How David Moyes has turned West Ham from also-rans into a club genuinely capable of fighting the elite

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·3-min read
How David Moyes has turned West Ham from also-rans into a club genuinely capable of fighting the elite
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West Ham seem to be hitting a new high every time they take to the pitch under David Moyes.

After finishing sixth in the Premier League last season, the Hammers have improved once more this term and with an astonishing victory over Liverpool on Sunday moved to within three points of top spot.

The East Londoners are also through to the knockout stages of the Europa League with two group games to spare.

West Ham are a team to be feared now, one capable of standing up to any side they face this season. Here, Standard Sport breaks down how Moyes has made it happen...

TAKING ON THE BIG SIX

One big frustration for West Ham and Moyes last season was their record against the traditional 'Big Six' in the Premier League.

The Hammers put on fine performances in most of their battles with the bigger sides but ended the season without a win over any of them.

Already this term, across the Premier League and Carabao Cup, they have overcome four of them. Manchester City and Manchester United have been knocked out of the League Cup, the former on penalties after a 0-0 draw, while Tottenham and Liverpool have been defeated in the Premier League.

This has come about due to a clear change of heart from Moyes and his coaching staff in how they approach the games.

 (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Last season there was criticism that they sat back against the big teams, not showing the best side of their football and wasting chances to do something special. This season they have gone for the jugular at the right time.

West Ham sat too deep in the first-half against Liverpool on Sunday but showed in a stunning second-half spell how dangerous they can been when stepping up to bigger teams, winning battles in midfield and tearing through on the break time and again. Breaks through the middle after facing up to Liverpool and turning the ball over were key in both second-half goals.

The confidence to play on the front foot against bigger teams is paying dividends.

SETTLED SQUAD

David Moyes cannot be accused of not knowing his best side.

With just four changes to the starting XI all season in the Premier League, the West Ham manager has made fewer changes than any of his counterparts in the division, while no club have used fewer different players than the East Londoners.

The lack of chopping and changing has made the Hammers one of the best organised outfits in the Premier League, with each player knowing his task and sticking to it, while also knowing exactly what their teammates are going to do in all manner of different situations.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There is, of course, a risk that one or two injuries could hit hard when so few players have been used, but Moyes has more depth to call upon than last season and is balancing his side well in Europe.

After losing their first two domestic games which followed Europa League matches to late goals (against Manchester United and Brentford), the Hammers have since beaten both Tottenham and Liverpool just days after playing on a Thursday night.

MANAGING UP

The board have not been a popular group at West Ham in recent years.

Supporters have well known frustrations with the figures running their club, though credit has to be handed to the likes of David Sullivan and David Gold for correcting their mistake and bringing Moyes back to the club.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Scot has a good working relationship with Sullivan after frustrations during their time together in Moyes' first spell and the energy the former Manchester United manager has brought to the club has been infectious at all levels.

Figures within the hierarchy talk of Moyes getting everyone on the same page and pushing in the same direction, therefore the 58-year-old is receiving the backing he needs and deserves.

As well as investing in the squad, Sullivan has allowed Moyes to grow his recruitment staff, evidenced by the recent appointment of Rob Newman as head of recruitment.

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