David Moyes does a great job
At the end of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, West Ham finished 60 points behind first-winner Liverpool.
The Hammers finished 16th and pretty much avoided relegation thanks to a much improved performance after the lockdown, as well as the scoring exploits of Michail Antonio.
It was in July 2020.
Fast forward six months and West Ham are unrecognizable from the squad fighting for their life in the Premier League.
At the time of writing this article hammers are Fourth in the Premier League, and have won ten, drew five and lost five of the 20 games they played in 2020/21. They are no longer a team that finished 60 points behind Liverpool, it is a team that drive Liverpool by one point – occupying a Champions League qualifying spot in the process.
Granted, the season still has a long way to go and Liverpool’s supposed drop is due in large part to the catastrophic number of defensive injuries Jurgen Klopp’s men have had to endure. But it’s a chasm to close and nothing needs to be removed exceptional work David Moyes, director of West Ham, is doing at the London Stadium.
A convincing and well-deserved victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday saw six straight wins to start the calendar year, the first time in club history. It also took West Ham’s undefeated record to eight games and, looking even further back, allowed the club to have sampled loss just twice in their last 15 games. Those two losses were against Chelsea and Manchester United, for that matter.
What was striking about the performance, and it has been a hallmark of much of West Ham’s game this season, is how open and confident every player on the field at Selhurst Park looked.
There is a confident swagger and a full understanding of what Moyes is asking of them, as well as the belief that going one goal behind is no longer a problem. The Hammers have a clear plan that builds on the strengths of their main players, and for the first time in a long time there is unity, teamwork and real solidarity. It’s a bunch of players happy for each other, not a bunch of interested nomadic individuals like we’ve seen in the past.
Sometimes it is unfair to praise individuals when things are going so well, but in this case it is deserved. Without Moyes’ balanced leadership, West Ham just wouldn’t be where they are now. He stabilized the club when things got out of hand under Manuel Pellegrini, got things straight and was consistent with everything he said and did.
In the transfer market, for example, one of the first things Moyes talked about was allocating opportunities to young players, targeting league talent ready to grow and make an impact, and get good value for money when buying overseas.
To date, he has delivered on his promise on all fronts and handed a number of first-team debuts to promising academy graduates in the recent FA Cup game with Doncaster. Jarrod Bowen has been one of West Ham’s best players since joining the championship team from Hull last January, and he’s almost certainly a player who wouldn’t have happened if Pellegrini was still in charge.
“I think with David what is interesting if you listen to his press conferences and talk to him is when he mentions the time he spent at RB Leipzig between jobs and he talked about the young players that ‘they have there and system. Because if you do your due diligence on this game model, it’s perfect for West Ham. At high speed, young, exciting players, buy them at a young age. Bring them in, build a club. “
– Joe Cole speaking to 90min in June 2020
Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Craig Dawson – three eyebrow signings that were either unknown or lacked the supposed quality many West Ham fans felt the club should aim for – all excelled, especially the two Czech players. They have been excellent value for money acquisitions and have helped put aside the disappointment of having spent £ 80million on Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson in the past two years.
Then there is another league star, Said Benrahma, who although he has yet to score a goal for West Ham, is starting to show he has all the qualities required to be a footballer. Premier League practice.
What is all this and Joe Cole’s interview with 90 mins in June tells us that West Ham’s success so far this season is no accident. Moyes has enjoyed great consistency at Everton for over a decade and clearly knows how to supervise, manage, motivate and strengthen a team of players. He no longer has large swaths of criticism weighing him down, and the fact that he still thinks the Hammers can do more shows just how important he is to the club’s long-term future.
Moyes connected with the supporters, naturally had their overwhelming support, and crucially brought back the feel-good factor for a fanbase that has been at odds with club owners for the better part of the decade. He’s only just getting started, but deserves to receive all the applause for West Ham’s progress over the past 12 months and the work he has done so far.
Damn, he might even be the Premier League manager of the season so far.
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