They say football is a results-driven business. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the cut-throat arena of the Premier League; if a team isn’t performing to the levels the fans expect and demand, the manager won’t be in their position for very long. It’s a position David Moyes finds himself in right now at West Ham United.
David Moyes took over as manager of West Ham United in 2019. Despite early successes, this season has seen everything go wrong for the Scot and the East London club, at least domestically. Why has West Ham struggled so much? Is David Moyes’ future hanging in the balance? Find out here.
David Moyes’ West Ham Return and Early Success
David Moyes was appointed as manager of West Ham in late 2019, taking over from previous gaffer Manuel Pellegrini. This was Moyes’ second stint at the east London club, after having previously rescued them from relegation in 2017.
His second spell at West Ham was to prove far more successful. It started with an emphatic 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, eventually leading them to safety, ending the season in 16th place.
His first full season in charge of the Hammers concluded with a sixth-place finish and a Premier League club record 65 points. That season saw Tomáš Souček and Saïd Benrahma arrive on permanent deals. Souček had an instant impact, scoring 10 goals as did Michail Antonio. While Jesse Lingard joined from Manchester United on loan to contribute nine goals. Having finished 6th in the Premier League, West Ham United would enter the UEFA Europa League. While Moyes was rewarded with a new three-year contract.
David Moyes’ momentum continued in the 2021–2022 season, both at home and in Europe. Starting off with strong victories over Newcastle United and Leicester City, the Hammers would start the season in decent form, defeating Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool along the way. By mid-December, they sat 4th in the Premier League. While their participation in the UEFA Europa League saw them top their group with four wins, one draw, and one loss.
The second half of the 2021–2022 season did see the Hammers’ form drop. With little squad investment in the January transfer window, Moyes’ side fought to maintain their Premier League form while battling through the Europa League’s knockout stage.
Domestically, West Ham’s league form was mixed yet by April, it took a turn for the worse as they struggle to balance challenges in Europe and at home. In the Europa League, they overcame Sevilla and Lyon in the Round of 16 and Quarter Finals respectively, West Ham faced German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the Semi-Finals.
A 1-0 away defeat to Chelsea was followed by a 2-1 loss at West Ham’s London Stadium to Eintracht Frankfurt. Fellow Londoners, Arsenal, visited next and delivered another 2-1 defeat to Moyes’ team. Four days later, on May 5th, West Ham’s exit from the Europa League was confirmed as Eintracht Frankfurt beat them 1-0 in Germany. While a 4-0 victory over Norwich City and an admirable 2-2 draw with Premier League Champions Manchester City did turn their form around, West Ham would end the season in 7th position, qualifying for the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Nevertheless, the signs were looking good. West Ham fans believed they could be set for a period of unprecedented success for their beloved club. But, as with so many things in football, it wasn’t to last, with the club having capitulated to such an extent that even the West Ham tickets sales have been affected.
What Has Gone Wrong for David Moyes at West Ham United?
West Ham currently sit at 18th in the league. On just 20 points, they’re squarely in the relegation zone, and of 23 games played have managed just five wins, drawing a further five and losing 19.
How could this have happened? Things were going so well for David Moyes and the Hammers, how is it possible for things to have gone wrong so quickly?
Unfortunately, there are never any easy answers in football. West Ham’s struggles are likely the cause of a range of different factors. What we do know is that they have the players to compete. They’ve been shrewd in the transfer market, addressing the questionable lack of depth that affected their 2021-2022 season. Lucas Paqueta arrived from Lyon and Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo for a combined total of over £60 million. While winger Maxwel Cornet arrived from Burnley, and this past January saw Danny Ings come in from Aston Villa.
These positive moves in the market seem to have been in vain, as Moyes seems incapable of getting a tune from his players. For example, Scamacca has only scored three times in the Premier League, despite netting five times in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
So far, Moyes’ Hammers have only won back-to-back Premier League games once this season (home victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham), failing to build any momentum. Their poor form was emphasised by a seven-game winless streak, which started before the FIFA World Cup break, and didn’t end until a crucial 2-0 win over Everton. It was a game dubbed “El Sackio” due to Moyes and former Hammers player and Everton manager, Frank Lampard, being under pressure.
However, since then, West Ham has only one more Premier League win; an emphatic 4-0 defeat of fellow relegation rivals, Nottingham Forest. It was followed by a humiliating 4-0 away loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, where West Ham fans chanted “you don’t know what you’re doing” at Moyes.
Normally, there’s only one outcome when a manager fails to connect with the team.
Will Moyes get the Sack?
Many are surprised that Moyes has lasted as long as he has, given how poor the team’s performances and results have been. The latest humbling came at the hands of Spurs, who dispatched the Hammers 2-0 and further compounded the misery.
In a surprise move, the club made a statement in support of Moyes, stating that he would be given time to make amends. This was an admirable, if an unexpected turn of events, as pundits and fans alike assumed Moyes’ time was up.
Considerably, another impressive showing in Europe, has helped Moyes keep his job for now. After going undefeated in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage, West Ham saw off Cypriot side AEK Larnaca 6-0 on aggregate. They’re set to face Gent of Belgium in the Quarter Finals.
Although West Ham has backed Moyes, he’s still one of the favourites to be the next manager to leave a Premier League club. Their upcoming fixtures for April 2022 could make or break West Ham’s season, and ultimately Moyes’ tenure as the Hammers’ manager.
West Ham Remaining 2022-2023 Premier League Fixtures
- April 2nd – Southampton (H)
- April 5th – Newcastle United (H)
- April 8th – Fulham (A)
- April 16th – Arsenal (H)
- April 23rd – AFC Bournemouth (A)
- April 26th – Liverpool (H)
- April 29th – Crystal Palace (A)
- May 6th – Manchester United (H)
- May 13th – Brentford (A)
- May 20th – Leeds United (H)
- May 28th – Leicester City (A)
While West Ham appears to be standing in solidarity with the gaffer for now, the club’s current trajectory isn’t sustainable. If results continue as they have been, we could see a new manager in the dugout sooner rather than later.