By CandH follower Colin Brookes
No one connected with West Ham United could be more excited about the new season than the club’s manager David Moyes. Finally, the Scot has the chance to lay his stamp on the team, having taken over the reins of the club in December as a stop-gap manager.
Need I remind you that it was the Scot who steered West Ham out of the relegation zone back in 2017/18, and when he took over the club again – this time from Manuel Pellegrini – the Hammers were languishing in the 17th position?
Dramatically, Moyes did his thing again. He reinvigorated the team, gave the fans reasons to believe again, and guided the club to safety.
Although the decision to leave Moyes in charge may not attract the same kind of buzz as a big-name signing arriving at the London Stadium, it is a reason big enough for fans to be hopeful ahead of the new season.
If there is anything we can take away from the previous half seasons under him, it is that the man sure has a way of getting the boys to perform.
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A solid framework is already in place
One of the biggest positives of last season was the manner in which the club ended the season. In a run that featured only one defeat in seven games, West Ham United thrashed rivals Chelsea, and also defeated fellow relegation-threatened sides Watford and Norwich in emphatic fashion.
Even though fans are getting worried that the club hasn’t really done much in the window, that reality has not been a cause for concern for the manager who conceded at the end of last season that he might have to “make-do” with whatever he has at his disposal.
With the number of investments the club has made in recent windows, it’s safe to say that Moyes has plenty of handy tools at his disposal. And if he could get them to replicate that post-lockdown form, which saw them lose one in seven – then the club might be aiming for a higher-placed finish in the 2020/21 season.
Soucek signing gives hope
It is true that not too many new players have joined the Hammers since the window reopened. But that mood should not cloud the good news of Soucek joining permanently. The marathon man – who wowed everyone at the London Stadium soon after the restart with his incredible pace, power, and agility – has finally joined the Hammers in a permanent deal from Slavia Prague.
Although he primarily operates as a box-to-box midfielder, Soucek proved with his exploits against the Blues, Watford, and Newcastle that he has some goals in him. Not to forget that he can also operate as a defensive midfielder too.
At just 25 years of age, his signing could not have come at a better time for the Hammers, who will now be hoping that he continues his fine form when the new season kicks off.
Strength: Dead-ball specialist
If there was one thing that became quickly evident upon the arrival of Moyes, that would be West Ham United’s threat from dead-ball situations. In the league last season, only Liverpool scored more goals from dead-ball situations than the Hammers.
And the brains behind most of the team’s dead-ball deliveries remained Robert Snodgrass. Of the six dead-ball situation goals West Ham scored last season, the Scot assisted four, while Issa Diop netted all his three league goals from these deliveries.
Oh, and let’s not forget that West Ham now has another dead-ball specialist in their ranks in the mould of Tomas Soucek.
What would represent success for West ham in the 2020/21 season?
Although Manuel Pellegrini did guide the club to a 10th place finish in the 18/19 season, the decline of the 19/20 season means that a mid-table finish for Moyes in the 2020/21 season might be considered a success.
With Moyes’ history and the form the boys were in the last time we saw them in a competitive match, I wouldn’t bet against the Hammers finishing closer to the top than the bottom. And in the worst-case scenario, maybe a mid-table finish.