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West Ham 1-1 Leicester: Were there positive signs for David Moyes?
Last Updated: 25/11/17 7:46am
West Ham were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester on Friday Night Football but it was a night of positives for David Moyes's side.
Marc Albrighton struck an early opener to put the visitors in front at the London Stadium but Cheikhou Kouyate headed home Manuel Lanzini's corner just before half-time to level the scores.
The two sides could not be separated after the break, meaning Moyes is still waiting for his first win as West Ham manager, but what were the positives from the game? We take a look.
A week after warning him that he must become a team player or risk losing his place in the side, Moyes got a response from Marco Arnautovic. The £24m record signing had made an indifferent start at West Ham, but with his new manager's words ringing in his ears he produced what Jamie Carragher described as "by far" his best performance in claret and blue.
There was a string of excellent crosses in the first half, one of which forced Danny Simpson to concede the corner from which West Ham scored the equalising goal, but it was his defensive work which really stood out. Arnautovic showed the kind of industry he has previously lacked.
Pablo Zabaleta was the only West Ham player to make more tackles than Arnautovic. And at the time of his substitution, only Aaron Cresswell had made more high-intensity sprints. "He gets a standing ovation from the crowd and rightly so," said Carragher. "I think he has been excellent. Great delivery, which is what he's there for, but also work ethic. That's what these West Ham fans want to see."
Arnautovic was not the only player who appeared reinvigorated. In fact, the intensity ran right through the team. Even Andy Carroll, much-criticised for his performance against Watford last weekend, could be seen chasing down loose balls and putting Leicester defenders under pressure.
Leicester's goal showed West Ham still have a lot to work on in terms of defensive organisation - but they could not be faulted for effort. According to Premier League tracking data, they have averaged 481 sprints per game since Moyes's appointment compared to just 449 under Slaven Bilic.
The increased effort without the ball means their winning possession more frequently, too. West Ham made 67 ball recoveries against Leicester, according to Opta - the same number as against Watford last weekend and the second-most in any Premier League game all season. It seems Moyes is already getting his message across.
Supporters on side?
Moyes knew he faced a battle to win over the West Ham supporters when he took the job, and it looked like an even trickier task after chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" at Watford last weekend, but there was a far more positive atmosphere at the London Stadium on Friday night.
"They will get a lot of belief from that," said Gary Neville. "It's very difficult to go from being so low to all of a sudden playing great football. You've got build one block at a time. Tonight they have built the first block and they can go on from that. I think the fans appreciated the effort they put in in the second half."
According to Joe Hart, the feeling was mutual. "It would have been easy to carry on hammering us but I thought they were fantastic tonight," he told Sky Sports. "As good a players as we've got in our team, we play differently when we have support. I'm not attaching any blame to the fans, but it meant the world to the players."