David Moyes ends 72-game wait for away win against Premier League's original 'Big Four'

West Ham manager celebrates triumphant conclusion to a memorable year for the club

David Moyes, Manager of West Ham United, celebrates in front of the fans after defeating Arsenal. Getty Images
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Before there was a 'Big Six' in the Premier League there was a 'Big Four' – and they made David Moyes' life a misery.

Traditionally, the wealthiest and often the most successful clubs of the Premier League era have been Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea, with Manchester City latterly joining the gang, and somewhat tenuously, Tottenham Hotspur.

Moyes, save for his nightmare nine months at Old Trafford in 2013-14, has always found himself on the outside looking in, first at Everton and these days at West Ham. In his time at Goodison Park, he equated competing with the super clubs of English football as like "bringing a knife to a gun fight".

Yet, on Thursday night, his Hammers side were able to cut Arsenal down to size with a memorable 2-0 win thanks to goals from Tomas Soucek and Konstantinos Mavropanos. For Moyes, though, it was much more than that.

It's probably not a stat he will be especially proud of, but it was the first time in his long managerial career that he has won an away match at the home of one of the traditional 'Big Four' – a run stretching back more than 20 years and some 72 games.

His record in these games now reads: Played 73, Lost 51, Drawn 21, Won 1; (seventy) third time's a charm...

"What about 2023 for us as a club? It’s been fantastic," Moyes said afterwards, referring to their success in the Europa Conference League in June. "And thankfully we’ve finished it off in great fashion today."

The victory would have been even sweeter for Moyes – his second over Arsenal in quick succession following a League Cup win at the London Stadium last month – given it came against his former charge Mikel Arteta. The two were close during their spell together as manager and player at Everton, and the Arsenal boss has in the past credited Moyes with teaching him how to build a culture within a dressing room.

Yet with Arteta an emerging force in management, and Moyes seemingly fighting an endless battle with a section of the West Ham support who yearn for a more glamorous figurehead, he will have taken extra pleasure from this result.

“We’ve lost a couple of games conceding five in recent weeks, which I’ve hated. I try not to get my teams to do that, but tonight we’ve defended really well," Moyes added.

“We had two different centre-halves tonight, we lost [Lucas] Paqueta [during the first half], after he picked up an injury in the warm-up.

“So there were lots of things going against us, but I have to say it was a brilliant resolute performance. They did everything together, they worked so hard together and we could have even got another right at the end there from the penalty."

The win over Arsenal also came on the fourth anniversary of Moyes' return to West Ham in 2019. In that time he initially kept them up, then finished sixth and seventh, with a Europa League semi-final followed by the Conference League triumph, West Ham's first major trophy in 43 years. After picking up three points at the Emirates, they finish 2023 sixth in the table and safely through to the last 16 of this season's Europa League.

A welcome boost for Moyes given his contract is up at the end of the season.

"We are getting ready to talk. I don't think any of us are jumping to get it done too quickly," Moyes told Amazon Prime. "We will get it done, I don't see many problems about it."

He added in his post-match press conference: "We originally came to make sure West Ham didn't get relegated, but we've grown and got better.

"We're fine. I get on well with the board. They're thrilled. They're delighted the team are going strong in the Premier League and in Europe."

Arsenal 0-2 West Ham - player ratings

Updated: December 29, 2023, 3:57 PM