There have seemed times in a traumatic few years when David Moyes’s past has appeared inescapable.
It felt so again on Saturday when Alex Ferguson took his seat in the directors’ box, watching a man who has appeared scarred by failure at Manchester United. Instead, a distinguished predecessor witnessed a historic occasion.
On the 20th anniversary of his managerial bow, for Preston against Macclesfield in the Football League Trophy, Moyes became just the fourth manager admitted to an exclusive club: those who have recorded 200 Premier League wins.
“I am thrilled the players were able to get me that,” Moyes said.
Ferguson, predictably, was the first to reach the landmark. He had only Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp for company until a redemptive day for Moyes, just as this is becoming a restorative spell at West Ham United.
Huddersfield’s only previous home defeats came to the top six. They were demolished 4-1.
“A disappointing, frustrating afternoon,” manager David Wagner said. In contrast, Moyes grinned: “The players have done brilliantly.”
After only claiming 10 points from 15 games, West Ham’s last eight matches have yielded 15.
Moyes has been a catalytic figure. His tactics used to be deemed too predictable but he operated without a specialist striker. Instead, he paired, and liberated, twin flair players as roving attackers.
Manuel Lanzini struck twice and was still overshadowed. Marko Arnautovic scored one goal, set up three more and illustrated why he has been an important figure recently. West Ham’s record buy never scored for the dismissed Slaven Bilic. He has delivered six goals for Moyes.
His attitude was faulty under the Croatian. It has been impeccable for the Scot.
“Marko is doing great,” Moyes said. “Marko knows if you want to run, you will play. If you don’t, you won’t. Every week he is producing almost the highest sprinting stats in the Premier League. He is embracing it.”
Arnautovic’s greater perspiration brought West Ham’s first goal, a moment of inspiration their second. He set up the third with a pass of understated class, the fourth with a piece of powerful running.
“He likes a boast,” Moyes said.
On days like this, his air of arrogance is fully justified.
Huddersfield contributed to their own problems. “We made too many easy mistakes,” Wagner added.
Take the opener: Jonas Lossl telegraphed a pass to Joe Lolley. Arnautovic read it and robbed him to set up Mark Noble, another beneficiary of Moyes’s appointment.
Lolley levelled in cathartic, lovely but ultimately irrelevant fashion as Arnautovic soon upstaged him, striking 11 seconds after the interval. Cheikhou Kouyate won a header, Arnautovic flicked the ball over Tommy Smith and drilled a shot beyond Lossl. He then teed up Lanzini twice, first with a delicate pass to breach the offside trap, then a storming run on the counter-attack.
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“Manuel Lanzini told me I never give him some passes, today I gave him two so now he needs to be quiet until the next game,” Arnautovic said.
Verbal jibes aside, they dovetailed in a way that boded badly for the injured Andy Carroll and the benched Javier Hernandez. If one Manchester United alumnus has floundered at West Ham, another has flourished.
And Moyes plans to invite a third, the man who anointed him manager to the London Stadium for one of Ferguson’s next away days.