Moyes Has Gained Fans Week After Week Since Chelsea Victory

Ahead of the second London derby in a row for the Eagles, TEB had a chat with the guys at GREEN STREET HAMMERS on their season so far, views on the game and much more.

Q. How did you rate the very much disrupted last campaign for West Ham?

Despite the positive end to the season it was a disappointing campaign for the Hammers. Pellegrini’s first season offered promise but sadly the second fell flat. The team was caught out by culling much of the squad and not replacing players with similar quality.

But we were saved by the return of David Moyes. The Scottish manager may have had a slow start but found a winning formula for the final six matches or so. The conversion of Michail Antonio to a striker has finally worked and before his injury looked set to become the teams 15-goal a season striker.

There were some high points during last season, famous wins against Chelsea and Manchester United. Overall though the season seemed like a massive step backwards and the main highlight was surviving relegation.

Q. What was the general view heading into the new season and what were the expectations?

Among fans there were not many high expectations for the season, despite the club’s good end to the previous campaign. The view from fans was that the club’s main aim should be survival, and many were worried even that may have been ambitious.

The only optimism before the season started was due to fans being excited to see Grady Diangana return to the club. The winger was closely watched during his loan spell away at West Brom and everyone was keen to see him perform for the Hammers. Diangana’s sale, however, caused a massive backlash from fans towards the club.

This negative feeling also affected people’s hopes for the season. So when the club lost their first two games people were very quick to suggest the club could get relegated.

Q. How have fans taken to David Moyes since he returned to the club?

At first people were disappointed to see Moyes return and would rather see the board appoint a more exciting young manager. Even before the run of games that kept West Ham in the league there were suggestions that he should have been replaced.

Since beating Chelsea last season and he has earned more and more fans with every week that has passed. This season after the first two games Moyes reinvented the team’s system superbly. Since the switch to a back five the club has developed an identity and look like a side that can grow and develop over the season.

Q. It was a peculiar summer transfer window for everyone, but how active were West Ham and are there any areas that will need attention in January?

West Ham were relatively quiet during the summer, Vladimir Coufal and Said Benrahma have been the only notable new players. Both players have improved the squad and have done well so far. The main areas that need attention are left-back, centre-midfield and striker.

Back-up or a challenger for left-back and centre-midfield would be great. If the current team were to pick up any injuries in those positions it would disrupt the current system. This has already been realised with the injury to Arthur Masuaku.

In terms of striker, Sebastien Haller just hasn’t cut the mustard and has struggled to fit into Moyes’ system. The other option of Antonio is too injury prone so another player that can fulfil the role would be ideal.

Q. We are keen to see young players coming through the ranks here at TEB so is there anyone that we should keep an eye on who could make the breakthrough into the Hammers first eleven?

There is a lot of pressure for academy graduates at West Ham, after all it is the same academy that produced Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. At the moment there are a couple of players who could have the potential to breakthrough.

Emmanuel Longelo and Harrison Ashby are both wing-backs and have already appeared in the first-team in the League Cup. Both are blessed with pace and with the current options in those positions it would be nice to see them given the chance to make the place their own before signing a replacement.

Q. The Premier League has looked pretty open so far this season, do you see that continuing into being the most open title race for years?

I really hope so. The Premier League was so boring for years when it was the same ‘big six’ teams finishing in those top positions. Now every team in the top half and further are having a good start to the season.

The league is much more exciting with teams like Leicester, Southampton and West Ham crashing into the top six, even if it is for short space of time. What makes the league even more exciting is seeing some of the traditional top teams struggle and Arsenal being in a relegation fight is definitely exciting.

Q. The use of VAR continues to frustrate everyone, so where do you sit with the ongoing debate?

In terms of the VAR debate I am still ‘pro VAR’ though I would say I am anti rules and current officials. At the end of the day VAR is only as good as the rules and the current officials implementing it.

If the rules had been designed for VAR and the officials better trained for its usage would see everyone be fine with VAR and see the fairness it could provide. Currently it is a mess and is just angering the fans for making the tightest of calls.

Q. What do you make of Palace this season?

Palace have impressed so far this season. Eberechi Eze has been a fantastic addition and has taken some of the responsibility off of Wilfred Zaha. The weight has been lifted off Zaha and he has flourished so far this season.

Roy Hodgson has developed Palace into a fluid attacking team that is built on a solid and experienced backline. If the Eagles continue to play as they are, they should easily target a top ten position.

Q. Name one player from each team that you believe will be a threat to the opposition in this match.

Well for Palace it has to be Zaha. The Ivorian is the talisman and can cause plenty of issues against either of our wing-backs with his pace.

For West Ham it could very well be Jarrod Bowen. The Englishman has been terrific since he joined in January. In recent weeks he has had plenty of efforts blocked/saved and with some better luck could bag a hatful in a match.

Q. …and finallly, your all important prediction?

It has to be a West Ham win, though Palace will cause plenty of issues for the Hammers. I am pretty sure there will be lots of goals.

3-2 to West Ham.

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