Year have come and gone and Moyes has returned for his second spell as manager. First of all I hope everyone had a good Christmas with family and friends, and equally I hope the club and all West Ham fans reading this have a prosperous 2020.
My thoughts with regards to David Moyes coming back in weren’t particularly positive to be honest but he has done well thus far with two wins, a total of six goals and two clean sheets. When I considered it all, I was not that annoyed that Moyes had been appointed because I felt confident he would make us tougher to beat (perhaps not difficult following Pellegrini’s ability to coach a defence) and we would work harder on and off the ball. With the two David’s opting for the Scotsman I felt it was just a regressive decision and a bit uninspiring. However, as I thought about it even more and discussed it with my Dad as well as friends, Moyes was the sensible choice and anybody I ideally wanted (Niko Kovac) would not be silly enough to come and work under the owners and will eventually get a better and more attractive offer.
The Bournemouth game was really important in the end as teams around us had all got good results, and so to win in such emphatic fashion was pleasing to see. Noble was very good, you could clearly see despite only having had at maximum two sessions under the new manager, the players were pressing and putting in a lot more effort. Haller’s goal following a surprisingly accurate Fredericks cross was superb, and hopefully under Moyes we put in more crosses for the Frenchman and he prospers. That goal sandwiched in between Noble’s brace was a reminder to us but perhaps more other teams and fans in the Prem that we have a very talented striker who hopefully kicks on as Moyes directs us up the table. Anderson this season has not hit the heights he did last season and until the game on New Year’s day had not scored a goal, and he had been criticised a fair amount on social media. However, against Bournemouth I felt he was very good and the goal capped off a much better performance. Perhaps he was slightly sloppy in possession on a couple of occasions or a pass did not quite reach the intended target, but I would argue some of that comes with the nature of his position and style as he is a player tasked with making penetrative forward passes. Again under Moyes I think and hope we will see a much better version of Felipe, because like most of our players he looked lost and devoid of confidence under Pellegrini.
The Gillingham game was always likely to be difficult as the lower league teams almost always want a Cup run and to beat Premier League sides unless they are battling promotion perhaps. In the first half with a strong team in a new formation which I imagine we’ll see more of, we were shockingly bad in my opinion. I have no doubt Moyes told the players they needed to do better and in the second half we were better and created chances, ultimately winning with a professional performance in which the defence did especially well up against a lot of corners and long throws. If I were being generous to Mr Pellegrini, the best we would have achieved under him vs Gillingham would have been a replay at London Stadium but under Moyes we showed a resilience to dig in when required and get the job done.
Talking more generally about West Ham at the moment I’m very pleased to see Pablo Fornals settle in more and be contributing to goals and assists. In a lot of ways I differ to the 23 year old Spaniard both physically and in terms of playing style, he’s a skilful attacking player and I’m generally a holding midfielder and he’s obviously a hell of a lot better than me! However both Pablo and I in our last outings on a football pitch registered a goal and assist; having said that I’d rather be contributing to an FA Cup tie than a Monday six a side league but we can’t have it all. I’d like to think my assist though was more legitimate than Pablo’s as I intercepted a pass and played through my West Ham supporting friend called Will who’s in good goal scoring form. Whereas the No. 18 rather scuffed an attempted shot which found its way into the path of Zabaleta. Moral of this paragraph: Fornals has been very good and will continue to improve hopefully, and maybe I should be playing alongside Pablo instead of Lanzini!
Ultimately, Moyesy has got off to a good start and the players appear to like him. We are already working harder than we were and I have faith that the former Everton and Manchester United man will steer us away from the drop zone. The pressing has been good and the occasional long ball over the top towards Haller can definitely work. It’ll be tough with the upcoming fixtures looking difficult so we’ll see where we are with Moyes after that. We certainly need reinforcements in this window, by the time this article goes out Randolph has probably been announced, maybe a right back will come in on loan due to Fredericks’ as well as possibly a centre back and a striker. But the position we desperately need to address and thankfully appears to be of primary concern is central midfield as Rice needs a dynamic box to box style player and if we get that we’ll be alright I think. By the time this is out, Gedson Fernandes might have arrived. I hope he solves some problems but if he’s the only midfield arrival he’ll have a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
Hope everyone is well, and has a good week.