Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United were dominant but lacked any kind of cutting-edge when they fell to a narrow defeat by Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League yesterday evening. Join us to look back at the clash through the statistical lens as we crunch all the key team stats from the American Express Community Stadium.
As we will learn over the course of this statistical analysis, there is hardly a stat that the visitors to the south coast didn’t come out on top in, despite tasting defeat, and possession is no different.
The Irons dominated the ball and enjoyed a lion’s share of 64.6 per cent to the home side’s 35.4, though, there can be little doubting which team used their portion of the ball more wisely and it wasn’t the Hammers, that’s for sure.
As we move onto the number of overall attempts made by each side, the story of West Ham dominance is very much the same, which makes it even more baffling, the end scoreline.
On a drizzly night in Brighton, the hosts could only manage to get nine shots away, while the visitors could almost double that figure, trying their luck a whopping 17 times and not being successful once, the likes of Marko Arnautovic uncharacteristically spurning chances, left, right and centre.
Shots On Target
Our first clue as to why the East Londoners left the Amex empty-handed comes in the number of those shots that were on target, where there is nothing at all, separating the outfits.
Both the Hammers and the Seagulls were able to get four shots on target away, testing each other’s last-ditch defending and goalkeeping skills, that’s not even a fourth of the total shots for the visitors, whilst almost half for the hosts, there’s the difference.
The pass completion stats offer us a hint as to what kind of Friday night game it was, whether it was a free-flowing or dogged affair, and the answer is both, this time.
Hughton’s men were sloppy in possession, a poor 68.1% of their passes reaching their intended targets, meanwhile, Pellegrini’s boys were much better with the ball at their feet, achieving 83.9% pass completion, surprising with the number of times they seemingly gave the ball away.
Key passes are the flashes of brilliance that can change a game, individually making goals and splitting defences open and there was no shortage of them as the Hammers made their third-ever trip to the Amex Stadium.
There were 19, in total, for the 30,000+ fans to feast their eyes on and once again, the vast majority of them were produced by players wearing Claret & Blue, 12, to be precise, meaning only seven of them were created by the hosts, who had more quality on the end of theirs.
The familiar theme of superiority for the team who started the day above Brighton in the Premier League table and ended it below them, shows no sign of letting up when we analyse the number of corners won.
Of the 11, just two were taken by the home team and nine by the visiting team, they were able to create plenty of chances from these, utilising their aerial advantage, but not enough to score, Fabian Balbuena missing the best West Ham chance from a corner, in the second half.
The final two team stats we are going to analyse are measures of how a team’s defence and goalkeeper performed and how much work they were forced to carry out, as opposed to focussing on the midfield or the attack.
It is hardly surprising that the Brighton defence made a considerable amount more clearances than West Ham, with 28 to their 17, overall, the defensive battle was definitely won by Hughton’s men, as they defended solidly, all evening.
Both goalkeepers, Australian International Mat Ryan in the home goal and Polish International Lukasz Fabianski in the away goal, enjoyed busy evenings, as we will find out in our analysis of the saves made stat.
The former of those names had more to do in front of his home supporters with four saves made, however, in truth, the West Ham attackers failed to test him out. Although to be fair, the same can be said about Fabianski and his three saves, but vitally, he did end up picking the ball out of his own net, once.
So, now that all the key team stats have been well and truly crunched from a night to forget on the south coast if you’re a member of the Claret & Blue Army, will the next post-match stats we analyse be winning ones for the Hammers, when they face off with Tottenham Hotspur after the International break? Join us once again, after that one, to find out.