David Moyes finally got the maiden victory of his managerial tenure at West Ham United as Chelsea were seen off 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
After managing just one point from the Scot’s four matches at the helm, the pressure was on the team to kick start their Premier League campaign after a torrid opening four months.
They did so with a steely performance that stifled the Blues’ attacking threats on a chilly London afternoon, with Marko Arnautovic providing the winning strike just six minutes into the game.
Here are three things we learned from the win:
Formation gets the best from shaky defence
It is no secret that the Hammers have struggled to keep goals out so far this term.
Going into this weekend’s fixtures, they had the worst defensive record in the division, although this has now been eclipsed by Stoke City.
There were signs of life in the brave 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend and Moyes stuck with the formation that for long periods frustrated Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring side.
That meant that Aaron Cresswell again formed part of a three-man central defence alongside Angelo Ogbonna and the returning Winston Reid, with Pablo Zabaleta and Arthur Masuaku employed as wing-backs on either flank.
All five were excellent against Chelsea and provided the foundations for a crucial win.
Each have proven capable of making mistakes in the past but the insurance of an extra body in the backline seems to be resulting in more composed performances.
Goalkeeper Adrian’s role cannot be underestimated either; the Spaniard has started the last two matches in place of Joe Hart and his presence between the sticks has made an enormous difference.
Moyes may just have struck upon a winning formula and after this result he will likely be sticking with it.
Since signing for West Ham in the summer of 2016 Arthur Masuaku has hardly set the world alight, but he seems to have found his feet in recent weeks.
The winger has started the last four matches and against Chelsea was arguably the best player on the pitch.
With his direct running and skilful dribbling, Masuaku proved a constant threat on the counter down the left-hand side and kept the Stamford Bridge outfit on their toes going back towards their own goal, despite their dominance in possession.
He has found his home as a wing-back in the last two fixtures and turned in solid defensive displays against two of the strongest teams in the Premier League.
The only blot on his copybook on Saturday was a momentary lapse to play Alvaro Morata onside in the second half, with the Spaniard thankfully striking his effort wide of the target.
Nonetheless, it was an exciting showing from the Congo international and he will be one of the first names on the team sheet when the Irons travel to Arsenal on Wednesday.
Moyes may just get his redemption
It is fair to say that Moyes’ appointment as the man to succeed Slaven Bilic as manager last month was made to little fanfare.
Whilst he enjoyed 11 successful years at Everton earlier in his career, the 54-year-old now comes with the baggage of a failed stint at Manchester United and relegation to the Championship with Sunderland last term.
His start at the Irons did little to endear him to supporters, with a draw against Leicester City sandwiched between comprehensive defeats to Watford and Everton.
However, despite a narrow loss to Manchester City last weekend, the gritty performance seemed to show signs of life and Moyes was able to back that up by masterminding a win over Chelsea.
There was an air of doom and gloom about West Ham going into a tough set of fixtures, which continues with a midweek trip to Arsenal in a few days’ time.
The last two displays, though, have offered hope and taking three points from the Blues, in what many would see as a ‘bonus fixture’, means that the team will travel to the Emirates Stadium within touching distance of West Bromwich Albion in 17th.
There will be further examinations to come and it will be interesting to see how Moyes sets up his side when they face the clubs around them in the table, as opposed to the likes of City and Chelsea.
He has given the fans something to cling to and perhaps could yet rehabilitate himself in England’s top flight.