David Moyes risk vs Dinamo Zagreb will make-or-break West Ham's season
David Moyes oversaw a very encouraging 2-0 West Ham win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday. The Scot took a risk, however, that will define the Hammers’ season.
West Ham enjoyed a wonderful campaign last season as they finished sixth in the Premier League. This time around will be different, though.
There’s now the prospect of European football to contend with and it’s one that can cause teams to become unstuck. There’s less time to prepare for weekend games, players are more tired, and it’s tougher to find good rhythm.
That sometimes leads to teams writing off European competition and focusing entirely on the league. They play weak teams and any midweek wins are simply a bonus.
West Ham have taken an entirely different approach. David Moyes went with a near-full strength lineup against Dinamo Zagreb, resting just a couple of attacking players.
And that’s a risk that could make or break their season.
David Moyes vs Dinamo Zagreb
Moyes handed a debut to Nikola Vlasic against Dinamo and brought in Manuel Lanzini. He also switched his centre-backs but that was it as far as changes. West Ham were full-strength, otherwise.
This is undoubtedly a risk, though. Will the team be at their best for the weekend when they host Manchester United? Probably not. That game is tougher than it could have been.
And that will be the problem with playing strong teams in the Europa League – lesser performances in the Premier League.
But there’s potentially a great benefit. West Ham got a really good win here that puts them in a strong position to win their group. Another couple of wins like that and Moyes can afford to take things easier in the last group games.
That, in turn, allows more focus on the Premier League again. This is undoubtedly the big hope.
The risk is that West Ham don’t win these games, struggle to balance their squad, and play catch-up for the rest of the season. But with their team looking as good as it does, we’ll back Moyes to get this right.