his Black Cat's side to Stratford at the weekend hoping to drag his new side away from the bottom of the table. Taking over from Sam Allardyce was never going to be easy, but it has become even harder since the former Hammers' boss was shown the England door after only one game. Big Sam wouldn't have left the Stadium of Light if it wasn't for the call of the English FA and he'll surely be top of the Sunderland board's list should Moyes fail to quickly improve the fortunes of his side soon.

The Northeast club will undoubtedly view the Hammers as a team they need to beat and are likely to be backed by a vociferous visiting support. The London Stadium has become a ground that opposing supporters like to make a noise in and, with the home side playing badly, it's easy for the away noise to drown out the local support.

Nevertheless, there's a lot of nonsense being written about the former Olympic Stadium and you sense much of it is being passed down by people who have never even been there. It's not like the Boleyn of course -- few places are -- but there's been many a season when Upton Park has seen a poor team slip out of the top tier with barely a whimper from the stands. The 'fortress atmosphere' is a misnomer not helped by people like Mark Noble talking about how the ground was worth 20 points a season. There have been too many years when fans would have done anything to bank 20 points a season!

No, the real test will be seeing a Hammers team playing well and giving the big crowd something to cheer about. If the atmosphere is still lacking then there may be a problem. At the moment however, it's not been fully measured. Sunderland may hope they won't be the first to find out but, if last week's display by both sides is anything to go by, this weekend's game may provide the acid test.