West Ham United manager David Moyes is making a strong case for the Premier League Manager of the Season award.
The Hammers’ 3-2 away win over Wolves on Monday helped them land a spot in the top four, and the East London side keeps defying expectations this season as the Premier League’s underdogs.
Despite starting the season off with back-to-back losses, West Ham managed to bounce back by hammering Wolves 4-0 and Leicester City 3-0 on the bounce, before picking up solid draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Only eight matches separate David Moyes’ Hammers from the bright lights of the UEFA Champions League. Here’s a brief rundown on their season so far.
Successful transfer deals
West Ham’s 2020 summer transfer window started off controversially as the decision to sell Grady Diangana to West Brom left many supporters—including captain Mark Noble—displeased.
The Hammers also sent Felipe Anderson on loan to Porto in the summer and eventually sold Sébastien Haller to Ajax in January. These departures were not in vain, however, as West Ham managed to sign both Tomáš Souček and the highly-rated Saïd Benrahma from initial loans, while also strengthening the right-back spot through Vladimír Coufal.
Souček’s purple patch of early-to-midseason form saw him score seven goals in twelve matches, including a pivotal game-winner away to Everton in January. The Czech Republic international has struck a fruitful midfield partnership with Declan Rice this season, as the Englishman sits and controls the midfield to complement Souček’s box-to-box style of play.
Meanwhile, Coufal has cemented his spot in the first team thanks to his stellar performances in the right flank. Coufal had a solid Premier League debut against Leicester City and he won many hearts by keeping Jack Grealish quiet during West Ham’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
The West Ham hopeful are also delighted with the displays of Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard. Lingard’s marauding runs and match-winning ability (6 goals, 4 assists in 8 matches) has seen him return to the sort of form that saw him called up to England’s 2018 World Cup squad. It’ll be interesting to see where he will play come next season but for now, Lingard must keep on firing for the Hammers if they are to reach the top four.
Potential top four blimps
David Moyes’ side will need to remain resilient during the business end of the season as injuries to Michail Antonio in attack and Declan Rice in midfield could potentially derail their top-four ambitions. Antonio left the pitch after 36 minutes during the win over Wolves, and his persistent injury troubles may haunt the Hammers’ ambitions of a European spot since he remains the only forward left in the senior squad.
In addition, the evergreen Mark Noble will need to control the midfield through his passing and tactical awareness as Rice is currently nursing the devastating knee injury he picked up during the international break.
Lastly, David Moyes’ West Ham needs to see games out better by being defensively assured. They’ve made a habit of letting 3-0 leads slip in recent matches, including the 3-3 home draw against Arsenal and their latest win over Wolves. The backline must stay sharp and constantly be aware of their opponent’s movements inside the box to fix their defensive woes.
Is David Moyes the Premier League Manager of the Season?
David Moyes has done an immense job in ensuring his West Ham side surpass expectations this season. The Scotsman has set up his team for success for large parts of the season by switching from a conventional 4-2-3-1 formation to an attack-minded 3-4-3, or a 5-4-1 where his team sits back and hits opponents on the counter.
Notable results include the resilient 3-3 comeback draw away to Spurs, as well as a statement 2-1 in the reverse fixture that saw Lingard and company form a football band.
The result marked their first victory over a (current) top-six side since playing Leicester City off the park at the King Power Stadium back in October.
It’s also worth noting how David Moyes’ former club Everton and a much improved Aston Villa have had a stellar season by their standards, but West Ham are consistently disturbing the status quo by managing to stick around the top six picture.
If West Ham manages to do the impossible, David Moyes deserves the Premier League Manager of the Season award. Otherwise, the accolade should go to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who will wave goodbye to legendary striker Sergio Aguero in the summer.
It has been a season of solace so far for West Ham United and next up is a thrilling Sunday afternoon encounter with third-place Leicester City.
Will we see the famous bubbles blowing at London Stadium on a European night? West Ham fans are hoping that dream becomes a reality.
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