West Ham United's 20 standout moments of 2020
As an unprecedented year draws to a close, we reflect on 20 unforgettable West Ham United moments in 2020...
1. The dramatic 3-2 win over Chelsea
West Ham United’s thrilling 3-2 home win over Chelsea on 1 July may not have ensured the Hammers’ Premier League safety, but it did undoubtedly give the squad the belief they could stay up.
After losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur, without scoring, in their first two games following the restart, the Irons could have melted after falling a goal behind three minutes before half-time.
Instead, Tomáš Souček levelled before the break, before Michail Antonio put the home side in front. Willian’s second goal of the game made it 2-2 and could have rocked David Moyes’ squad again, but they regrouped and secured a vital victory through Andriy Yarmolenko’s expertly-taken 89th-minute winner.
2. David Moyes’ triumphant return
West Ham United kicked-off 2020 sitting just one place above the Premier League relegation zone with 19 points from as many games played. The Hammers had lost seven of their previous nine matches, including their last four in a row at home, leading to Manuel Pellegrini’s departure and the return of David Moyes for a second spell as manager.
The Scot recalled Angelo Ogbonna and Robert Snodgrass to the team for the New Year’s Day visit of AFC Bournemouth to London Stadium and the Irons produced a superb performance, with Mark Noble’s two goals and one from Sébastien Haller putting the home side three goals up inside 35 minutes.
Felipe Anderson’s second-half strike made the final score 4-0 and ensured Moyes’ return would be a triumphant one.
3. Michail Antonio's four-goal show at Norwich
Michail Antonio enjoyed his finest 90 minutes in a West Ham United shirt against Norwich City in July.
The No30 became the first Hammer to score four goals in a single Premier League match, the first since Leroy Rosenior in 1988 to score four in a single competitive fixture, and the first since David Cross in 1981 to score four in a league game.
Antonio did it all at Carrow Road, having NINE shots, six of which were on target, winning five aerial battles, embarking on five dribbles and making three key passes.
The forward's four-goal show took him up to fifth on the Hammers’ list of all-time Premier League goalscorers with 34, and took the Irons six points clear of the relegation zone with three matches left to play.
4. The last game with a full house at London Stadium
Nobody knew it at the time, but West Ham United's 3-1 Premier League win over Southampton on 29 February would be the final game played at a full London Stadium in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic was growing and, following the Hammers' defeat at Arsenal the following weekend, competitive football would be halted for more than three months.
With that in mind, the important victory over the Saints, West Ham's first in nine games, was an historic moment in an unforgettable year for many reasons.
Highlighted by Jarrod Bowen's goal on his full and home debut, Sébastien Haller's clever finish and Michail Antonio's clinical strike, the Hammers climbed out of the relegation zone, delighting the vast majority of the 59,962 supporters who filled the stands.
5. The Club's support of local NHS Trusts
Celebrating the transcendent heroes of 2020, West Ham United made a pledge of support for local NHS trusts across East London and Essex, committing to a range of new positive community initiatives to help the NHS to provide vital support for patients and staff in this unprecedented time.
The activities were set out to benefit Barts Charity – the dedicated charity for Barts Health NHS Trust, and King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, who support the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).
As part of that pledge, the Club has provided them with shirts, signed framed prints, and profiles in the Official Programme, as well as support for their vital campaigns – this coming after research from EY found the Club’s work helped deliver £1.4m of annual savings to the NHS through diabetes prevention.
In addition, West Ham welcomed key workers to London Stadium for the Premier League fixture against Manchester United, where 2,000 supporters gave them a rousing - and fitting - reception of applause and thanks.
Hammers players have also continued to make personal calls to patients and frontline staff in the festive season, showing their support at a difficult time for families.
6. Manuel Lanzini's sensational equaliser at Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United looked destined to fall to a heavy and damaging defeat when the fell three goals down inside 16 minutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October.
Son Heung-min's first-minute opener was followed by two Harry Kane goals, putting Jose Mourinho's Spurs in seemingly full control in north London.
But the Hammers regrouped, continued to play their football and tightened things up at the back, being rewarded in sensational style inside the final ten minutes.
Fabian Balbuena pulled one back from a set piece on 82 minutes, Davinson Sanchez put through his own net on 85, then Manuel Lanzini completed the unlikeliest of comebacks four minutes into added time, curling an exquisite shot into the top right-hand corner after Tottenham had failed to properly deal with a free-kick.
7. Mark Noble reaching 500 appearances
Mark Noble became just the tenth West Ham United player to reach 500 appearances for the Club, leading the Irons to a crucial victory over Watford at London Stadium on Friday 17 July.
Much of the pre-match build-up was focused around the 33-year-old’s phenomenal achievement, with Nobes' teammates inspired to race into a two-goal lead after just ten minutes through Michail Antonio and Tomáš Souček.
16 years in Claret and Blue, 460 starts, 380 Premier League games, 60 goals (including 38 successful penalty kicks)… the numbers were there for all to applaud as the tributes flooded in.
But ever-focused, ever-diligent, there was only one which mattered to Nobes on the night: the 3-1 scoreline that yielded three points and a virtual guarantee of safety, which the skipper duly celebrated vociferously at full-time.
8. Declan Rice’s goal and celebration against Watford
Third on the Hammers’ goalscorers list that day was Declan Rice – but few could have predicted quite how the crucial goal would come to pass.
With the Hammers leading 2-0 and brimming with confidence after 35 minutes, Rice collected a pass from Aaron Cresswell and set the ball out with his first touch.
Looking up, the 21-year-old proceeded to hit it in an instant: a dipping, swerving, bamboozling effort from fully 30 yards, taking everybody off guard and flummoxing Ben Foster as it nestled into the bottom corner.
The England international gleefully sprinted over the touchline to celebrate with manager David Moyes before being embraced by his teammates - the third Premier League goal of his young career being one to remember.
9. The return of supporters in December
While the Hammers’ progress on the pitch has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of a difficult 2020, it goes without saying that away from the beautiful game the year has brought plenty of challenges for the Claret and Blue Army – and people everywhere.
A ray of hope was provided, however, by the brief return of fans to London Stadium in early December.
Some 2,000 Season Ticket Holders were permitted to attend the Premier League meeting with Manchester United, and their fervent support brought with it a vibrancy to the fixture that reminded everyone present of better times.
They were rewarded with a dominant Hammers display for an hour – and an opening goal from Tomáš Souček – while even Manchester United’s second half comeback couldn’t dampen their enthusiasm.
It was an occasion to remember and we all hope we can share these moments together again in the not so distant future.
10. The U23s win promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1
West Ham's U23s clinched a remarkable achievement in 2020, ending their 2019/20 Premier League 2 Division 2 campaign both top of the league - and unbeaten.
While the young Hammers’ season was curtailed by the pandemic with four games still to go, Dmitri Halajko’s young Hammers were ultimately awarded the league title on a points-per-game basis, securing an immediate return to the top-flight of development football.
At the time of football’s suspension, the U23s were three points clear of their closest rivals with a superior goal difference, having scored 58 goals in just 18 games – an average of over three per game.
11. The signings of Tomáš Souček and Jarrod Bowen
West Ham United headed into the January transfer window with work to do in order to secure their Premier League status. David Moyes had just been appointed as manager, and his team had got off to the perfect start under his stewardship, defeating AFC Bournemouth 4-0 on New Year’s Day, but the boss knew the work was only just starting.
Recruitment was going to be key if his side were to travel in the direction he wanted, and he could hardly have done better with his January signings.
Souček was first to arrive, completing a loan move, which would later become permanent, from Slavia Prague on 29 January, with Bowen following suit from Hull City late on deadline day.
The pair would hit the ground running, Souček netting three vital goals by the season’s end, while Bowen contributed a goal and four assists as the Hammers achieved their goal of safety.
12. The Players’ Project celebrating its second anniversary
The West Ham United family marked the second anniversary of its ground-breaking Players’ Project in December by coming together to support campaigns close to the Hammers fans’ hearts and local projects which will help those most in need in the local community.
In the run up to Christmas, the Club; its Board, players and manager donated much-needed money to the Newham Foodbank through Irons Supporting Foodbanks, as well as the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal and Barking and Dagenham Council’s Christmas Cheer campaign, to add to the funds already raised by the Club’s fans. The Club’s donations also went towards selection boxes for thousands of children in Newham.
In addition to the work during the festive period, the Club was pleased to announce that it is on track to deliver the pledges made one year ago, which included a further £10m for the community, an increase of £5m on its initial pledge, giving a forecasted investment of £28m by the end of 2021.
Launched in November 2018, the Players’ Project is most ambitious and integrated community programme ever created by a Premier League Club, with men’s, women’s and Academy players regularly giving their time to directly working with thousands of people from the local community since launch.
13. The women’s team move to Dagenham & Redbridge FC
A new matchday home to accompany new world-class training facilities; West Ham United have this year continued to further their commitment to providing an environment of excellence for current and future generations of women’s players.
In the middle of a summer of exciting transfer activity which saw the likes of Rachel Daly and Emily van Egmond sport Claret and Blue, the women’s team announced that they would play their Barclay’s FA Women's Super League home matches at Dagenham & Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium throughout the 2020/21 season.
This came hot on the heels on the unveiling of a state-of-the-art training base at the Club’s iconic Chadwell Heath training ground, where the team enjoy world-class facilities at the Academy of Football including innovatory medical, fitness, analysis and education facilities, and a viewing gallery with panoramic views of a full-size indoor pitch.
14. Players’ calls to Any Old Irons
A tough time for many was made just that little bit brighter when Any Old Irons members picked up the phone to surprise calls from Declan Rice during the Spring.
A programme led by the West Ham United Foundation on behalf of the Club, Any Old Irons was formed in 2015 in a bid to tackle social isolation and loneliness within supporters over 60.
As the Club have reached out to fans from the local community, Any Old Irons members have also this year enjoyed wellbeing calls from the likes of David Moyes, Mark Noble and Arthur Masuaku.
Supporters also heard from Sir Trevor Brooking, Phil Parkes, Alvin Martin, Ray Stewart and David Cross - all in celebration of the 40th anniversary of West Ham’s 1980 FA Cup Final triumph - while the Club’s Players’ Project also connected Any Old Irons with women’s stars Laura Vetterlein, Cecilie Redisch and Kate Longhurst.
15. The 4-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers
Two games into the 2020/21 Premier League season and with two defeats to show for their efforts, West Ham United could well have approached their September meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers with some trepidation - not least because their next five fixtures saw them due to take on five of the previous campaign's top seven finishers.
Not a bit of it.
Wolverhampton Wanderers may have reached the UEFA Europa League last 16 just a month before, and defeated the Hammers 2-0 in the first game upon football's resumption, but David Moyes' men paid them no respect and were rewarded with a thumping 4-0 victory.
Jarrod Bowen got the rout started in the first half, sweeping a wonderful left-footed shot beyond Rui Patricio's reach after Pablo Fornals' quick-thinking at a free-kick played the No20 in. Bowen then doubled his and the Hammers' tally shortly after half-time, before Tomáš Souček's header flicked off Wolves striker Raul Jimenez and into the net for 3-0.
By the time Sébastien Haller had scored an injury-time fourth, West Ham had already gained all the confidence they needed and more to tackle their tricky run of fixtures with aplomb.
16. Sébastien Haller wonder-goal against Crystal Palace
Sébastien Haller said following his first goalscoring performance for West Ham United at Watford in August 2019 that he scores at least one overhead kick a season.
After adding a second in 2019/20 in the home win over AFC Bournemouth in January 2020, the Ivory Coast international was at it again with the best of the three - an acrobatic wonder-goal against Crystal Palace in December 2020.
The Hammers had fallen behind to Christian Benteke's first-half header, but got back on level terms in stunning style ten minutes after the interval when Haller met Vladimír Coufal with an unstoppable, acrobatic strike that flew into the top left-hand corner of Vicente Guaita's net.
Having already won the Club's November Goal of the Month award, Haller is surely odds-on to retain that title with this unforgettable finish.
17. The signing of Vladimír Coufal
Even the most informed and knowledgeable of West Ham United supporters probably had not heard of Vladimír Coufal prior to the Czech Republic international right-back's transfer to London Stadium in October.
Although experienced and successful, Coufal had spent his entire career in his homeland, winning back-to-back First League titles and one Czech Cup with Slavia Prague.
Perhaps just as importantly, he had played alongside Tomáš Souček for both club and country, so when David Moyes asked the midfielder for a scouting report on Coufal, Souček was effusive in his praise for his friend and former teammate.
The result was a signing that looks to be another bargain, with Coufal settling in seamlessly to life in a Claret and Blue shirt.
18. The 3-0 win at Leicester City
West Ham United knocked Leicester City off their perch with a devastating performance at the King Power Stadium at the start of October.
Leicester came into the fixture on the back of smashing five past Manchester City in their previous game and topped the Premier League table heading into that weekend, but found themselves up against a West Ham side organised and resilient in defence and incisive and clinical in attack.
The result was all three points, gained through first-half goals from Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals and a late third from Jarrod Bowen.
It was a superb all-round display from the Irons, who stifled and outfought their opponents - not allowing them a single shot on target - whilst punishing them at the other end.
All three goals came via swift attacks, Antonio starting and finishing the move he headed home, while Fornals controlled Aaron Cresswell’s lofted ball forward exquisitely before finishing. The Spaniard then turned creator, laying on Bowen’s chance to wrap it up late on.
19. Michail Antonio’s goal against Manchester City
Michail Antonio’s third goal in six games in 2020/21 was perhaps his best in a West Ham United shirt to date.
Had it not fallen in the same month as Lanzini's last-gasp strike at Tottenham, it would have almost certainly clinched a Goal of the Month award to boot.
With the Hammers facing an in-form Manchester City side in October, it was a sign of the burgeoning confidence within Moyes’ men that the No30 felt inclined, despite having his back to goal, to shoot first-time from Vladimír Coufal’s hung-up cross.
Showing his strength to hold off Ruben Dias, Antonio watched the ball drop all the way onto his right foot, diverting past Ederson with a controlled bicycle kick as the Hammers went on to earn a 1-1 draw against decorated opposition at London Stadium.
20. The U18s ending seven years of FA Youth Cup hurt
The stage was set at Kenilworth Road for a dramatic evening when West Ham’s U18s arrived for an FA Youth Cup third round tie at Luton.
Three penalty shoot-out losses in the last four seasons had contributed heavily to a hoodoo spanning seven years of third-round defeats in the prestigious competition.
Almost three hours of see-saw action duly ensued in Bedfordshire as West Ham’s youth team raced into an early two-goal lead, only to be pegged back by Luton’s spirited U18s before half-time.
The two teams traded further goals in extra-time in a match which had a little bit of everything – missed chances, spectacular saves, and no shortage of incident – before a third-round game involving the Hammers once again went to spot-kicks.
There, goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi was the hero, saving twice as the Irons prevailed 4-2 in the shoot-out, bringing to an end seven years of FA Youth Cup hurt and setting up a fourth-round tie at Norwich in 2021.