It was clear how the fans felt as boos and Benrahma chants echoed loudly around the London Stadium as Moyes pulled the winger off at around the 60 minute mark against Palace last month. Said had scored our only goal in a match that we did not look up for, and it had been a rocket.
Yet again Moyes chose to bench Benrahma, as is his trademark move signaling an ill-placed frustration for players he doesn’t have faith in, which ended up possibly costing us the game. If Moyes was a master tactician West Ham fans would understand a substitution like that or when there’s a poor player performance, but Moyes’ removal of Benrahma did not come from a poor passage of play from Benny and we are now well aware that in-game management, substitutions, and tactics are not Moyes’ strengths.
Any substitution that David Moyes makes is usually a conservative move that makes him feel safe. It mostly involves a like-for-like, or a defensive set up, including a player he is fond of, such as Lanzini who is now more attuned at holding the ball than creativity.
He reverts to what he’s most comfortable with, and makes players work for longer minutes than fresh energy would demand. In David Moyes’ post-match interview, he made it known he was well aware of the fans displeasure and sarcastically referred to them as ‘experts’ indicating they did not have the knowledge to challenge his position.
He did let us know that Said was carrying a slight knock and had tape on his leg which the fanbase couldn’t see, but this doesn’t seem sufficient. In the same match he removed Scamacca at halftime for his conservative favourite in Antonio, also to the ire of the fans and detriment of the mentality of the player who is neither being used effectively or with purpose.
If Moyes were achieving results with his defence-first mentality and traditional methods, the club and fans would regret that he wasn’t capitalising on the money spent by the board this window, but they would still back him. West Ham fans want to see flair players, but we prefer graft and results. But now we aren’t given the opportunity to see either West Ham Way attacking play or results.
And being protective of our club, we don’t want our new signings to see us as a regret or potential other players to see us as having a small club mentality. We don’t want Declan to turn and leave, and we don’t want the 100 million pounds on the bench to depreciate.
After a loss to Crystal Palace and a more bitter loss to Championship-side Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup, there is a question mark hanging over Moyes’ head. Has he lost the dressing room? Was he only good for disciplining relegation squads and bringing them to strength, but does he falter with success and an increase in talented players?
What would Moyes have done if he had had a Payet or Di Canio in his teams? Would he have stifled them, or just forced them into playing roving striker roles that depended on pace and if they didnt work out he would have benched them?
Is Moyes stifling our current creative players from scoring, and is he counting on his Fellani-like player in Tomas Soucek to save him from his attacking droughts? All level-headed West Ham fans should give Moyes some loyalty and backing as he has twice saved us from relegation and given us two European campaigns.
His win record at this time last year was the highest of any previous managers, but we have now endured this slump. Hopefully in that time off from play, now that the World Cup is here, he can get new inspiration to change his ways, so that hopefully in December and the New Year he can approach his players and strategy with new excitement and a winning mentality.