Hope everyone is safe and well.
Continuing my series of past games looks at the end of season victory against Everton that was also James Collins, Ginger Pele, last game for the Hammers in an emotional end to a difficult year for the club. This was the last game of the season that saw the Hammers move up to finish 13th in the Premier League and saw David Moyes bring the team out of the relegation zone to finish 9 points above relegated Swansea in 18th.
Moyes had replaced Slaven Bilic to take charge of West Ham in November on a six month deal with the team in the bottom 3, played against his old club Everton, managed by Sam Allardyce who has also previously managed the Hammers. Neither manager was certain about remaining in their current jobs once the season finishes but given the work that Moyes had done at the club at the time under difficult circumstance, and what we now know about the progress West Ham made under incoming Manual Pellegrini, it is interesting to see where we are in the 2021 season under Moyes now.
For the match Everton were poor as West Ham we bright with excellent performances from Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, who both got on the score sheet to seal a 3-1 victory and take 7 points from the last 3 games. This was the first home victory for West Ham against Everton since 2007 and showed the progress the team had made since Moyes took over in November.
Evertonians had been critical of Sam’s reign in the recent weeks and this result would have added to their frustration, especially given how the team set up in the first half that allowed Arnie to cause their defensive four so much trouble. Moyes had moved Arnie from the wing to play up front and the difference had been telling throughout the second half of the season.
“Maybe he wasn’t doing as much and tracking back on the wing,” said Moyes before Sunday’s win. “He’s been a sensation up front, he’s been playing as well as most strikers.” Arnie’s consistency and 11 goals had helped West Ham pull away from the relegation zone to safety. Arnie underwhelmed at Stoke but Moyes had managed to get the best out of him when the team needed it most.
A turbulent campaign ended on a high as Lanzini gave the Hammers a lead at half time, with Arnie thumping in a second as he rolled passed Keane to strike beyond Pickford. With a tactical change in the second half where Everton, switched to three at the back, looked more competitive but were only able to grab a consolation goal from the substitute Oumar Niasse who managed to bundle home from a cross 16 minutes before time. Lanzini curled a brilliant shot passed the diving Jordan Pickford who failed to get a strong enough hand to the ball to seal the end of season victory for his second goal of the game.
Manuel Lanzini had been directly involved in 11 Premier League goals for the 2018 season (five goals, six assists), his best figures in an English top-flight campaign at the time.
West Ham defender Collins, replaced Creswell for the closing minutes of the game and received a standing ovation from the stands, wept at the final whistle as his 10 years and 2 spells at the club came to an end. Celebrations continued as the team returned to the pitch for a lap of honour with their families as many fans stayed behind to show appreciation for the players, a marked upbeat atmosphere than there had been at times throughout the season.
Moyes, who hinted his preference was to stay, said: “Everybody always thinks the grass is greener and there’s something better out there. I would say more often than not I bet you it’s proved wrong.
“We’ve shown we’re trying to improve. I don’t know if anybody can come and make that big a difference in six months. Even Pep Guardiola took a bit of time to get his team right.
“I’d think you’d need to give a bit longer. But every manager now is in transit. I don’t think there is a long period.”
Moyes ended with a light touch, joking that he can relax now that he is out of contract. “I’ll take my suit off at midnight, undo my tie a little bit, be back on the streets come midnight,” he said.
Enjoy the photos from the match.