West Ham stretched their unbeaten run to five games with victory over Burnley on Saturday, and they did so in a familiar fashion.
David Moyes’ side earned a third consecutive 1-0 win, and despite what the statistics may show they deserved all three points.
Michail Antonio scored the all-important winner but Jarrod Bowen and Angelo Ogbonna also came close, with the latter hitting the post with a header.
Burnley, by comparison, failed to trouble Lukasz Fabianski and that is testament to the work Moyes has done since arriving.
It may not be glamourous, but his simple style of play has brought the best out of his squad, and it is producing results on the pitch.
Following Manuel Pellegrini’s failed attempt to introduce a more expansive style of play in East London the Scot decided to go back to basics, and he now has every one of his players understanding their role in the team.
Craig Dawson has come into the side in recent weeks and has barely put a foot wrong, while Thomas Soucek and Declan Rice continue to earn plaudits.
Moyes has made the side more compact and prioritised the defence with great success – conceding two goals in the previous five matches.
That ensured a clean sheet against Burnley even though we enjoyed just 44% possession and produced one big chance against a side threatened by relegation this term.
Despite that, the Hammers had more shots on target and more corners, which shows that Moyes’ style is effective, if unattractive.
Antonio leads the line superbly but Bowen’s clever runs also unsettle defences, with one against the Clarets presenting the winger with a golden opportunity to double the score.
That pair know their roles well, as does a resurgent Pablo Fornals, who provided a pinpoint cross for Antonio to score – his fourth goal contribution of the campaign.
Such understanding has been key to West Ham as the players know each other’s game inside out and work as a team in attack and defence.
If we are able to adequately replace Sebastien Haller we could have a player who can produce moments of magic, too, and that would help to take the team to the next level.
In other West Ham news, Frank McAvennie has warned the club to avoid signing one transfer target.