The 2020/21 season was predicted to be one of struggle for West Ham.
Transfer dealings were few and far between, staying in the division had only just been secured the season before and manager David Moyes had it all to prove in terms of whether he was really the right man to deliver on his bold promises of a bright future.
Surprisingly, for many, Moyes came good pretty quickly and reminded us he’s actually a good manager, capable of getting his teams to play pretty attractive stuff while picking up regular chunks of three points. Even he may have been surprised though to see West Ham charge into Champions League and Europa League qualification contention, with a little – or a lot of – help from a blossoming Czech Republic bromance.
Quite the journey for Moyes and his players, and quite the repertoire of impressive wins picked up along the way. Here are the best ones, ranked by how bloomin’ good they were.
Date: 21st February, 2021
Venue: London Stadium
The actual performance in beating Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham wasn’t that impressive, but scratch beneath the surface and you appreciate how important it was for West Ham to get one over one of their biggest rivals.
Not only did victory dent Spurs’ own Champions League ambitions, but this was a game where the Hammers would usually roll over for a cheeky belly rub before allowing Son Heung-min and Harry Kane to do their absolute worst.
Instead, Jesse Lingard was the name on everybody’s lips come full time, as was that celebration.
Date: 11th January, 2021
Venue: Edgeley Park
You’re probably wondering why an FA Cup third round tie against non-league Stockport is deemed to be so good?
Well, those who know their West Ham history are all too aware that the club are well versed to being the victim of a devastatingly embarrassing cup upset, usually under the lights in crappy weather and on sh*tty pitches.
The scene was set for more of the same at Stockport, but Craig Dawson – the modern day Franz Beckenabuer – decided sod that, let’s win it here and now. So he did.
Date: 11th December, 2020
Venue: Elland Road
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are the most entertaining club in the country bar none, with any match involving them averaging around 457 shots on goal.
But coming up against Moyes’ boys in December, the Whites couldn’t really get going – even though they were gifted an early lead thanks to a re-taken penalty kick.
After that, West Ham showed what they were made of to battle back to earn all three points – even Sebastien Haller looked good on this particular night!
Date: 26th January, 2021
Venue: Selhurst Park
At the start of 2021, West Ham were borderline unstoppable.
Okay, it wasn’t Manchester City levels of unstoppable, but Moyesiah had led the club to five successive wins to start the calendar year – a feat that had never been achieved in the club’s history.
If the Hammers were feeling the pressure to extend that run, they didn’t show it at Crystal Palace – Tomas Soucek bagging a lovely brace before Beckenbauer delivered the goods again.
Date: 27th September, 2020
Venue: London Stadium
Rewind the clock four months and West Ham’s season was looking quite grim.
Defeat on the opening day against Newcastle was complemented by one of the worst performances of modern times, before defeat at Arsenal – as per – made it two losses from two.
That made West Ham’s banging 4-0 win over Wolves in their third game of the season all the more remarkable, because literally nobody expected it. Little did anyone know what was to follow…
Date: 3rd February, 2021
Venue: Villa Park
West Ham’s performances on the road had been pretty good throughout the early months of the season, but fresh impetus was needed once the club allowed Haller to depart for Ajax in January.
Enter, Jesse Lingard.
With a point to prove, the on-loan Manchester United star strode into the Midlands with unreal levels of Wayne Lineker swag and stole the show with a match-winning brace in a brilliant 3-1 win for West Ham.
London > Manchester.
Date: 4th October, 2020
Venue: King Power Stadium
A week after picking up that stonking early season victory over Wolves, West Ham were on the sauce again as they carved apart Leicester at King Power Stadium.
You know, good football team Leicester, who are perennial challengers for Champions League football these days.
In any event, as good as the Foxes may be on their best day, they were absolutely no match for Moyes’ brigade on a lovely autumnal afternoon – and a commanding win was made all the sweeter by a filthy piece of control from Pablo Fornals in the lead up to his well-taken goal.