West Ham United have been transformed by David Moyes from a relegation-threatened side who finished just five points off the drop last season, into a serious contender for the European places at the top end of the table, in no time at all, but how?
West Ham Transformed Under David Moyes
High Flying Hammers Aiming for European Spots
One league win in the whole of December left them in 10th place on New Years
Eve, unthreatened by relegation but also unlikely to challenge for the
European places. It was clear that West Ham fans were starting to get fed up of
seeing the same unimaginative, uninspiring football being played week-in,
week-out with no clear vision for the club going forward.
However, in a remarkable turn around since New Years Day, Moyes’s side have
secured 19 out of a possible 24 points and following their most recent victory
at home to Sheffield United, they are now facing the rare possibility of playing
European football next season as they sit in 5th place.
Let’s take a look at four things that have allowed David Moyes to successfully
propel West Ham up the league table and into the advantageous position that
they currently find themselves in.
1. Clearing Out the Deadwood
During the January transfer window, Moyes sent several players, deemed
surplus to requirements at the London Stadium, out on loan. Portuguese
youngster, Goncalo Cardoso, Winston Reid and Oladapo Afolayan were all
loaned out while Premier League veteran Robert Snodgrass made a permanent
move to relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion for free.
However, possibly the most noticeable departure in January was the striker
Sebastian Haller’s shock £25 million moves to Dutch-side Ajax following his very
underwhelming spell in East London. These strategical departures from Moyes
have cleared up space and finances at the club for the addition of some new
signings of his own.
2. Bringing in Fresh Faces in January
Not only did David Moyes ensure to get rid of unwanted players in January, he
also brought in several new ones to the club, most notably Jesse Lingard
on loan from Manchester United, Moyes’ old club of course. Lingard was in
the need for a chance to revitalise his career which had come to a halt at Old Trafford that not even new signing Donny van de Beek could find his way in to, never mind out of favour Jesse Lingard who made just three appearances for his boyhood club in the first half of the season.
During the window, Moyes also secured the signatures of centre-back Frederik
Alves who is ‘one for the future’ according to David Moyes and Brentford’s
Said Benrahma who was already on loan at the club but was only made a
permanent signing in January.
3. Getting the Most Out of Declan Rice
Since David Moyes took charge, Declan Rice has improved his all-round game
massively and is quickly becoming one of the league’s most sought after
Although his defensive capabilities have never been in doubt, Rice has fast
developed his role to a Roy Keane-esque one as his through balls and intricate
the link-up play has become much more appealing in recent months.
Much of this improvement is down to Moyes’ belief in the youngster as his
positive words and public declaration of his ambitions to make Rice captain
one day played a huge role in the failure of clubs such as Chelsea and
Manchester United to secure the Englishman’s signature.
4. Empty Stadiums Ease Pressure at Home
The lack of supporters in the London Stadium this season has arguably been a
blessing in disguise for Moyes’ side as it allows him to set his team up to play
whatever way he likes without having to worry about a full 60,000 plus fans
getting on his back. It also reduces the pressure on his team when things
aren’t going well or the football isn’t as easy on the eye as they might like.
The option to play with three centre backs and two wing-backs is something
Moyes has utilised many times this season. Although it might not result
in fast-flowing attacking football week-in, week-out, something which paying
fans would be demanding if they were present, it more often than not gets the
job is done.
A perfect example of this is their most recent game at the London
The stadium, a 3-0 victory against Chris Wilder’s struggling but resilient Sheffield
So far, David Moyes can be very pleased with how his side have performed in
the second half of this season. The Hammers’ hard work throughout January
David Moyes receiving a nomination for Premier League Manager of the
Month award and defender Craig Dawson being nominated for the league’s
Player of the Month award.
The question remains, however, if David Moyes’ reinvigorated side will be
able to maintain their good form for the rest of the season and secure
European football for next season, or will fatigue due to a lack of squad depth
kick in and result in West Ham slipping back down towards the middle of
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