It’s safe to say we’re back to winning games.
While this season could go down in club history as one of the most emotional seasons yet, a simple change in management has changed the way West Ham United defend, play and perform.
West Ham Manager David Moyes’ first couple of games were somewhat shakey, following defeats to Watford (2-0), Everton (4-0) and Manchester City (2-1) plus a 1-1 draw to Leicester and a 0-0 draw to Arsenal, however with win’s against Chelsea (1-0) and the more recent 0-3 away win over Stoke City have shown things at West Ham United have improved.
8 points from 7 games might not be much to write home about, but life at the London Stadium is sure to improve with training intensifying dramatically, decisions on the Starting XI changing and the new management coming in in general having more than a significant impact.
West Ham’s trip to Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium yielded a slight delay in the match day as a power outage delayed kick off until 4pm, however a penalty from Mark Noble, plus goals from Marko Arnautovic and Diafra Sakho respectively helped win us 3 more crucial points, lifting us to 15th in the table (as of 17/12/2017), but combined with a 1-0 Chelsea win and a 0-0 Arsenal draw, what’s working well at the moment at West Ham United?
The usual training regime under Slaven Bilic did bring some decent results, however it wasn’t nearly enough to get us where we need to be. Since Moyes and his team took over, fitness levels in our players have increased, defensive training has eased the amount of harsh criticism thrown towards out players and decent goalkeeping training sessions have allowed for Adrian and Hart to continue working on where they need to be.
Joe Hart’s banishment to the substitutes bench following the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City has shown the world whom David Moyes trusts to stand between the goal posts come match day, but the improvement of our defenders in defending, physicality and fitness all must be looked at and commended as well.
Our midfield is looking more comfortable in passing between each other, keeping possession of the ball and assisting our strikers up top as well. With Cheikhou Kouyate out injured, this has allowed for club captain Mark Noble to return to the midfield, and his return has made a rather dramatic improvement. While he still has his critics, they have been somewhat quieter in recent weeks.
Has the training kicked off Marko Arnautovic’s career again? Possibly, yet it’s unlikely. One of the major issues he faced under Slaven Bilic is the lack of service he was getting from his midfield comrades. With Manuel Lanzini doing the bulk of the work, the Austrian did have some moments where he came close to scoring, however his three times netting goals in his last three games (while one was disallowed for offside), it has shown his internal fire has exploded into life, and he is finally receiving the recognition he deserves.
In recent weeks, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has made some remarks which don’t seem to have affected the players too much. In an interview he gave with The Guardian, the Englishman mentioned his family trying to swing his mind from signing Robert Snodgrass from Hull City and Jose Fonte from Southampton. “The manager said he wanted Fonte from Southampton and Snodgrass from Hull. My kids begged me not to sign them.”
He also made a comment which did anger some West Ham fans with regards to the sacking of Slaven Bilic. “I should have got rid of him in the summer, But beating Tottenham in the last home game and beating Burnley was just enough. My family gave me such grief for not doing it. I thought he’d sorted things out.”
Read into it what you will, however these two comments in particular don’t seem to have made any impact on the players since Moyes’ arrival at West Ham United.
Transfer Windows and Players:
It seems likely both Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are destined for the door at the London Stadium across the next two Transfer Windows. With the January one opening up in just over a fortnight, the possibility for Diafra Sakho to leave West Ham first seems all the more likely to happen.
Despite scoring against Stoke City, Sakho has made repeated comments stating he’d like to leave West Ham, even so far as going to a French Ligue 2 side to attempt to force through a move from West Ham. Following his return to the London Stadium, he spend opening weekend away from the club, having gone to the racecourse to watch some horse races, rather than actually working.
Andy Carroll is somewhat of a difficult one as his injury laden career thus far has proven his favourite place seems to be the physio room, rather than out on the pitch. Since joining West Ham United from Liverpool in 2013, the English International has made 82 appearances, scoring 23 times, including the sensational overhead bicycle kick against Crystal Palace last season.
Over the summer, we saw Pablo Zabaleta, Arnautovic, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Joe Hart added to our squad. With three of these players finding their feet rapidly, the general feeling is these three have done their parts and have made an impact, however Hart’s performances haven’t worked out as well as we’d have liked.
So, how does this come back to Moyes?
As the Manager of West Ham United, he’s managed to kick Marko Arnautovic into gear, push the players to his high standard of fitness, reorganize our defence by shifting Aaron Cresswell into a back-three as well as make small, yet beneficial changes in the way we play. Bringing his experiences from Manchester United, Everton, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, the Scotsman has managed to pull us out of the relegation zone, get ourselves firing again and taught our players how to play attractive football again.
Will he stay at the end of the season? Who knows. It depends on a great many things, but for now, I’m definitely loving this improved West Ham United.