The two teams at the bottom of the current form league meet when West Ham entertain Everton on Saturday

Just one week ago I sat down to write a preview of our game at Wolves that would bring up the halfway point of the season. The subheading to the piece was that the wrong result might mean that we could be in the bottom three. The inevitable happened, we lost the game 1-0, and we now sit in the relegation zone, with just goal difference stopping us from propping up the league.

A large portion of the article considered a potential change of manager and the reasons behind why this should happen. Nothing has changed and David Moyes is still in charge. A number of articles have been written this week suggesting that the manager needs to win this game against Everton to save his job. I hope we beat Everton as I hope we win every game, but if we do does this mean a reprieve? 

Without a doubt Moyes did a splendid job in the last couple of seasons leading us to European qualification as a result of sixth and seventh place finishes. But this time around it has gone wrong. Is it surprising? There is a theory held by many that a football manager’s life cycle at any club is probably three years. After that it is often time to move on. Think Mourinho, think Conte, think so many managers. Some have lasted longer, think Benitez or Pochettino, but did it get any better after the third year in the job. Even Guardiola had a relatively poor fourth season at Barcelona and then moved after three successful seasons at Bayern. At Manchester City season four was a comedown after winning the league in seasons two and three, but he still continues to be relatively successful and perhaps disproves the theory.

Rebuilding a team on a regular basis is surely the key to bucking the trend. Guardiola has done this to some extent as did the two managers in recent times who built long lasting success at their clubs. Ferguson and Wenger built new teams when they deemed it was necessary. This is surely the only way to succeed.

Perhaps this was Moyes intent with the summer spending spree? But it hasn’t worked has it? The players he has brought in do not appear to be suited to West Ham, do not appear to be suited to Moyes favoured playing style, and do not appear to be suited to the Premier League. Were they his choice? There are many reasons for our disappointing first half of the season but so many of them are surely down to the manager.

Ironically Moyes himself could be said to disprove the three year theory in his time as manager of Everton, consistently achieving top eight finishes, although his fourth year in charge was possibly the low point. Somehow he turned it around. Can he do the same at West Ham? Bookmakers’ odds on the next manager to leave suggest that he won’t be given the chance. We shall see.

In last week’s article I highlighted the eight teams at the foot of the table at present as the ones involved in the relegation fight whilst stressing that some could escape and others could be drawn in. Of the eight, three won last weekend and five were beaten. The points for the bottom eight now reads:

Forest 20, Leicester 17, Leeds 17, Wolves 17, Bournemouth 16, West Ham 15, Everton 15, Southampton 15. 

Forest in particular are on the up whilst just two points separate the bottom seven. The form table for the last six games:

Forest 11, Wolves 7, Leicester 6, Leeds 5, Bournemouth 3, Southampton 3, West Ham 1, Everton 1. 

That makes desperate reading for the two teams meeting at the London Stadium on Saturday. I wonder if both, one, or neither of the two managers will be in charge of their team in the game after this one? At the time of writing they head the betting in respect of next managers to leave with Moyes 11/10 favourite and Lampard 5/2, with Marsch next at 12/1.

Current relegation odds make interesting reading:

Bournemouth 1/3, Everton 8/11, Southampton Evens, Wolves 11/4, Forest 11/4, Leicester 7/2, Leeds 4/1, West Ham 5/1.

Bookmakers fancy seven other teams as more likely relegation candidates than West Ham. Are they right? If they are then we are likely to finish 13th. We shall see.

This is a game that will undoubtedly be described as must win. But the points spread of the bottom 7 means that it is probably not the case. Nevertheless 3 points will be more than welcome.  Will we get them? Will Everton? Will the points be shared?

As I finish this article on Thursday evening I still await confirmation that we are signing Danny Ings. Without doubt he is a proven goalscorer although I note that many of our fans on social media describe this as a desperation signing. He is not exactly in the signings category promised to us but forgive me if I am wrong, these are desperate times. He obviously likes playing in claret and blue having previously played for Burnley and Villa. I just hope he is given the service, because if he is he will score goals. It was interesting to note that our odds on being relegated, and Moyes odds to be next Premier Manager to leave both lengthened on the news.

16 thoughts on “The two teams at the bottom of the current form league meet when West Ham entertain Everton on Saturday”

  1. Hi Richard – I think you’re right, Moyes is, I reckon, ‘given’ players by the board. He seemed reluctant about the new signings last summer, even half complained about having too much disruption (rather than seeing it as providing more options). Ings will prove an excellent signing in my view. Despite the dodgy full-backs our defensive record isn’t too bad. It’s up front that we’ve been lamentable. I think Moyes will scrape through then it will be all change in the summer after new owners take over. That March deadline isn’t far away now. There’s a lot of change on the horizon, I reckon, which is perhaps why Moyes was retained, at least for the time being…

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  2. Put yourself in Scamacca’s boots. Replaced by a 30 year old journeyman, freezing cold and missing Italy. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He must have dreamt of something very different when he signed, but that was before he realised how we play under The Dinosaur and before he understood there would be no serious attempt to integrate him into the side. Pacqueta? Much the same except he cost £20 million more. Why did we buy him? He certainly didn’t impress me playing against us for Lyon. I couldn’t remember him from either game – could you? He looks baffled by our playing style ( if style is the word) and unable to deal with the pace and physicality of the Premiership. Never mind,only £50 something million wasted. The name Newman doesn’t get mentioned much lately I notice, althoughIimagine he is still hailing down his £1 million a year salary.
    COYI.

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    1. Also feel for Scamacca (we’ve seen it all before, haven’t we, with Haller). Poor guy must be regretting that he took Mancini’s advice. Also agree about Pacqueta, I certainly didn’t notice him in the Lyon game. He can flick through nice passes and shields the ball well, but he seems too slow for the Premier League. What was Newman thinking? Neither player fits into what seems to be the Moyes plan (defend and counter-attack with pace). Ings will, I hope, get a few goals to ensure survival, but hoping it’s all change soon. COYI

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      1. It’s an interesting debate as to who was doing what on transfers. I can’t believe that Moyes wasn’t signing off on all the incoming players in the summer. I doubt that’s the case now though and it will be telling how he reacts with Ings – playing him left wing perhaps. It’s the system that needs to change if we are to create more real chances.

        Paqueta’s a funny one. A first choice for his country but relatively few facets to his game – from what we’ve seen. Not the type of player I thought we were getting or needed. I did think he looked more engaged in the last couple pf games, but still a long way from value for money.

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  3. I have no doubts that Ings will score for us,he scores for every side he plays for. What worries me is the possibility that his goals will keep Moyse ( and Newman ) in his job when what is needed is change. Moyse, despite a situation changing from worrying to out and out crisis, has shown no ability or inclination to change the way we play. Having created what I saw described recently as “ the oldest and most injury- prone squad in the Premiership” he invites team with pacy wingers and effective strikers onto us, hoping to score on the counter despite having no effective striker capable of scoring on a regular basis. In what world does that make sense? In fairness, the goals conceded columnist no worse than last year and the blame can well and truly be laid at the door of the forwards. However, playing our most likely goal threat, Benrahma, for no more than half an hour a game ( and then usually after our main “ striker” has been hauled off ) isn’t really helping. I have asked this question before, but anyone tell me ONE thing that Moyse is getting right from Areola to Zouma. From A to Z we are failing, and no signs of change.

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    1. You would need the world’s most powerful microscope to discover a positive right now. It’s not mainly about deficiencies in attack or defence in my opinion. It’s about the tactics. We don’t concede so many because all the players are usually behind the ball. We don’t score many for the same reason. If nothing else changes even Haaland would struggle to score goals.

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  4. Moyes was surely asking for players in the 21-22 winter window, when a couple of new faces in the right positions could have made all the difference and helped the club to build on success. It never happened and we went downhill. His reaction to last summer’s spending spree suggested he hadn’t been involved. He even commented that perhaps too many players had come in. Bizarre way to run a club.

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  5. Have to agree with you John, our club is bizarrely run. Given that it would seem that Emerson, Downes and Areola were never going to play often in the Premier League games, the other four ( Aguerd, Cornet, Paqueta and Scamacca ) didn’t represent a huge influx. It’s just that, to date at least, only Aguerd has looked capable of doing his job at Premiership level. We haven’t tried changing the way we play to accommodate Paqueta and Scamacca and neither, so far as I know or can see, have we tried to change themtofitthe way we insist on playing. The jury is out on Cornet who is busy maintaining the fine traditions of our medical team by being out for four months with a “ calf niggle’. The niggle now appears to be the rarest form of calf injury known to medical science. You couldn’t make it up.

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    1. I think we can all agree the club is bizarrely run. The current situation with Moyes – will he stay or will he go – is a prime example of a lack of direction.

      I’m not convinced about what Moyes gad said about adopting a Red Bull model. Words and figures don’t match here. Can you imagine him using young unproven players on a regular basis? He is famed as a manager who assembles dossiers on potential signings and looks into their character as well as their abilities. I don’t buy that this has changed. No inside knowledge, just an opinion.

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      1. Geoff, he didn’t seem to welcome the summer signings with much enthusiasm, even commenting that in some ways a smaller squad was preferable. He also kept talking about going for lots of players. It all seemed to lack focus. Too many cooks and no discernible strategy, though it’s hard to discern any meaning in his press interviews where he says, a you’ve pointed out before, everything and nothing. Macbeth’s witches spring to mind. I agree with Mike about Aguerd, though. Should be interesting to see how he copes with Calvert-Lewin.

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      2. I hear what you say, John. It’s sort of received wisdom that bringing more than 2 or 3 new players into a first team squad is very disruptive. I can understand that when your strength is all about teamwork and cohesion. Trouble is the squad depth was thin to start with so something needed to be done. But as Mike said the recruits didn’t fit the system and the system hasn’t changed to suit the recruits. I like what I’ve seen with Aguerd and hope his pace and reading of the game balances out his lack of physicality. Hopefully Zouma is back on Saturday.

        Makes you wonder what impact signing someone like Ings last January could have had on our season.

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      3. A Plan Bee – as it turned out – no.
        A shot in the dark ( Wolves) no shots at all until too late.
        Stuck in the Toffee or stuck into the Toffees? I wonder.

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      4. Lets hope for an ingspired display, though Moyes wasn’t sure at his press conference if the guy was registered yet…God knows if he’ll play tomorrow, but he’s already advertising the third strip with orange streaks and has the number 18. I guess that means he could play. Rather important as Scamacca is out ‘for a bit’, and Antonio may as well be too…

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  6. John, Mike, Geoff
    I present a music show on local community radio and your comments following my article this morning kept me entertained while I was on the air.
    I think that we all agree it’s time for a managerial change, but if we somehow win the game tomorrow will he be reprieved?
    Some tough games coming up after this one. He is unable or unwilling to change his ideas although Antonio on his podcast suggested that we are playing a different way this season compared to last. I hadn’t spotted any differences.

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    1. I think it’s a fight for survival now, and so I hope very much that we win tomorrow . If we lose, then its enter Rafa, I think, or maybe Dyke. As you mention, Richard, managers tend to have their purple patch and then go off the boil. Moyes has done very well for the club but he should have gone a couple of months ago. Instead he’s back to his original task of saving us from the drop. It won’t be pretty to watch and substitutions will drive us all mad, but I don’t see him staying beyond the end of this season, when I believe the ownership will change (end of tax liability in March).

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  7. Sorry, had to break off from a very interesting debate to go for a couple of pints with some mates!
    It’s not too hard I think to see where it has all gone wrong. Moyse was happiest playing the same tiny group of players week after week, to the point where he played some of them into the ground.
    Our recruitment record is truly awful, and we failed to recruit properly for certain positions at all. A panic burst of new players, but no change to the system and no attempt to change it. Now we have what seems to me to be a disaffected group of players, all with different reasons for being unhappy.
    The idea of well scouted and researched new players seems just a dream and I feel Newman should be carrying the can for that as much as Moyse.
    My fear is that a win on Saturday is seen as the answer, but with Chelsea and Spurs to come we could be deep in the mire in a few weeks from now.
    I can’t wait to see what side we put out against Everton.

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