Manuel Pellegrini watched on as his West Ham United team were hit for four by his former club Manchester City under Pep Guardiola at London Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Today, we are going to be crunching all the key team statistics from an encounter where the scoreline scarcely reflected the match.
As is always the case in ‘Crunching The Stats’, the first team stat we’re going to be analysing from two days ago in East London is possession.
As expected, there were no surprises here, with the table-topping visitors dominating the possession by recording a remarkable 69.3 per cent share of the overall possession, leaving the hosts with just 30.7%. This proved the foundation for the Citizens success in their fourth trip to London Stadium, all of which have been won by three goals or more.
While there may have been a gulf-in-class between the two sides in terms of the scoreline and the possession, there was absolutely nothing to choose between them when it comes to our next team stat, shots attempted.
Incredibly, both Pellegrini and Guardiola’s men enjoyed nine efforts on goal each, reflecting the fact that things could have been oh so different in Stratford. Missing a fair few chances, the Irons could have easily prevented Blue Moon from leaving East London having extended the aggregate score in meetings between the two outfits, to 1-17.
Shots On Target
A clue as to why four goals separated the Hammers and the Citizens after 95 minutes at London Stadium despite the sides having exactly the same amount of shots, is offered by our third stat, which analyses the percentage of those attempts that were on target.
The answer is six of nine or two thirds for the Manchester club, as they also found the back of the net with two-thirds of their efforts on target. Meanwhile, just one of nine was on target for the East Londoners, Michail Antonio’s first-half drive that was saved by Ederson. A lack of cutting edge in front of goal would end up costing them dearly.
For keeping the ball and the lion’s share of possession is to be your speciality, like it very much is for Guardiola’s men, you have to be able to pass the ball excellently, something that the Citizens proved they can do for the gazillionth time in their maiden title defence under the Spaniard.
This was revealed by their pass completion figures, coming very close to registering 90% pass completion on the larger-than-normal pitch that suits them so well in Stratford, with an eye-catching 89%. Whereas, the home side let themselves down in this regard, only managing to produce a scrappy 74.9%.
Despite passing not being their overall strong suit on an afternoon of many positives aside from the eventual scoreline for the Hammers, they didn’t disappoint in our next stat, key passes.
Eight was the number for Pellegrini’s men as they created plenty against the team yet to be defeated this season, recording one of their highest numbers for a match this season. However, it was all in vain as Blue Moon matched them once more with their eight, most of which proved much more useful in the final third.
There was yet one more area where the stat was a major contrast to the result and that was corners, showing us another way in which West Ham failed to make the most of their opportunities.
Given the height of the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop in their ranks, it would have especially disappointed the league’s 13th-placed side to have not scored or at least got an effort on target from one of their eight corners. Whilst they are not as well known as some of the other elite teams for their set-pieces, the Citizens could win just one corner.
Our final two team stats are measures of just how well the sides’ defences and goalkeepers performed in the match and how much workload they were forced into dealing with, clearances made and saves made.
We start with clearances made, in a game of just 25 clearances, the slim majority of them were made by City, clearing the ball on 14 occasions to West Ham’s 11. Pre-match, this figure would have surprised many but is a match to the way the game unfolded, with the hosts forcing the visitors into making more clearances than themselves.
And last but not least, it’s the turn of the two goalkeepers, Poland international Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks for the home team and Brazil man Ederson in the away goal.
There was a combined total of just three saves made on a quiet afternoon for both shot-stoppers, two of them by Fabianski and a mere one of them by Ederson. The activity that the No13 was forced into doing more than anything else two days ago was picking the ball out of his own net, a final reminder of the ruthlessness of Guardiola’s men.
So, now that all the team statistics have been well and truly crunched from Pellegrini’s West Ham’s joint-heaviest defeat of the 2018/2019 season so far, will we have more positive stats to analyse in seven days’ time? Following the club’s away Premier League clash with Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United? Join us once again, then, to find out.
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