By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings
It may seem strange flagging this up after we failed to score (for the first time this season) in the game against Southampton.
But West Ham not troubling the scorers across ninety minutes of play has been the exception rather than the rule under David Moyes’ managerial tenure.
The frequently aired accusation that Moyes was an over-cautious manager, more concerned with not conceding goals rather than scoring them, should now be well and truly confined to the rubbish bin like one or two other accusations aimed at him when he first came to the club in 2017 – and two years later when he again took over the reign at a critical time at the beginning of 2020. Moyes is taking great delight in proving those doubters wrong.
This stat was flagged up by ‘Mark Noble’s Claret & Blue Army’ on their Instagram account: “Since David Moyes returned to West Ham in January 2020 the Hammers are just one of four Premier League clubs to have scored 100 goals in the competition, along with Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool.”
That’s quite a stat – and an amazing achievement for Moyes and his players.
It’s particularly interesting given that much of the attention during the last transfer window was around the possible purchase of a striker – either to understudy Michail Antonio, or play alongside him in what would be a change in formation to the one that has been used so frequently by Moyes.
The fear was that Mickey’s injury record being what it is, what would Moyes do for goals when Antonio wasn’t in the side?
Of those 100 goals scored under Moyes, Antonio has claimed 22 – nine in season 2019-20, 10 in 2020-21 and three so far this season. That means an awful lot of goals, 78 in fact, have come from elsewhere in the team.
Michail’s red card means it’s because of his indiscipline rather than his fitness, that we are going to get the chance to see how the team will set-up to cope with his absence for the game against Manchester United.
Of course Antonio gives the team far more than just goals! His strength, mobility and sheer presence causes opposing defences all kind of problems, and ultimately leads to goal-scoring opportunities for others. That shouldn’t and isn’t underestimated.
But with Pablo Fornals showing he’s added a more clinical finishing aspect to his game, he’s currently level with Mickey on three goals each, Said Benrahma having now found the way to the net, Jarrod Bowen always a threat and with Nikola Vlasic, no slouch in front of goal himself – are we worrying too much?
Has Moyes got this under control – the way he has proved before over the last 18 months? He has admitted his search for a striker will continue, but he’s prepared to wait until he can get the right man and the right fit for the team.
In the meantime he will go with what he’s got. With the strength and character now running right through this side, is it wise to bet against that goals tally continuing to go ticking along?