Do you remember just a few short weeks ago when West Ham appointed David Moyes as the new manager to replace the much loved, but tactically inept Slaven Bilic? Social media sites went into overdrive even though the departing boss was not getting results, the team were performing poorly, there was no apparent plan, and the new man was the fourth most successful Premier League manager of all time. I guess it says more about social media than anything else. The win this weekend meant that Moyes became just the fourth manager to win 200 league matches (behind Ferguson, Wenger and Redknapp). And we were even the first game on Match of the Day! We are now unbeaten in five games and have moved five points away from the drop zone and sit in eleventh place.
The transformation has been astonishing in such a short space of time. I’m not getting carried away and, of course, there is still a long way to go, but with exactly the same players we are now in a much healthier position. How many people would have predicted that we would collect eight points from the last four away fixtures at Bournemouth, Stoke, Tottenham and Huddersfield? (We had only previously picked up eight points in our previous 15 fixtures on our travels!) We should have had ten but for the ridiculous refereeing of Bobby Madley that cost us two points. Even the point at Tottenham, although fortunate in some respects, could have been three if our defensive resilience had lasted just a few more minutes. How many fans would have thought that when he got sent off at Southampton, Marco Arnautavic would be such an influential player, so much so that a little over half way into the season he is already odds-on favourite to be the Hammer of the Year next May? And how pleased am I that I put him into my Fantasy Football team prior to the Huddersfield game?
The win against Huddersfield once again made nonsense of the importance of possession statistics. With little over one-third of the ball, and a poorer pass completion rate, we dominated the game in the areas where it mattered and comfortably won the match. It took a superb goal from the home side to wipe out Mark Noble’s opener, but then Arnie scored just eleven seconds into the second half, before setting up Lanzini for two further goals. The creative partnership between Arnie and our diminutive Argentinian was a delight. Huddersfield had only previously been beaten at home by Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham, which shows the difficulty that we faced and how impressive was our performance.
We now need to push on in the forthcoming games and consolidate our mid-table position, looking upwards and not downwards. Despite much speculation nothing has happened yet in the transfer window, but we still need a couple of quality players to give a better balance to the squad. It remains to be seen if the right players can be identified and persuaded to join us. And more to the point the owners need to make the finance available to ensure this happens. But I am more confident with our new managerial / coaching regime that we can move further up the table. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve the aspirations that the owners voiced when we moved into our new stadium.