Many pundits and Hammers fans had their doubts about the 2020-21 season for West Ham after a relatively slow transfer window left many pessimistic the club could have an improved season. So how has David Moyes delivered such a solid start for the Irons this year?
While many journalists, pundits and fans may have been critical of the supposed lack of signings made by manager David Moyes, the low number of incoming players may have helped the team create a more stable environment. Consider that there were only three new players added to the squad as the 4th addition was simply making the loan deal for Czech defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek a permanent deal for £19 million from Slavia Prague.
The other additions included defender Vladimir Coufal who also joined from Slavia Prague for a fee of £5.4million with Algerian playmaker Said Benrahma signing on loan from Brentford with the deal to be made permanent in the summer of 2021, crucially allowing the Hammers to defer the main £20million+ fee. The only other addition was the reasonable loan signing of experienced defender Craig Dawson from Watford with the option to make the deal permanent next summer.
With the emergence of Michail Antonio once boss David Moyes chose to play the muscular athletic presence of the Englishman upfront as a striker after Sebastian Haller’s injury last season, Antonio impressed in the 2nd half of the season with 10 goals in 21 games repaying Moyes’ faith in him. Antonio has followed that up with 3 goals so far this year in 6 Premier League starts including the superb overhead kick to tie Man City this past weekend.
Sebastian Haller had a modest return in an injury hit 2019/20 season as he scored 7 goals in his 27 appearances in all competitions. Now as the back-up to Antonio, Haller has produced 5 goals in 8 games this campaign with 4 of them coming via two 2 goal performances in EFL Cup wins over both Charlton and Hull City. Whether Moyes chooses to keep Haller or move him on his performances so far this season will have helped his value after a tough year last time around.
So many fans will be surprised by what West Ham have done under the previously only interim David Moyes but now as full-time manager at the London Stadium. The former Everton and Man United boss has steered his side into 12th place on 8 points with a +4 goal difference after dominant wins over the quality of Leicester City 3-0 and a very good Wolves side by a scoreline of 4-1. The Hammers have lost only two League games – narrowly going down 2-0 to Newcastle in the season opener and going down 2-1 to Arsenal in a tight game. West Ham have also claimed 2 PL draws after coming back to tie 3-3 away at Spurs before salvaging a 1-1 home draw with Man City this past weekend.
Much of the credit has to go to David Moyes who has built on the success of saving West Ham from relegation last season after taking charge from the fired Manuel Pellegrini. Selecting Michail Antonio as a striker was an inspired move as was giving the captaincy to Declan Rice who has thrived in the role. Moyes has also solidified the Hammers defence and brought unity to the group along with making some intelligent transfer deals.
You never know Irons fans may yet one day publicly back their manager if the promising season does not fizzle out.