The new manager bounce for West Ham hasn’t really arrived since David Moyes took over shortly before the turn of 2020 as Manuel Pellegrini was given the boot.
Since he returned to the club, the Hammers have picked up four points from a possible 12 in the Premier League and the win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Day now looks a long way in the rear-view mirror.
West Ham threatened to make a game of it in the second half at the King Power but make no mistake about it, Leicester City cantered to a 4-1 win which underlined their dominance for the extremely vast majority of the game.
West Ham were outfought, out thought, and outclassed.
Moyes got it wrong with his team selection in the first half and admitted as such by making two changes at half time and switching to a more traditional 4-4-2 from the 5-2-3-1 he used in the first.
Then again, there is only so much the manager can do with a team that is desperately and alarmingly lacking in any pace whatosever. A midfield three of Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Robert Snodgrass is about as slow as it gets in the Premier League and were completely no match for James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez.
There was an enormous oversight with this squad during the summer when too many players were let go and not sufficiently replaced. Whose fault that is, some say Pellegrini, many will say the board, is a debate that will continue the rage in the days and months ahead.
A positive? Michail Antonio coming back and showing what his team has been desperately missing as he ran about with purpose, pace, power, and gave the Leicester centre backs Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu at least something to think about.
But when he predictably ran out of gas after 20 minutes of the second half, the Foxes were back in control and the Hammers reverted to type.
Angelo Ogbonna’s clumsy challenge on Kelechi Iheanacho conceded the penalty for the third goal and no-one could seemingly be bothered to make a tackle or close down Perez to slot home the fourth of the evening late on.
These are very worrying times indeed for the club. They sit just one place outside the relegation zone and that’s only thanks to goal difference from Bournemouth and while Moyes believes he has improved the side since he got here, it’s yet to translate into results.
He needs his players to start hitting form, especially Manuel Lanzini who kept Pablo Fornals out of the side again before the manager realised the Spaniard was needed and brought him on for the second half.
But the last 20 minutes of the game were demoralising. The Hammers threatened to do something good and then it all fell apart, which sums up their season. Started it well enough, people were thinking Europe – now they’re in a relegation battle.
Never mind, it’s only a home game against Liverpool up next in the Premier League.