Fortune was still hiding but West Ham United didn’t need it as they recorded a crucial 3-2 win over Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Read: Joe Cole name checks future West Ham great but club are willing to sell

West Ham could have been forgiven for feeling sorry for themselves after VAR once again controversially went against the Hammers.

But there was something different about West Ham last night.

The team looked hungry, determined and organised. All the things you expect from a David Moyes side.

But they finally married that with some decent football and it resulted in a thoroughly deserved 3-2 win which has completely changed the complexion of the relegation battle.

Photo by Michael Regan Getty Images

West Ham’s season-defining win?

The result moves West Ham up to 16th, three points ahead of the relegation zone with six games to play.

But the cushion is effectively four points given West Ham’s superior goal difference.

So what has changed from the disconcerting performances against Wolves and Tottenham that saw West Ham fans calling for Moyes to be sacked?

Some clubs get stuck in a rut during a relegation battle and sleepwalk their way to the Championship.

But sometimes it takes a pivotal moment to wake everyone up to the situation.

And it seems a massive U-turn from Moyes on the eve of the Chelsea win was the moment which may have seen the penny drop for West Ham’s squad.

When Moyes returned to West Ham at the beginning of the year he insisted the job would be easier this time around as the club had built a better squad.


Did major Moyes U-turn spark West Ham back into life?

“I do believe that the squad of players I’ve got here is a better squad of players than when I took over before, so I am looking forward to working with them,” Moyes said bullishly on returning (The Guardian).

“We have some really good attacking players but we have some work to do to stop conceding goals which I will enjoy fixing.”

A dismal run of form since uttering those words saw West Ham win just twice in 12 Premier League games.

Big question marks were being raised about Moyes since the restart.

Some fans even called for Sam Allardyce’s return to keep the club up.

So Moyes – through honesty or design (or perhaps a bit of both) – flipped the script on the eve of the Chelsea game and performed a major U-turn which put the onus back on the players.

After weeks of telling everyone his players were working hard, trying their best and not playing as badly as results suggest, Moyes laid it on the line and then some.

And the Scot went back on his earlier claims of having a better squad by reassessing that the West Ham job is actually tougher this time around.

“If somebody asked me now where I thought we were going to finish, I’d say you’ll probably have to wait until the last day of the season to see how it goes,” Moyes candidly told The Evening Standard.

Photo by Rob Newell CameraSport via Getty Images

‘I see this as tougher than last time… they’re going to have to up their game’

“I had a similar position the last time I was here. But I see this one as a much tougher fight at the bottom of the league than I did at that time.

“Are we pleased we’re not in the bottom three? Of course we are. But we know that unless we win, we will be. It’s down to us to win. I get the opportunity to give them the chance to show they can do it and they have to do it,” Moyes said. “If I’m not seeing it, I won’t use them…

“They’re more than capable of doing it, but when they get on the field, they’re going to have to up their game, show how to get goals and do it a bit better.”

It is no coincidence that West Ham’s players suddenly looked alive to the very real danger of relegation last night.

Sometimes in these situations it takes for a crowd to turn for the penny to drop with a team.

But given games are being played behind closed doors that was not on the cards for West Ham this season.

Moyes has used all of his experience to spark some life into his team.

Now he must ensure it was not a flash in the pan.

Read: Insider denies West Ham takeover report but it comes with encouraging caveat

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

More in Columnist