David Moyes

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PL Sunday preview: Wayward Watford welcome woeful West Ham

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In a reversal of roles, based on preseason projections at least, Watford welcome West Ham United to Vicarage Road on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for a clash of mid-table climbers and relegation fighters, respectively.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Man Utd, Chelsea win big… so do Man City ]

Watford began the 2017-18 Premier League season in fine form, winning four of their first eight games and losing just one (to runaway leaders Manchester City, no less). In their last three games, however, the Hornets have conceded eight goals, while scoring just four themselves, and winning zero points. Coincidentally — nor not, perhaps — that three-game slide began at the same time Watford manager Marco Silva‘s name was linked with the vacant manager’s job at Everton. With Ronald Koeman fired almost four weeks ago now, Watford have rejected approach after approach from Everton owner Farhad Moshiri. Silva, for his first three months of efforts, has been roundly praised by the club’s supporters and players alike.

“Everybody could see he changed a lot of things in the team. We had quite a lot of the same players but we improved a lot,” defender Christian Kabasele said this week. “When you have somebody like this and other teams are looking for him it’s important that Watford try to do everything possible to keep him.”

West Ham, meanwhile, started the season poorly and have remained equally so in recent weeks. Slaven Bilic was subsequently fired two weeks and succeeded by David Moyes, who had been out of a job since guiding Sunderland to relegation at the end of last season. Sunday’s bout with Watford will see Moyes make his debut for West Ham, the fourth club to employ him since leaving Everton four and a half years ago. To make matters more difficult, the Hammers’ leading scorer, Javier Hernandez (4 goals), won’t be available after picking up an injury on international duty.

“It’s a clean slate for the entire squad,” Moyes said last week. “They’ve all worked very hard this week and responded in a positive manner to everything we’ve asked of them. It will obviously take time for the players to fully understand our style and methods but the initial signs are very encouraging — they’ve bought in what we are trying to do and that’s a good base for us to build on.”

INJURIES: Watford — OUT: Troy Deeney (suspension), Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Isaac Success (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Sebastian Prodl (hamstring), Roberto Pereyra (hamstring) | West Ham — OUT: Javier Hernandez (hamstring), James Collins (ankle), Sam Byram (thigh), Jose Fonte (foot); QUESTIONABLE: Michail Antonio (ribs)

Moyes: Chicharito could miss two weeks with hamstring strain

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David Moyes has given Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assurances that he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Hammers, but the Mexican international will have to wait a bit for a chance.

[ MORE: North London Derby takes center stage Saturday morning ]

Hernandez, 29, is currently nursing a hamstring strain, leaving his status for this weekend against Watford in doubt.

“I think everyone knows he [Chicharito] has got a hamstring injury,” Moyes said during Friday’s press conference. “It could take a week, it could take two weeks.”

Moyes didn’t mince words recently when speaking about Chicharito and other players within the squad, essentially pointing out that no player will be awarded a starting role simply because of their stardom.

Hernandez has scored four goals in 13 matches this season for West Ham, who currently sits 18th in the Premier League. The Hammers have won just two matches to start the 2017/18 campaign and sit on nine points.

Moyes promises Chicharito he’ll play him this time around

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Don’t worry, Chicharito, I know I didn’t play you all that much when I was your manager at Manchester United, but this time, at West Ham, will be totally different. I promise.

[ MORE: Switzerland qualify for World Cup | Croatia join them ]

The above fictitious quote is merely the exaggerated response of brand new West Ham United manager David Moyes when asked whether or not Javier Hernandez has a future at the club, considering each of their struggles at Man United during the 2013-14 season (Moyes was fired before the end of his first season; Hernandez scored just four Premier League goals).

Of course, Moyes quickly reverted to coach speak and insisted Hernandez will have to earn his opportunities on the training field and by bagging goals on the weekend. A quick look at Moyes’ options at striker, however, reveals the bright side: Hernandez’s place seems quite safe — quotes from the Guardian:

“He’s a top goalscorer, a brilliant finisher. It was difficult for him at United because I had Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, so there was lots of competition. But he’ll be treated the same here — if he’s playing well and scoring, no problems. If he’s not, it will be the same as the rest.”

On the other hand, Hernandez suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty for Mexico this weekend and will likely be unavailable for Sunday’s trip to Watford (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), when Moyes makes his debut as Hammers boss.

Moyes puts onus on West Ham players, said they looked “frantic”

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New West Ham boss David Moyes knows his hiring to save the Irons season can also save his reputation.

Moyes has seen that slide since leaving Everton for Manchester United, washing out at Old Trafford before suffering the same fates at Real Sociedad and Sunderland.

[ MORE: Remi Garde to MLS ]

Speaking at a Wednesday press conference, Moyes talked about his past — he says he should’ve done better research before agreeing to manage Sunderland — before letting the West Ham players know it’s time to put on their work boots.

This after expressing admiration for his friend, fired West Ham boss Slaven Bilic.

From The London Evening Standard:

“The players have got to show they’re good enough to play for West Ham and in this stadium. Our biggest challenge is Watford. The games come thick and fast. We have a tough period coming up – I have to get myself ready.”

All that said, Moyes said West Ham shouldn’t be flirting with the drop zone, and he’ll be able to calm down the squad.

“I saw franticness,” Moyes said. “There’ll be no favors. They don’t run they won’t play.”

Moyes importantly said he spoke with West Ham vice chairman Karren Brady, who was critical of his crass comments to a female reporter last season as Sunderland boss. Moyes said they discussed the comments a while ago, well before he was in consideration for the job, and that they did not talk about them this week.

Moyes named new West Ham manager

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David Moyes has been named as the new manager of West Ham United.

[ MORE: Hammers smashed by Liverpool ]

After Slaven Bilic was fired by the Hammers on Monday, the joint-owners of the east London club have acted fast to get Moyes on board as West Ham have slipped into the bottom three after securing just nine points from their opening 11 Premier League games this season.

It is reported that Moyes has only signed an initial deal until the end of this season, with his sole task to stop West Ham from being sucked into a relegation battle between now and then.

The former Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland manager is back in a job for the first time since the end of last season when he left Sunderland following their relegation to the second-tier.

Speaking about his appointment, Moyes revealed his plans for West Ham.

“I hope West Ham fans are going to see a team that is organized and disciplined. But I have always only ever wanted to be involved with attacking, entertaining football. And I feel really confident with the group of players we have got here that we can provide that,” Moyes said. “West Ham supporters are a very passionate group, and we need them behind us. How do we do that? By building a successful team, with good players playing well, and that’s what we are aiming to do.”

Moyes’ impending appointment has led to more than a mixed reaction among West Ham fans with the vast majority responding negatively to the decision.

Last season at Sunderland was a disaster for Moyes but, in fairness, he did take over very late in preseason after Sam Allardyce left the Black Cats to become England boss and Moyes wasn’t handed any significant funds during his one disastrous season in charge at the Stadium of Light. It was only going one way.

What will worry West Ham supporters most is the downward spiral of Moyes’ career since he left Everton in 2013. He took over at Man United but didn’t last one season of his six-year deal as the Scotsman was fired and United finished in seventh. The only high points were Moyes reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League and winning the Community Shield.

With his reputation damaged he then went to Real Sociedad and despite saving them from relegation he was soon sacked from the La Liga side before ending up at Sunderland.

Highly-respected for his 11-year stint in charge of the Toffees where he turned Everton into a perennial challenger for a top four spot on a shoestring budget, Moyes will see turning things around at West Ham as a very similar challenge to the one he faced at Everton in 2002 when he first took charge.

In this day and age he will not have too much time to get the fans, and players, onboard with his plans but expect West Ham to become much tougher to beat in the coming weeks and months as his defensive tactics take hold.

Moyes will meet the West Ham players on Tuesday and his first game in charge will be at Watford on Nov. 19.