Following an underwhelming loss to Watford, West Ham’s new manager will surely need to find a win soon before the pressure starts to build.
Moyes saw first-hand on Sunday what most West Ham fans know only too well. The squad looks unbalanced and short of confidence. The job is not going to get any easier for the new man. A couple more losses followed by an extremely challenging December could lead to calls for his sacking before he’s even got through the chocolate in his advent calendar.
West Ham’s next two games are a home encounter with Leicester, and a mid-week visit to Everton. These games are then followed by an exceptionally challenging and public start to December. Moyes will play Manchester City at The Etihad, followed by home games against Chelsea and Arsenal. All three of these games are live on TV and will increase the exposure on the struggling Irons. Once these tough games, against the top sides, are over Moyes has the gruelling schedule of festive football to look forward to.
The matches against Leicester and Everton are vital, but also far from easy. Leicester, still have the bulk of their title winning team and have impressed at times this season despite a poor start. Their new manager Claude Puel also has good memories of the London Stadium. The Frenchman masterminded a superb 3-0 win for his Southampton side when they visited West Ham in September 2016. Puel’s Saints looked imperious that day and Bilic’s Irons couldn’t get near them.
Leicester’s players will also have good memories of the new stadium having won an exciting encounter there in March. Mahrez and Huth struck early to give The Foxes a 2-0 lead within the first seven minutes. West Ham fought back but a third goal by Vardy was enough to see his side over the line with a 3-2 victory. West Ham showed plenty of spirit and some promise, but Leicester tired late on having been involved in the Champions League that week.
Everton have also been struggling this season and are currently still without a manager. It might seem on the face of it that a trip to Goodison Park is Moyes’s best chance of opening his West Ham points account. Moyes’ return to Merseyside, however, could potentially see him come up against the man that defeated him in his first game in charge on Sunday.
Marco Silva has been tipped to get the vacant managerial position at Everton, providing Watford are willing to let him go. He has impressed in both his Premier League roles so far, and Everton will be desperate for a proven manager to help propel them back up the table. The Toffees have already shown some signs of improvement without a manager, so whether the home side have appointed a new manager or not it won't be an easy away trip for The Irons.
Moyes’ appointment did not come with universal approval from West Ham’s fan base, so he’s already low on credit. Protests from the away end at Watford and on social media show that much of the fan’s frustration is currently aimed at the West Ham board, but this could easily switch to the Scotsman. Further defeats followed by games against the top sides and a busy Christmas period will mean he’ll come under tremendous pressure early on in his reign. The next two games could be the most important in his fledgling West Ham career.
Are the next two games good opportunities? What do you make of his first set of fixtures? Let us know in the comments below!