Head-To-Head: Marco Silva vs David Moyesby Chloe Beresford / 17 November 2017, 13:35Tweet
Vicarage Road will be the location for David Moyes first game in charge of West Ham following the firing of Slaven Bilic.
He will face a tough test in Marco Silva’s Watford, who sit ninth in the Premier League having taken 15 points from their opening 11 games. This may seem a big ask for a West Ham side who are languishing in 18th place, but in a bizarre twist of fate, it seems like Moyes’ former side Everton might do him a favour.
The Telegraph reports that the Toffees have offered £10 million as compensation to Watford for the highly-rated Portuguese boss, adding a £900,000 pay rise to Silva himself. It would be an unusual move for the Coach, having managed Watford only since the beginning of the season, but one reports suggest he seems ready to entertain despite protestations otherwise.
“Nobody has approached me and I am staying focused on the next match,” the 40-year-old told the Independent earlier this month before facing Everton.
“We need to respect our club, our opponent and our sole focus is to prepare our players for the match on Sunday, and do the best we can to win.”
Indeed, no other foreign boss has ever jumped ship mid-season, and when it has happened with English managers it has tended to be because they were underperforming in their first role, not the opposite. The aforementioned comments on the Everton match were also in vain, the Merseysiders having further dented the morale of Silva’s side in that last league outing before the international break.
The Hornets had gone 2-0 up at Goodison Park, only for the previously struggling home side to bring it back to 2-2, adding a last-minute winner from a Leighton Baines penalty. All this can have only served to have unsettled all involved at Watford, with Moyes undoubtedly hoping that Silva’s head will be elsewhere.
Only one previous encounter between the two led to a 2-0 defeat for Silva’s Hull at the hands of Moyes’ already-relegated Sunderland back in May 2017. The question is, can the new West Ham man make it two out of two against his Portuguese counterpart and capitalise on any unsettled feelings at Vicarage Road?
“I do have a point to prove. Sometimes you have to repair things and I have a little bit to repair," said Moyes at his introductory press conference, clearly referring to failures at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland. The Scottish boss has a reputation for defensive football, something that we are likely to see on Sunday in his opening fixture.
“My ambition is short term,” he continued, after only having been appointed until the end of the season.
“I have to win the games. I want the football to be entertaining. But I want to start defensively. We have to start there and get some clean sheets. First it's about winning football games, then it's about the style.”
Silva has tended to deploy four at the back, in an attacking 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, but his last victory was back on 14th October against Arsenal, with three straight Premier League defeats following that result. That match saw him play a back three, making it possible the former Hull man will ring the changes this week.
There is no doubt that Moyes will have to hit the ground running in order to silence his critics, but Watford will be no easy opponent, despite the various distractions.