Can we get to the next level under Moyes?

Author: . Published: at 9:56pm

Written by Malcolm Atkins – @malatk

This may not be a popular piece, but I am making the case for keeping David Moyes. This season his results have been mixed, a slow start gradually developed into a steady accumulation of points and we seemed to be heading in the right direction. Things then dropped off alarmingly before the last couple of games. Moyes though has some mitigation, the team he took over was in a bad place, playing poorly, unbalanced, unfit and lacking confidence. Since then while a number of players have been moved on, signings in the January window were to say the least, underwhelming. I think Moyes is going to keep us up, victory against Stoke should see us home. I think Moyes has brought improvement to a number of players, steadied the ship, improved morale and also given a few opportunities to youngsters which we have all been asking for.

So what can David Moyes do in the long term? The next level? Let’s face it the board massively over hyped that. Champions league? At the moment Arsenal and Chelsea are not going to make the top four which gives an indication of how difficult that is. For me the next level for West Ham is to be the best of the rest. Now before I get accused of lacking ambition, I would love to see us mix it with the big boys and will never stop dreaming of that happening, but we have to be realistic about where we are and we are more than one level away from that stage. We need a platform to build from, challenging for Europa qualification through the league, making a push in the cups, and stop this regular visit to the relegation battle.

I know this may sound defeatist, but our club has perennially under achieved. In the history of the club we have finished in the top seven of the top tier six times. Achieving that position regularly would represent moving to the next level. So, David Moyes; at Everton he achieved top seven finishes eight times in eleven seasons. Now I know Everton have a better record overall but in the preceding eleven seasons they achieved top seven just once. Moyes star has fallen with failure at Man Utd and Sociedad both short lived appointments, followed by the mistake of taking the Sunderland job – a club in freefall. My point is Moyes knows what is needed. I have seen criticism of targets from clubs like Fulham, well I think we have a big rebuilding ahead and sensible well scouted signings are going to form the corner stone of this, hopefully backed up by a couple of higher profile signings. Many will be sceptical of the board providing decent backing, for me this summer is make or break, if the board fail the unrest will be one thing that does move to the next level. I really hope we are not starting over with another new manager, especially as there does not seem to be a likely candidate out there. Looking above us, Burnley, Newcastle, Leicester, Bournemouth and Watford are not built on huge signings, yet all are in better positions than us, Burnley are pushing for Europe! We need a solid foundation and less speculative signings from abroad. I would be really happy in the medium term to see us regular top seven and challenging for cups.

Another Criticism of Moyes is he is too negative. He will certainly take a pragmatic approach, but I do think he will attempt to balance results with some attractive football once he has a foundation. Moyes draws comparisons with Allardyce, for me although there are some similarities, Moyes lacks the arrogance of Big Sam, I felt Sam never really got a chance with a large section of the West Ham faithful, but he certainly did not help himself. Not only did Sam not endear himself to fans, he did not even try to play the game. Moyes in my view has a little more respect for the fans view. If you are not one of the elite, you have to build a solid hard to beat side and work from there.  The game against Burnley saw us undone by a tactical approach from Sean Dyche (a top manager in my view) sit, suck up the pressure, don’t concede and slowly take the game to a team with the crowd on their back. They dismantled us and scored three away from home, but it was hardly classic free flowing football in the first half.

Lots of views about that Moyes should have started Chicarito Sunday, maybe, but we had to hang in there and build a platform against Chelsea. If we had gone toe to toe with them they have the players to take us apart.

So, for Me Moyes is showing enough. Ogbonna has improved, Declan Rice is establishing himself, Kouyate looks much better recently after a terrible spell previously, Noble has recovered form, Masuaku looks better, Arnie is a different player to the bloke under Bilic. I really hope Chicarito can find a place under Moyes but playing two up needs the shape of the rest of the side to be right, we lack players to do that so if Chicarito is going to play he needs to consistently show the industry he did on Sunday coming from slightly deeper.

I think we need 6-7 signings this summer and I hope we will go into the new season in the premier league with a squad that has the balance to play 2-3 different formations because at the moment there is only one available.

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