To say David Moyes has had an instrumental impact on West Ham’s season would be a bit of an understatement. From his twelve Premier League fixtures in charge, the Irons have taken seven more points, scored seven more goals and conceded five goals less than they managed in their eleven games under Slaven Bilic at the start of the season. But more than mere statistics, the biggest positive is how the quality of football has vastly improved at both ends of the pitch – largely because Moyes is getting the absolute best out of West Ham’s most talented players.
And with no duo does that ring truer than Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini, West Ham’s biggest offensive and biggest creative threats respectively. Under Bilic, the pair found just one assist and not a single Premier League goal between them from a combined 13 outings. From their 22 with Moyes at the helm, on the other hand, they’ve netted eight times and laid on the same number of assists.
With Andy Carroll absent through injury, Arnautovic and Lanzini found themselves directly combining to great effect as a front two against Huddersfield on Saturday, in a performance that goes down as West Ham’s deadliest and most convincing yet during Moyes’ tutelage. Albeit capitalising on some criminal defending from David Wagner’s side, the Austrian and the Argentine bagged three goals and two assists, while taking five shots at goal, creating six chances and completing a whopping eight dribbles.
It was a fine counter-attacking performance from Arnautovic and Lanzini, but also one that highlighted the drastic improvements West Ham’s playing personnel have made since Moyes took charge. Back in October, Arnautovic was being lamented as the biggest flop of the season and Lanzini was struggling to produce consistently; now they’re arguably the most frightening double-act in the bottom half.