Moyes, Modern Art and The Splash of Paint! Published 19/04/18 on Irons United
The game on Monday night against Stoke City was supposed to be a victorious affair for the claret and blue army, however it ended up being a frustrating night for all concerned…and very nearly ended in defeat.
To review the proceedings would be to dance with the devil by the pale moonlight…it was farcical and only illustrated to most of the fans that David Moyes may not be the Moyesiah that many may have wished him to be when he first took the helm. Overall, his vision for the game lacked any attacking ambition and his formation would favour caution rather than adventure. However, West Ham did manage to dominate possession and were passing the ball around quite well but lacked penetration and quality in the final third.
Arnautovic did all he could to wrestle the game away form his former comrades but he was the figure of frustration as many of the balls to him were misplaced or he was too isolated to have any notable impact. Masuaku, whilst still driving forward, had forgotten about the early ball delivery that he had mastered in the previous two outings…and Mario, Kouyate and Fernandes did not wow the crowds with delightful and progressive forays.
The faithful were hopeful that Moyes could direct Noble and the rest of the cavaliers onto an emphatic win, but were left deflated as a tyre left out in the cold for too long. It was haphazard, spasmodic and ragged for the most part…even allowing Stoke to fire on goal a number of occasions, which a better team would most likely exploit to their advantage.
West Ham kept the faith for most of the evening but it was a tiresome affair and did nothing to inspire the crowd into voice and cheer…although they did their part as best they could. Frustrations both on and off the pitch were rising and it almost appeared inevitable that Stoke would take the lead after their manager; Paul Lambert made decisive substitutions in the second half…which Moyes seems incapable of doing unless it is out of desperation.
Or course fans could be deluding themselves to think that the team are capable of successful attacking intent, however Moyes would appear to have reservations in this regard also. Everyone would seek answers to the Hernandez omission from the starting line up and why play with Arnautovic as a lone figure in attack?
The problem with the manager is that he is not going into these very winnable games with the ambition to do so, but would rather keep it tight and sneak a goal to earn the points. If West Ham are not losing, then he appears to be less enthused to drive forward, however only when trailing behind did he kickstart the revival to do just enough to earn a point.
From his point of view, this is a very sensible approach as the amassing of points is the only game in town for him, however of course for the fans, there is so much more to it than that. A hard earned point against Chelsea or the upcoming games against Manchester City or United would be seen as a good result, however against those teams in and around West Ham…then that is a failure.
The conundrum now is whether or not the fans will have the patience and the stomach to endure another season or two of this negative style, when what all associated with the club really crave is some positivity to appease frustrations and belittle ongoing issues. The support would not be so naive to applaud wanton abandon in the name of attacking football, however there has to be a balance between great defence and great attack also…neither of which Moyes has been able to solve as yet.
Most fans now would look at the goalkeeping and defensive deficiencies and wonder what impact Moyes has had since his arrival or what would he have going forward? The squad requires a major rebuild but it also needs a manager to steer it in the right direction…one that plays a pleasing style and can deliver results with a high degree of consistency. His supporters would hail the work he did at Everton, however football has such short memory recall…he needs to reinvent himself if he is to stay at the club and he must tap into the ‘West Ham Way’ philosophy if he is to win over the crowds again.
The manager will be judged by the board on whether or not he can avoid relegation. He was appointed with another 27 games to go in the season purely to avoid the drop. Now, doesn’t that sound frightfully pessimistic to the Hammers’ faithful? He came into a club that was ripping itself apart and the squad had lost the will to compete. He has been akin to the Hancock artist ‘Rebel’ who would throw some colour on a canvas and call it progressive thinking. However, the fans are the fiercest art critics…this is not modern art…this is just a splash of paint and many would look to this old master and assume he has had his day!