West Ham United are loving life under David Moyes.
It was only 18 months ago that the Irons were staring down at the prospect of relegation but with one game to spare, the Scotsman steered the sinking east Londoners to safety.
Fast forward to now, the Hammers are in a healthy position, perhaps their strongest-ever, at least in recent years.
They have qualified for the Europa League knockout stages and sit third in the Premier League after a stunning 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, putting them tied on points with defending champions Manchester City and above the Reds as well as United.
And it hasn’t been easy.
West Ham no longer have the services of Jesse Lingard, Michail Antonio has served time on the sidelines through suspension, whilst Moyes has been dealt with numerous injury problems, the latest being Angelo Ogbonna’s devastating ACL tear picked up in that aforementioned win.
Similarly, first-choice Vladimir Coufal has endured a stint on the treatment table but in his absence, young Chadwell Heath academy graduate Ben Johnson has deputised so superbly that he may well have usurped the Czech Republic international in the pecking order.
The 21-year-old gem has started each of the Irons’ last four league games, in which they’ve recorded four successive wins, including results against Spurs and Everton, too, whilst he even scored against Aston Villa. He was also part of the starting XI for their Carabao Cup wins over United and holders City.
In fact, six of his eight appearances this term have seen Moyes’ side keep a clean sheet, so he’s proving to be an influential player.
“He’s a bit of utility player for us, he’s been here for a while,” claimed the Scotsman, via football.london. “He’s a really important player for us. In the squad and the group he’s really important. Quite often we’ve brought him on and used him in different roles and he’s had a chance to have some games under his belt, he’s not let us down and scored a good goal in midweek.”
Johnson’s form has seen him rank as West Ham’s fourth-best performer on the season with an average WhoScored rating of 7.18, with only Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio rating higher.
No player is managing more tackles per game (three), whilst he ranks second in the squad behind Rice for interceptions per game (1.6), too.
On that evidence, he’s going to be a hard man to take out of the starting XI and as such, Moyes and the Hammers may have struck gold over his emergence.