Since David Moyes replaced Manuel Pellegrini as manager in late December last year, results haven’t really improved as much as was hoped when the change was made. A run of two wins in 12 spelled the end for the Chilean’s reign in east London and since Moyes took over, he has won just two of ten Premier League games prior to the top flight being suspended amid the Covid-19 pandemic. So who has been the big beneficiaries of Moyes’ arrival compared to when Pellegrini was in charge?
The Hammers right back might not have got the chance to make his debut under Pellegrini, who was often reluctant to throw youngsters in. At right back, Pablo Zabaleta was becoming a less viable option but you get the impression that Pellegrini would have stuck with the Argentine if Ryan Fredericks was unavailable. However, Moyes took the plunge and threw in Ngakia for his debut against Liverpool and the teenager hasn’t looked back since then.
The Spanish midfielder was in and out of the side under Pellegrini but was finding his feet, finally, in the latter stages of the Chilean’s reign. You did feel that Pellegrini never fully trusted Fornals however and was showing a preference to Manuel Lanzini, as was Moyes initially after he arrived. However, the Scotsman has seen the light and stuck with Fornals, who paid him back with a goal and two assists in three games prior to the coronavirus bringing the league to a halt.
While the Frenchman hasn’t quite hit the goalscoring trail that was hoped when Pellegrini shelled out £45m on the striker from Eintracht Frankfurt, at least Moyes now knows how to use him properly. Haller plays best with a partner up there with him and while Pellegrini did do that once – and West Ham won that game – his preference for an extra midfielder often cost Haller. Now though, Moyes is seemingly more keen to use a front three of Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen alongside Haller. The striker has the help he needs up front now.
Under Pellegrini, the Hammers captain had next to no help in midfield as the Hammers were far too offensive, with Declan Rice having to do the jobs of three players sometimes as Noble floundered. But with Moyes and his more defensive tactics, not entirely defensive however, plus the crucial addition of Tomas Soucek on loan, has effectively freed up Noble. Soucek covered the most ground of any Hammers player in the Premier League era in just his second game for the club, something that Noble will appreciate more than anyone. But he finally has some help in central midfield, which is even better.
Moyes also brought in three new signings in January to bolster the squad and it had started to show signs of working with much improved displays in the three matches prior to the stoppage, which was nearly six weeks ago now.