Return of the Moyes: This Weekend in the Premier League

With West Ham an absolute shitshow at this point and managerial change in the air, the long shadow of David Moyes looms over English football once more.
November 6, 2017, 3:37pm

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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UPDATE 6/11/17, 11:40AM: The below has been confirmed – Bilic is out and West Ham are set to hire David Moyes on an initial six-month contract.

Return of the Moyes

First up, to West Ham, a team with more losers on it than a Men Going Their Own Way Reddit thread. Having been battered 4-1 by Liverpool at the weekend and finding themselves down in the relegation zone, it looks to be the end of the road for Slaven Bilic as Hammers boss.

Amazingly, the most serious contender to replace Bilic appears to be none other than David Moyes, a man who has inspired more spicy memes over the past few seasons than he has actual football teams. This is a manager whose greatest legacy at Manchester United is the phrase "Give it Giggsy 'til the end of the season," and whose last two jobs–at Real Sociedad and Sunderland–have yielded 28.57 percent and 18.60 percent win ratios respectively.

The West Ham hierarchy are reportedly confident he's the man to keep them up, this despite his bombing out of the league with Sunderland last season being direct evidence to the contrary. His time in charge at the London Stadium is likely to be a parade of angry men in Harrington jackets, extremely uncomfortable Russell Brand vox-pops and disappointed tweets signed "dg," and as such can only be a very good thing.

Photo: John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal: The Withering

They say that after a long time a dog begins to look like its owner, and the same must hold for football teams and longstanding managers. Arsene Wenger, once a curly haired Adonis with a crisp dress sense and a Gauloise hanging out of his mouth on a semi-permanent basis, has now started to look a bit like your nan after two weeks without any central heating.

Gaunt, grey, somehow shrunken and withered with a pencil-like outline beneath his roomy old cardigan, Wenger looks to the sepia photos on his mantelpiece and sees the elegant, shapely manager he once was. So too Arsenal have been somehow diminished, their football depressingly weak and anaemic. Forget the offside goal which snatched away their shadow of a fightback at the Etihad on Sunday: pitting Manchester City against Arsenal these days is like making a boxer fight someone who has just spent six months in bed for the sake of medical science and suffered massive muscle atrophy in the meantime.

To think, it wasn't too long ago that Arsenal were aesthetic champions of the Premier League. They weren't actual champions, mind, but even when they lost 3-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion or drew 4-4 with Newcastle they did so in style. Now, even that title is lost to them, with City making a mockery of the idea that Arsenal are a watchable outfit. While Pep Guardiola and co. are young, lithe and full of life, Arsene Wenger and his team are so outmoded at this point they're practically mummified.

Delicious Shirtenfreude

It may not be easy to look at, but please take a moment to appreciate the shirt Sam Allardyce wore on Match of the Day. Nothing shouts "Big Sam sends Bill Kenwright provocative come-and-get-me plea" like a man blouse with an enormous open collar, cheque elbow patches and a red-white-and-blue plaid trim. While Sam's attire may have had yer da calling up M&S and asking whether he could order in bulk, the rest of us were too busy wondering whether the colour scheme was a deliberate act of patriotism–or if Big Sam asks for the Union Jack's colours to be woven into the fabric of all his clothes, an act of respect towards our Queen, Waterloo, our way of life and our decision to sack off the European Union.

Having repeated his call for more opportunities for British managers on the programme ("It's always time for an English manager to be given a chance, as far as I'm concerned, Gary," said the man who once claimed he'd be a top-four manager if his name was Sam Allardici), we can only assume Big Sam was doubling down on that sentiment with his sartorial choices.

Spirit of Cantona

The incident may have taken place in the Europa League on Thursday, but the spirit of a Premier League icon was awakened this weekend. After former Manchester United right-back Patrice Evra karate kicked a Marseille supporter in the head in the midweek, it was hard not to spend the latest round of fixtures waiting for someone else to channel their inner Cantona and launch themselves studs-up at an abusive dickhead in the stands.

If we're honest, as fans, we can all think of a time we deserved to be kicked in the head by a footballer. As such, if Evra really has opened the floodgates of player-on-spectator violence in the Premier League, maybe we'll all learn a lesson or two about moderating our criticism and not saying despicable things.