The universe has a funny way of working things out.
West Ham sacked David Moyes to recruit Manuel Pellegrini in 2018, but have found themselves crawling back to the Scot just 18 months later after their latest experiment did not work out.
Moyes did not deserve to be sacked back then (well, or to just not have his contract renewed) but he is back now to take up his rightful place in the West Ham dugout.
Back in November 2017, when Moyes first took over at the club, West Ham found themselves in the relegation zone. The future looked bleak and they needed a miracle. Fortunately, Moyes brought exactly that.
His side ended up finishing 13th in the league, securing their safety in the division with two games to spare, but that still wasn’t enough to save his job.
“We feel that it is right to move in a different direction. We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters,” joint-chairman David Sullivan said at the time of his departure.
How’s that worked out for you?
They finished tenth last year and they are 17th this time around, just one point ahead of the relegation zone. Yet again, they have turned to Moyes to save the day.
Moyes has proven to know what West Ham need to bounce back. His side picked up nine wins and ten draws from 31 games, and they need something exactly like that this season as well.
He might not have Marko Arnautović or any of the other stars who helped steer West Ham to glory anymore, but this squad is actually better. Felipe Anderson, Sébastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko are more than capable of responding, while Declan Rice and Issa Diop can anchor the side defensively.
Just like he did back then, Moyes needs to put his arm around West Ham’s underperforming players and give them the motivation they need to improve. This side already has what it takes to compete for Europa League qualification – it’s just a case of getting there.
Moyes has 526 matches of Premier League experience, so he knows what it takes to get the job done in this league. He has done it before, and he can do it again.
He proved his tactical flexibility during his last spell at West Ham. His side played in a 3-4-2-1 formation which could easily switch during games, which had not been seen during Moyes’ early years.
He may not opt for the same formation this time around, but what that proves is Moyes is prepared to analyse his options and pick whatever is needed to get the job done. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
You have to wonder where West Ham might have been if they had just stuck with Moyes in the first place. His Everton side were perennial overachievers, and that could have been the Hammers. But here they are, floating around the relegation zone. Again.
“Everybody always thinks the grass is greener and there’s something better out there. I would say more often than not I bet you it’s proved wrong,” Moyes said in 2018.
Yeah, sounds about right.