Let’s take a look at some of the primary causes of discussion from Friday night’s home draw to Leicester City, as we remained in the bottom three after our first point of November, but there were plenty of positives to draw on.
Moyes Marvels At London Stadium Atmosphere
New Hammers Boss David Moyes was first to praise The Claret & Blue Army after his first home game in charge, comparing it to Upton Park in his Post-match Press Conference, which MooreThanJustAClub was lucky enough to be at.
However, he was not the only one as hoards of fans and pundits described it as the best atmosphere that they had witnessed at The Ground, which we moved to from the aforementioned Boleyn Ground in summer 2016.
They were not wrong either as the Arena, which has been the subject of scrutiny for not having a loud enough ambience, was rocking at times with the fans getting behind the home side.
This came in contrast to last week’s Vicarage Road defeat, where anti-West Ham United Board chants could be heard from the away section, of which there was no sign of on Friday night.
Instead, an electric tirade of Hammers songs, encouragement and general cheers could be heard from all around the Stadium at various points in the affair.
And, there are no doubts that it contributed to our comeback from a goal down, but this kind of noise has been observed at The Arena before, in clashes such as last season’s home victories over both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at opposite ends of the campaign.
But, many believed that it was better than in those memorable wins and that the foundations have now been laid for Hammers to make The London Stadium a fortress after much uncertainty.
However, one thing is for sure, East London will certainly be rocking for the home visit of The Blues next month, can the fans inspire their team to a first London Derby victory of the season?
Kouyate Avenges Missed Chances To Equal Record
Having squandered more than one golden opportunity in last weekend’s away defeat at the hands of Watford, there is no doubt that Cheikhou Kouyate was on a mission to make up for the misses at home and that’s exactly what he did in the draw.
With half-time soon approaching, and The Hammers still behind through an early Marc Albrighton finish, the Senegal Skipper rose to head home a Manuel Lanzini corner into the back of the net.
There was nothing that either keeper Kasper Schmeichel or defender Danny Simpson could do to stop it, and Kouyate finally had his second goal of the season, one that eventually saved us from defeat.
However, the header meant much more than that for the African for one reason, and that was, of course, it made him the joint-highest scorer at The London Stadium.
Kouyate is tied Lanzini on six goals at our relatively new home, a very impressive feat indeed for a player that traditionally features in the defensive part of midfield or indeed the back four.
But, long may Kouyate’s goal-scoring knack continue, shutting up his critics of last week with a vital Premier League goal, one that he will hope to replicate on Wednesday night when Everton will be the opposition.
Man Of The Match Arnautovic Lauded For Hard Work
One of the true disappointments of this calamitous campaign thus far has surely been the slow start to life in Claret & Blue made by Austrian club-record signing Marko Arnautovic.
However, that all changed on Friday Night Football as the winger put in what was surely his best performance in a West Ham United Shirt thus far to earn plaudits from all angles.
Such a contrast to previous performances, Arnautovic was the focal point of most attacks, delivering many a high-quality cross from his operational area on the right flank.
He also tracked back to help out with the defensive operation on more than one occasion, even managing to stop Jamie Vardy from finishing past Joe Hart in a one-on-one situation early in the first-half.
In doing so, Arnautovic picked up the Hammer of the Match award and was one of the best players on the pitch from both sides by a distance, despite having to be substituted to a standing ovation on 69 minutes after pulling up with a knock.
His attitude and performance epitomised that of the whole team, who unlike under Slaven Bilic, were able to fight back from a tricky spot in a game and looked as though they had a plan B to deal with the early Foxes pressure well.
This, much like Arnautovic’s new found form, is believed to be an installation of Moyes and his Coaching Staff, who have reportedly put the players through double training in their first two weeks, which looks to be eventually paying off.
Although Friday’s result wasn’t the one that was needed, fans will be hoping that the Claret & Blue stars can show more of the same on Wednesday evening but with a larger impact on the outcome, but can our Hammers emerge from Merseyside victorious?
What Did The Managers Have To Say?
It’s now time to finish by hearing both Manager’s reaction in their Post-match Pressers at The London Stadium.
“I thought that we were a little bit unlucky to go a goal behind, I don’t know if Leicester had been in our box prior to that”.
“I think it was character that we showed because it could have easily gone under for us at that point, we kept digging in, I thought that we didn’t lay as well as we should have in the first-half, but we warranted to be at least drawing at half-time”.
“The second-half was much more like us, not just much more like us but much more like the crowd, it was more like Upton Park for me, there was a period where the crowd were right behind the team”.
“There are bits that we are still going to have to do loads and loads better, but I have to say we are trying to the basics as best we can, but that should be a given. We had some good play, but we could have had some moments of even better play”.
“A draw away is always interesting but I think it’s a little bit of frustration after our very good first-half”.
“Obviously now at the end, it’s a draw, like our game against Stoke, for example, it’s the same thing, we were leading and at the end, it was a draw 2-2”.
“We have to find the clinical edge, we had a lot of chances in the first-half I think, and we had to kill this game after the first-half”.
“The first-half we are delighted with for the future, with quality, with good moves and it was a pity, that we went without scoring another goal in the first-half”.
So, now that we have covered everything that needed to be looked at from Friday’s positive stalemate with The Foxes, will there be yet more pluses to discuss come Wednesday night? After our tricky trip to face David Unsworth’s Toffees.