David Moyes proclaimed “the new West Ham” after we defeated Burnley to move within three points of the Champions League places.
Michail Antonio’s ninth-minute strike was all it needed to see off a Clarets side lacking a cutting edge at London Stadium.
The 30-year-old forward, who coming into the game had only made four appearances since October because of hamstring problems, slotted home Pablo Fornals’ cross.
For Moyes, this second stint as our manager began with him pulling the club out of relegation trouble last season and he now has his team within touching distance of the European places.
“We’re not the old West Ham any more, we’re the new West Ham, and we’re going to try to become even better. It needs time and there will be periods when it’s not going so well. There’ll be periods when it is, but we’re certainly not settling for where we are. We are pleased with [keeping four successive clean sheets] because I don’t think you win games without them. You always have a chance of picking up a point if you don’t concede a goal, and that was very good.”David Moyes
We were the greater attacking threat, and also went close when Angelo Ogbonna’s header came off the post before Antonio’s effort was cleared off the line by Ben Mee.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley never really got going as an attacking force, although they improved marginally after the break following Dwight McNeil’s introduction. The midfielder produced a cross that came off the bar while Mee sent a header a foot wide.
But Moyes’ version of the ‘West Ham way’ seems to be doing the trick at the moment.
We have 10 more points than we did at this stage last season, and have scored six more goals. The manager likened himself to a headteacher this week, stating his side ‘must do better’, but many will think his players have already surpassed pre-season expectations.
Key to this healthier return has been the addition of creative and goalscoring midfielders such as Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek, who have become vital cogs in the side a year after signing, while Said Benrahma appears to be gradually rediscovering his Brentford form.
Winger Bowen, who cost £18m, has an incredible engine and against the Clarets appeared to act as a second striker to Antonio because of the amount of times he found himself in the area. It was his good work on the left of the area which allowed Fornals to provide the cross for the opener.
Antonio, 30, was already important to Moyes and is now even more so after the Sebastien Haller experiment failed. The former winger scored a glut of goals towards the end of last season and began this campaign well before hamstring injuries hampered his progress.
He kept his cool for his goal when Burnley’s defenders did not and later saw a header cleared off the line. If he can stay fit for the rest of the season then expect a glowing end-of-term report from Moyes.