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West Ham: What’s wrong with them?

Nobody expected West Ham to be fighting for survival for this season. 

David Moyes has done an incredible job at the club, and there was a general feeling that the Hammers would reach the next level under him. 

After reaching the semi-final of the Europa League last season, and narrowly missing out on the Premier League top-four in the previous two seasons, it felt like the Hammers need just that extra bit of quality to get in there.

Moyes took charge of the club when they were badly struggling in the league back in 2019. The Hammers have made terrific improvements under him, but this season it has been a different story. 

West Ham find themselves 16th in the Premier League table, only a point above the drop zone. They have managed only one win away from home all season, and have registered 23 goals in 25 league games so far. 

There have been times when it really felt like Moyes would get the sack, but the Hammers board has kept faith in him. They are happy to stick with him until the end of the season and it could prove to be a huge gamble. 


The Hammers showed ambition in the market and spent more than £160m in an attempt to challenge for Champions League qualification. 

Moyes has earned that right to be trusted with funds. The Hammers finally landed a striker with Ginaluca Scamacca joining in from Sassuolo. The club did a terrific job securing the signing of Maxwell Cornet who was heavily targeted by a host of Premier League clubs following Burnley’s relegation last season. 

Nayef Aguerd also joined from Rennes. Likewise, German international Thilo Kehrer was also added to the side. Moyes still felt that he needs more quality in the attacking areas, and the club backed him again to sign Lucas Paqueta on a club-record deal.

Moyes probably won’t admit it, but he is not the kind of manager who can get the best out of so-many star candidates. Rather he is very happy to work with low-key players with great potential and make them better.

As it turned out, Moyes looked clueless at times about how to integrate all these players and make them play as a team. In fact, he is yet to find out his best combination. 

In the January window, the Hammers signed Danny Ings from Aston Villa, but apart from one game, he hasn’t been prolific as expected. 

Injuries / Form

Moyes was a bit unlucky with injuries but that’s part and parcel of the game. Aguerd missed a chunk of the season as he required surgery. Cornet has barely featured and struggled with injuries. The likes of Paqueta and Scamacca were all sidelined for lengthy spells. 

Kurt Zouma, a player Moyes relies on, also missed a lot of games, and it has affected match preparations. Likewise, Jarrod Bowen has been below par this season. The 26-year-old has managed only four goals and two assists this season, and we all know he is capable of better than this. 

Similarly, Tomas Soucek has been underperforming for a long time, and he has looked like a shadow of the player he once was when he first arrived. 


Moyes has been a defensive-minded manager, and his tactics have been questioned by the fans throughout the campaign. 

Having assembled a team that boasts so much quality, it beggars belief that the Hammers have managed just one win away from home all season! They have heavily relied on home form, and even then they have been thoroughly outclassed by sides like Brighton, Brentford, Leicester, and Crystal Palace at home. 

Every time when Moyes’ future is on the line, West Ham come up with some strong performances, for example, the 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest, but they fail to maintain consistency. It was followed by a humiliating 4-0 loss against Brighton away from home.

The shambolic performance against Brighton caused alarm, and his tactics were criticized by his own players in the dressing room. Some players are frustrated with his cautious approach as they feel it is holding them back. 

Moyes somehow fails to advocate a more attacking style this season, and it could be a big reason why some of the players have underperformed. The recent draws against Newcastle and Chelsea were signs that they had taken in the right direction last month, but the defeat against Brighton was simply demoralizing. 

What’s next?

Obviously, survival is at stake here. That’s the first priority. West Ham do have a solid squad and in theory, they should be able to stay clear of danger. But given how the season has panned out, it looks like they will have to fight for every point. 

Declan Rice, the club skipper, is almost certain to leave the club next summer. The England midfielder has said time and again that he wants to play in the Champions League, and an exit is likely. He has rejected several contract extension offers from the club, and his departure looks inevitable. 

Rice has two years left on his current deal while the Hammers have the option to extend it for another year. They are unlikely to exercise the option with Moyes making it clear that any potential club will have to pay a British record transfer fee to sign the midfielder. 

There could be more exodus as well. The likes of Soucek, Angelo Ogbonna, and Vladimir Coufal could leave. Put simply, West Ham are likely to set for massive rebuilding work next summer. 

Even if Moyes guides the club to Premier League safety, the big question the club hierarchy must decide is whether he is the right man to carry the club forward. Can he be trusted with funds in the summer? Is he the perfect manager for the rebuilding job? 

Top managers like Mauricio Pochettino, Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, or even Marcelo Bielsa could be available for hire, and that puts Moyes’ future at risk. 

Risk. The Hammers have taken a big risk, and they may have to pay the consequence. 

In other Chelsea news, check highlights and reactions from the 2-0 win against Dortmund.

Saikat Mandal
Saikat Mandal
Founder of Sports Buffer. Master in mass communication from the University of Bedfordshire. Previously worked for Sportslens, HITC, and Breaking Media.

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