West Ham United manager David Moyes has encouraged fans of the club to get behind the team in order to make it difficult for Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions Manchester City when they travel to London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Fresh from last Sunday’s heavy loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, the Hammers go into the clash just six points above the bottom three and could be even closer to it come kick-off time in East London.
Moyes drew comparisons with last month’s home win over Southampton when stating what he wanted to see from supporters at London Stadium this weekend, a game that ended 3-0 to the Irons thanks to goals from Joao Mario and recent-crowned Hammer of the Year Marko Arnautovic.
The Scotsman was talking to host and Hammers legend Alvin Martin on-stage at Wednesday night’s West Ham United Player Awards brought to you by Betway and in aid if the Academy in the Intercontinental London – The O2 Hotel’s Arora Ballroom.
“On the day against Southampton, I thought the supporters were right there for us and supporters understand when they’re really needed, and they understood how much they were needed on that day, just like we’re going to need them in the next three home games.”
“We’re going to need 60,000 people helping us to make sure we get over the line and we get in the right place,” announced the former Everton and Manchester United gaffer.
“I want my team to play much better in games and to continue to improve. We had the disappointing day against Burnley, when it affected the players, so to play as well as we did against Southampton, it showed what it meant to them and we bounced right back.
“We had a brilliant first half and I think that day was a really important day, not only for the players but also for the club as well. From that, the players have grown as well, with more confidence and more self-belief. We’re playing well at the moment and hopefully, they continue to do that.”
The East Londoners have four remaining matches to secure their survival in the English Top-Flight for another season from 15th position and do have a game-in-hand on some of those around them.
However, that spare match is against Moyes’ old team the Red Devils and with Sunday’s fearsome encounter with the Sky Blues, who have only lost twice in the PL all campaign, it means that two of their closing-four matchups are against sides in the league’s top two.
The other two come against outfits just above the club’s current position, a journey to the King Power Stadium next Saturday afternoon and then a final day clash with former boss Sam Allardyce and his Toffees team.
Two weeks after securing the title, Guardiola’s men are expected to prove a formidable opponent for the side from East London as they chase all kinds of Premier League records.
Some of these include the highest points’ tally for a single season which belongs to Chelsea on 95, the Manchester club would only need to win half of their remaining games to achieve that.
Furthermore, they need a mere six goals over the term’s conclusion to take another record off the Blues, the most goals in a PL season, there are also many other accolades that they are also chasing.
If they didn’t have enough of it anyway, Blue Moon will also take confidence from the two results they managed to forge in Stratford last season, against Slaven Bilic’s West Ham.
Guardiola’s outfit smashed the home side 0-5 in the third-round of the Emirates FA Cup before adding a 0-4 league romp under a month later, an aggregate score of 0-9 so far which they will be looking to build on this time around.
But, the scoreline wasn’t so much of a landslide the last time that this pair met back in December 2017 when the Citizens required two late goals from Nicolas Otamendi and Davis Silva for a 2-1 triumph after Angelo Ogbonna had put the visitors ahead.
That result was the start of a run for the Hammers under Moyes that saw them climb the table and get out of danger, while Man City would win 17 of their next 19 games to race to securing the trophy with five games to go.
It’s no secret that the champions will be the clear favourites on paper going into the matchup, but Moyes clearly feels like his team’s unique supporters can intimidate the away side and contribute to a giant-killing at the former Olympic Stadium.
“I draw comparisons to Glasgow, as Glasgow is probably similar to the East End of London in many ways, as supporters are tough, rough, know exactly what they want and let you know when it’s not going well.
“When you’ve been in cities like Glasgow and Liverpool and at passionate football clubs, coming to West Ham, you know exactly what you’re getting.”
The ex-Celtic star continued, “When you used to come to Upton Park, you knew exactly what you were getting over the years and I don’t think that’s changed.”
Moyes has been complimentary of the Irons’ faithful and the atmosphere they’ve been able to create at the much-maligned London Stadium ever since he took over from Bilic back in November.
His home record as boss has mirrored this and been impressive, with West Ham only slipping to two home losses in his time, a festive defeat to Newcastle United and the aforementioned loss to the Clarets.
An impressive victory over reigning champions Chelsea in early December, a draw with sixth-placed Arsenal and emphatic wins against Watford and the beforementioned Saints have all been home highlights thus far for Moyes and his players.
However, with the help of their stake home record and support of the Claret & Blue Army, will Moyes’ boys have what it takes to join Liverpool and United as the only teams to beat the Blue Moon in the league this campaign? Or, will the visitors to the capital emphatically crush any suggestion of an upset?
You can find out with us right here on West Ham Matters as we bring you a Live Blog of the pivotal Sunday afternoon affair, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction, live from the London Stadium Press Box and starting at 12:15 PM BST.