West Ham fighting on all fronts as David Moyes begins FA Cup odyssey with Leeds win

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  • David Moyes
    David Moyes
    Football Manager
  • Declan Rice
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

There was little chance of David Moyes not taking the FA Cup seriously.

The Hammers manager, who has never won this tournament, said on Friday that he believed West Ham possessed a squad capable of making a tilt at this competition - something tangible to show for their resurgence under his watch.

The Scot named his strongest possible XI for the visit of Leeds, with Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek starting in midfield ahead of Mark Noble or Alex Kral, and should have seen his side win far more comfortably than the 2-0 scoreline.

Rice dominated in midfield and, while Leeds had openings of their own, West Ham were more than deserving. Michail Antonio was a menacing presence leading the line, looking back to his best, while Nikola Vlasic impressed and Jarrod Bowen was rewarded with a goal after a relentless performance.

Bowen saw an effort cleared off the line by Luke Ayling early on before Manuel Lanzini scored the opener, capitalising as the ball fell back away from Leeds keeper Illan Meslier after Vlasic had turned his defender and prodded at goal. The ball fell loose and Lanzini rattled home. The goal survived a muddled VAR review for offside which could have gone either way but fell for the Hammers.

You make your own luck, West Ham will argue.

The second half was as comfortable as it has been for West Ham in recent weeks. Daniel James missed from yards out as he couldn’t sort his feet out in time to finish, but the home side had created more than enough to be out of sight before Bowen raced through on the break in injury time to net his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.

After being drawn against both Manchester clubs and Tottenham in the Carabao Cup, Moyes is hopeful of an easier route in this competition and feels they are capable of going all the way.

The former Manchester United boss has had to balance and juggle his squad this season, with European knockout football waiting in March, but even with a top six push and a Europa League campaign on his plate, Moyes wants to fight on all fronts.

Against Premier League opposition, this was as good a start as the West Ham manager could hope for.

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