After improvements in recent weeks, West Ham now sit 11th in the Premier League but can they continue their good form throughout the rest of the season and head into the top 10?
West Ham are currently 5 games unbeaten in all competitions (W2 D3) and David Moyes seems to have worked the players hard in order to improve their attitude and application in games, which has had massive impacts on certain players. Marko Arnautovic and Arthur Masuaku in particular often appeared lethargic during games and both were consequently dropped from the team earlier on in the season.
Now their performances have both seen a complete revival. Both know exactly what their new roles are and what they have to do to help the team. Marko Arnautovic has found a new lease of life, becoming a striker.
The Austrian uses his strength to hold the ball up, allowing fellow team mates to join the attack. His speed and work-rate are desirable attributes and Premier League defenders in recent games have really struggled to cope with ‘Arnie’ as in the last 3 games he’s played, he has an impressive 3 goals and 3 assists.
Arthur Masuaku has cemented down his left wing-back role as part of a defensive five but usually joins the attack as a winger striding up and down the wing.
The 24-year-old has caught the eye of social media as well, with his skills and quick feet on the ball often deceiving opposition defenders, specifically his unbelievable trick to get round Serge Aurier and Heung-Min Son when drawing 1-1 with Tottenham earlier this month.
Just pointing out two improved players doesn’t give David Moyes and his work justice as in fact all of the starting 11 have become better players under the 54-year-old.
In their 4-1 away win over Huddersfield at the weekend, the defence was well organised, the midfield of Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate finally showed potential of working as they eased around the middle of the park. Then the attack led by Marko Arnautovic with Manuel Lanzini in behind was the stuff of dreams. The two combined twice as Lanzini profited from the brilliant build-up play by Arnautovic to bag two goals.
What do West Ham need to do to get into the top 10?
Although vast improvements have been made over the festive period and the new year, West Ham should still try to strengthen their squad this transfer window as numbers are very low, (only six subs named against Huddersfield of which three of those were aged under 19), and their is still an in balance of the squad following Bilic’s previous signings.
With plenty of rumours circulating about Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho leaving, the board will have to ensure replacements are in mind as potentially if all three left, West Ham would be without an “out and out” striker.
The midfield is still a big issue that needs addressing as too many times this season, Kouyate and Obiang have proven to be unreliable and so rumours of West Ham fan Jonjo Shelvey joining were brought to life.
Okay, Shelvey may not be the best midfielder in the world but what he would bring to West Ham is effort and desire. Someone who certainly isn’t afraid to stick their foot in but I’m positive in thinking the West Ham fans would eventually take to him if he was to join.
A new centre-back also could be a good option in the window. With Jose Fonte and James Collins both nearing the end of their careers, it would be wise to bring in a good replacement now that could be at the heart of the West Ham defence for years to come. Some fans would argue that the Hammers already have the young replacements for those two in Reece Oxford and Declan Rice.
At both 19, they have glowing reputations and hopefully they will be given time in the FA cup and even league matches for the remainder of the campaign.
As well as new signings off the pitch, on the pitch they need to continue the form they are in now. With the Premier League table so tight, separating teams by goal-difference or a matter of a few points, West Ham must not get complacent over their recent performances because in an instant, they could be back near the relegation zone. David Moyes has so far got his tactics spot on and the change to playing five defenders at the back has worked magnificently thus far. The team look well drilled and each individual knows their role in the team, which will be key if West Ham want to achieve a top 10 finish this season.
Without a doubt it is achievable with the squad David Moyes has at his disposal, it’s now down to the 11 players who start each week to get West Ham to where they belong.