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West Ham slump offers David Moyes contract dilemma as debate heats up

West Ham slump offers David Moyes contract dilemma as debate heats up

It never seems to take too much for the mood to change in east London, but West Ham’s dip in form since the turn of the year has certainly done the trick.

A 3-0 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday made it six matches without a win at the start of 2024 for a team that ended 2023 on such a high, with the flurry of showpiece victories either side of Christmas that had taken David Moyes’s side to their best-ever points tally at the halfway stage of a Premier League season.

Things have not exactly come off the rails since; even having been well-beaten at Old Trafford, the Irons have slipped only down to seventh, firmly in contention for Europe next season as they wait to start their knockout campaign this term.

But any sense of optimism eroding would be bad news for Moyes, who confirmed last week that he expects his new contract to be finalised now the January transfer window has closed.

David Moyes is expected to agree a contract extension with West Ham (Getty Images)
David Moyes is expected to agree a contract extension with West Ham (Getty Images)

The manager’s future remains a divisive issue among West Ham supporters, some of whom believe the Scot’s work is hugely underappreciated and others who feel that he has taken the club as far as he can.

Both are reasonable viewpoints, but the debate is one that has the potential to become increasingly fractious if set against the backdrop of an ailing season.

The bigger picture achievements are plain for all to see in the stabilising of a previously volatile club and the small matter of ending a 43-year trophy drought. In sharper focus, though, handing Moyes an extension just as the Hammers’s season feels in danger of petering out would not be a great look, and offer further fuel to the sceptics.

"Handing Moyes an extension just as West Ham's season feels in danger of petering out would not be a great look"

We are not at that stage yet and there have been extenuating circumstances for the New Year slump. Injuries and AFCON call-ups have hit hard, while the failure to sign a left-sided forward this month is a collective one shared by the club’s hierarchy, and not just Moyes.

It does not help that the one new arrival, Kalvin Phillips, has made a dreadful start, at fault for Alejandro Garnacho’s clinching third goal on Sunday having also gifted Bournemouth their opener in last Thursday night’s draw.

On the face of it, the visit of Arsenal next weekend does not exactly offer a straightforward route back to winning ways, but the Hammers have already beaten Mikel Arteta’s side twice this season, having also helped halt their title pursuit last term.

Complete a famous hat-trick and London Stadium sentiment would surely swing once more.