The last time Manchester City lost in the Carabao Cup, Barack Obama was president of the United States. Europe was recently reeling from the UK’s decision to leave. Leicester City were the reigning Premier League champions.
Then West Ham appeared. The David Moyes boys, or the ‘Backstreet Moyes’ as Michail Antonio likes to call this merry band of brothers, are now one step closer to winning their first trophy together.
They are thriving in the Premier League, flying in the Europa League and are now in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Here, Sportsmail take a look at some of the reasons behind his clever start to the season.
West Ham celebrate their penalty shootout win over Manchester City on Wednesday night
West Ham are currently the set pieces specialists in the English game. Since the start of last season, they have scored in 21 such venues in the Premier League.
That’s in large part thanks to Aaron Cresswell, who spends a lot of time practicing his delivery in boot camp. He works on the two Ps (rhythm and precision) and there is no one better to do it right now.
If you look at the West Ham winners against Tottenham and Everton, both from the corners, you will see similarities. Like Declan Rice running to the near post. That distracts the rest. Both times, the ball flew behind him and was buried by a teammate. They have Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, Tomas Soucek and more who know how to take on those Cresswell balls.
Being clinical from set pieces is a weapon. They are a great source of goals.
Aaron Cresswell’s delivery to set pieces is a major weapon for West Ham this season
NEW MICHY ROUTINE
He is a good conversationalist is Michail Antonio. He doesn’t just recite the cliches when he talks to the media and talks about giving “110 percent to the team.” In fact, it gives insightful answers.
“I have realized that I am not the puppy that I used to be,” said Antonio, 31, after scoring the winning goal against Tottenham.
At the start of this season, there were concerns that West Ham had only Antonio at the helm, given the forward’s history of trouble. They wanted to hire someone, but they didn’t get it.
And yet Antonio has been very dependable this season. What has changed? “He used to eat what he wanted,” Antonio said. ‘He was not the best to eat. Now I have changed my diet and my life routine. I have noticed that since changing my diet I have had less discomfort and have not felt my hamstrings at all. ‘
Moyes also handles Antonio well. He rested against Genk in the Europa League and against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. West Ham won both, and now their starting forward will return for Aston Villa this weekend.
Star forward Michail Antonio revealed that he keeps fit by improving his diet
JESSE COULD RETURN
When Jesse Lingard was on loan at West Ham last season, the camaraderie was off the charts. Now back at Manchester United, he is still in touch with his former teammates. He and Declan Rice became particularly close.
Moyes is eager to add in January. He recently said that he would love to find “another Jesse Lingard.” It’s not out of the realm of possibility for West Ham to get the man himself. They definitely see themselves at the front of the queue in case it’s available.
Lingard begins each season with goals for goal, assist and sprint. It’s hard to beat the substitutes at Old Trafford. The England international is expected to be interested in a move in January.
Jesse Lingard (center) could be in line to return to West Ham as he fights for playing time
THE EURO 2020 PARTY CONTINUES
West Ham made its mark at Euro 2020 in the summer. Rice came of age, starting all seven matches when England finished runner-up behind Italy.
Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal also started every match for the Czech Republic en route to the quarterfinals, and Andriy Yarmolenko started every match for Ukraine when they reached the same stage.
That tournament gave these players great faith and they have carried their confidence into the current season.
Soucek has yet to score in the Premier League as he hasn’t rekindled the same fierce form from last season, but that’s partly because he’s sitting deep to allow Rice to attack more. They are the best association in midfield: if one advances, the other feels like a cover.
Declan Rice is one of the few England players who has not dropped in form after Euro 2020
HOME SWEET HOME
London Stadium feels more like home than ever, and not just because of those light shows that kick off every Europa League game.
There is a sense that West Ham players are enjoying playing on this field, and it is only natural for the fans to take the lead from those on the field.
The stadium has been outfitted with all manner of tributes to its glorious past, including a statue celebrating its 1965 Recopa de Europa.
And now it is planned to expand to a capacity of 62,500. That will see them surpass Arsenal’s 60,704 to become the third largest field in England.
London’s stadium finally feels like a fortress for West Ham after years of unrest
Last but not least, let’s talk about Moyes.
West Ham coach Stuart Pearce says the coach “runs” the club on a daily basis. He is behind everything they do. He sets the training schedule, makes the big decisions, and is always chatting with the players, who like him. Moyes has instilled a true sense of faith, but he’s not getting ahead of himself.
This coach on the brink of his 1,000th game in football management says he simply wants the club to be competitive in the Premier League and even in Europe after Christmas. Once they have succeeded, you will readjust your goal. However, a trophy would underline this wonderful rise West Ham is on.
David Moyes has converted West Ham from a relegation-fighting team to one of the top six