Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United claimed a third away Premier League victory of the season on Saturday evening at Craven Cottage, when they beat Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham 0-2. Join us as we crunch all the statistics from the feisty London derby clash in the torrential rain of West London.
The first team stat we’re going to be analysing is possession, the overall share of the ball that each team saw throughout the matchup, and it’s one that was dominated by one side on Saturday, but not the one you would expect.
Indeed, Fulham enjoyed the lion’s share of possession despite comfortably being on the losing side, with 56 per cent to West Ham’s 44. They were able to create plenty of chances with this, just unable to take them, while the Hammers’ game plan to hit them on the counter-attack and be clinical in front of goal worked down to a T.
The way the two London teams set up as they clashed in a derby was further evidenced by our next stat, total shots, on the evening where the Irons climbed to ninth in the PL table and the Cottagers remained rooted to the bottom.
16 was the staggering number of attempts registered by the hosts, compare that to the six (10 fewer) recorded by the visitors and the scoreline becomes perplexing. This goes to show how Pellegrini’s men took their chances, finding the back of the net with their first two efforts of the match as Ranieri’s spurned opportunity after opportunity.
Shots On Target
When we move onto analysing the number of those 22 overall efforts that were on target, we see exactly what the stragglers did so wrong and the top-six chasers did so right in the final third.
A measly four, just a quarter, of the shots of the West Londoners were aimed directly at Lukasz Fabianski’s goal as the shot-stopper made it a trio of clean sheets for the season. Meanwhile, the East Londoners managed one fewer shot on target, but three was half of their overall total, finding the net with two-thirds of them, through Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio.
Our next stat will offer us a clue as to what kind of match the second game in a run of three London derbies for West Ham was and how well it flowed, pass completion.
This is an area where one would have anticipated dominance from the free-flowing away side, having undergone a transformation in style of play under their new manager. But anyone backing this would have been left disappointed with the home side (80% pass completion) beating them (74.9%), once again conveying the importance of the Hammers taking their chances in a passing performance that wasn’t their best.
The entertaining first encounter between the two teams since early January 2014 wasn’t lacking in goalmouth drama throughout and this is thanks, in part, to the number of key passes on display to the 24,081 fans at Craven Cottage and the many millions more watching live on BT Sport.
A high 17 were recorded by the stat men. If finishing was, creativity clearly wasn’t lacking for Fulham, with them making the vast majority of them with 11 and their opponents chipping in with just six, though, there are no prizes for guessing which side made the most of their key passes and which didn’t.
One stats where the figures weren’t so one-sided is our next, number of corners won, with ten almost being split evenly by the Cottagers and the Irons, six for the former and four for the latter.
However, this wasn’t always a good thing for Ranieri, just four matches into his reign in West London, as his side largely failed to threaten from these and most offered West Ham an opportunity to launch a deadly counter-attack on them, especially in the second half. However, it must be said, they could hardly take advantage of the type of set-piece themselves, either.
The final two team stats we’re going to take an in-depth look at, as is always the case in ‘Crunching the stats,’ are measures of the goalkeepers and defences, starting with the backlines, and clearances made.
It’s hardly surprising to learn that the home defence, fielding a back four similar to their opposition and yet to keep a single PL clean sheet in their first term back in the top-flight so far, made fewer clearances. Albeit under a little less pressure, Fulham cleared the danger on just 19 occasions, West Ham recorded almost double that number of clearances (36).
And last but not least, it’s finally the turn of the two goalkeepers at Craven Cottage, Spaniard Sergio Rico between the sticks for the hosts and Poland international summer signing Fabianski between the sticks for the visitors.
The former of those ‘keepers picked the ball out of his own net more than he made a save in the late kick-off, having to wait until the 89th minute to make his one and only stop, denying Felipe Anderson. Whereas, the latter can thank his four saves, the pick to stop Aboubakar Kamara breaking the deadlock from a one-on-one, for keeping his third clean sheet of the campaign and second of December.
So, now that all the team figures have been well and truly crunched and analysed for a fourth successive evening to remember for Pellegrini’s West Ham in the league, will there be more positive post-match stats for the Hammers come seven days’ time? Following another London derby at home to Watford? Join us once again, then, to find out.
If you love tactical analysis, then you’ll love the digital magazines from totalfootballanalysis.com – a guaranteed 100+ pages of pure tactical analysis covering topics from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and many, many more. Get your copy of the FIRST of two December issues for just £4.99 here or preorder the SECOND of the December issues with an annual membership right here.