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Well done Moyes – A close look at how the veteran manager has steadied the West Ham ship

West Ham United's Scottish manager David Moyes celebrates the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on October 18, 2020. (Photo by Clive Rose / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by CLIVE ROSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The comeback of David Moyes at West Ham

As David Moyes returned for his second spell at West Ham in late 2019, it felt like he had unfinished business at the club. After all, in his first spell between December 2017 and May 2018, he had guided the club towards safety from a probable relegation threat. He wasn’t offered a new deal after his initial 6-month stay and Manuel Pellegrini was appointed.

Quite amusingly, it was Moyes who returned after Pellegrini was sacked in December 2019, to save the club from relegation again. Moyes worked his magic as West Ham avoided the drop but only just.

However, this season has been quite the anti-thesis to what West Ham have usually produced in recent seasons. Currently, the club are in 5th place, level on points with 4th-placed Chelsea and 4 points below 2nd-placed Manchester United. A lot of the credit has to go to David Moyes but how exactly did he do it on his comeback? We take a better look.

West Ham manager David Moyes reacts on the touchline. (Getty Images)
West Ham manager David Moyes reacts on the touchline. (Getty Images)

Getting it right in the transfer market

For a long time, West Ham got it wrong in the transfer market. They went for players like Sebastien Haller, Felipe Anderson, Lucas Perez and Jack Wilshere. These players never quite settled in at the club. They are not even at the club now.

Under David Moyes, however, the club have gotten it absolutely right in the transfer market. The likes of Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen, Vladimir Coufal and Craig Dawson have seamlessly slotted into the side, becoming vital members of the team.

Tomas Soucek for that matter, has scored 8 goals in 24 games this season. Jarrod Bowen has 5 goals and 3 assists to his name in the league, while Coufal and Dawson have helped the side keep 9 clean sheets in the PL this season.

Even the signing of Jesse Lingard on loan looks like a shrewd bit of business given his initial impact. The Englishman has 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games for the Hammers so far.

Crystal Palace v West Ham United – Premier League – Selhurst Park West Ham United s Tomas Soucek celebrates scoring their side s second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2021.

A switch in formation

For most of last season, West Ham used a traditional back-four. They did not get many results in their favour. They spent most of the season in the bottom half, often near the relegation places.

Moyes switched to a back-three at the start of this season and that has changed the fortunes of the club. While they picked up 39 points at 1.05 points/game in 38 games last season, they have already surpassed that tally this season despite playing 14 games fewer. In 24 games, they have picked up 42 points at 1.75 points/game (h/t Transfermarkt).

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: The No Room for Racism logo is seen on the sleeve of Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on October 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Against teams like Manchester City and Tottenham, they managed to hold their own. They also got big results against the likes of Wolves and Leicester.

Moyes has really turned things around at West Ham

From staving off relegation to fighting for Champions League places, West Ham and David Moyes have surely come a long way. It surely will be a challenge to grab one of the European slots given how close things are in the top half of the table. But what West Ham have produced so far is a good indicator of how far they can go this season under a rejuvenated David Moyes.

For a manager with such reputation as the Scot, it wasn’t a good sight when things went downhill for him at Manchester United, Sunderland and Real Sociedad. But Moyes has truly managed to regain his lost reputation with a fantastic season here with West Ham.

Moyes deserves a lot of credit for rediscovering himself and also helping West Ham bounce back from where they were last season. This season has been truly a terrific turnaround in fortunes for both Moyes and West Ham.

Written by Sourav Ghosh

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