Will West Ham live to regret their dry January? The Hammers stood still while Newcastle strengthened… now, boss David Moyes signals concern after losing ground in top four race
- West Ham didn’t make any additions to their squad in the latest transfer window
- Their form has dipped since and they only drew with Newcastle on Saturday
- Their chances of a top four finish appear to be slipping away after that result
- David Moyes has admitted that he is not happy with how his team is playing
Imagine. You set your alarm for 5am. You drive 300 miles to Stratford in the dregs of Storm Eunice. You get to the London Stadium in time for kick-off. You miss your team’s only goal.
Hundreds of Newcastle supporters had nipped out in a bid to beat the queues at the bars as we entered two minutes of added time at the end of the first half. Then they came streaming back in after hearing the eruption from those still in their seats.
Joe Willock cancelled out Craig Dawson’s opening goal and with that, West Ham’s hopes of a top-four finish suffered another setback. It’s looking increasingly unlikely they’ll be in those Champions League places come May.
David Moyes was disappointed with West Ham’s performance against Newcastle on Saturday
Just look at the table. There’s Manchester United above them and below them, Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves are chasing. If they win their games in hand, they’ll all go above West Ham. It’s not a favourable position to be in, and the jeers from the home fans at full time on Saturday contrasted the cheers from the Newcastle end. West Ham know if they want to finish fourth and join Europe’s elite, they should be winning these games.
Instead, they laboured to a draw with an uncharacteristic error from Declan Rice costing them dearly. The England man tried to head clear but instead sent the ball backwards to Willock, who equalised.
A worse defensive header will not be seen this season, and manager David Moyes didn’t try to hide or make excuses afterwards. He called out their performance for what it was — naff.
Declan Rice (R) made an uncharacteristic error for Newcastle’s equaliser in the first half
‘It is a long time since journalists talked about West Ham in a top-four chase,’ said Moyes (left), whose side face Wolves next. ‘We want to be that club and we enjoy the journalists talking about us in that way.
‘This was not a good performance. It was good we took a point because, on another day, maybe we would not have. But if we want to hang in with the big boys we have to win games like this.’
Describing the defending for the goal they conceded as like ‘Keystone Cops’, Moyes added: ‘I want us to get back to being a really good, exciting, front-foot team playing well.
‘I was thrilled to take a point because we didn’t play well. It was one of our poorer performances. Sometimes when it is not going well you need to make the most of it. We keep adding to the points tally, and hopefully it’s important at the end of the season. At the moment, I am scrapping a few here and there. I cannot say I am really enjoying it.’
Moyes may now be ruing the fact that West Ham did not sign any new players in January
Neither are the fans, judging by the groans at full time. It’s remarkable that, given the opportunity in front of them, West Ham didn’t make a signing in January.
That didn’t help Moyes who, unprompted, brought up the fact that he needs backing in the summer’s transfer window in his pre-match press conference.
As for Newcastle, they left pleased with a point. They were without Kieran Trippier and Allan Saint-Maximin, but they battled in their absence.
They’re now unbeaten in their last six Premier League games. Out of the relegation zone, things are looking up. ‘It was a really good response from the players,’ said boss Eddie Howe. ‘From the minute the game kicked off, we were really positive.’
Eddie Howe was pleased with his team’s display as Newcastle extended their unbeaten run
Howe hopes Saint-Maximin will be back for their next outing — another long trip for the supporters down south to Brentford this Saturday.
Newcastle hope they’ll be knocking on the top four’s door soon enough given the billions behind them. For now, they’ll settle for singing songs about others’ struggles.
‘Champions League, you’re having a laugh,’ their supporters sang at West Ham.
Moyes isn’t laughing. His club had a glorious chance in front of them but with only one win in their last five games, that’s slowly slipping away.