West Ham United club-record summer signing Felipe Anderson finally got off the mark for the club on Saturday afternoon, helping the Hammers to defeat Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United 3-1 in the Premier League, at London Stadium.
The Brazilian coupled his early goal, which broke the deadlock in East London, with another highly-impressive display, his form improving gradually, week-by-week since making the move from Lazio in July.
In the early part of his West Ham career, Anderson drew criticism for his shoddy displays in defeats to the likes of Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but a few weeks down the line, things couldn’t be more different.
He now has a goal and an assist to his name and is slowly becoming a favourite in the eyes of the Claret & Blue Army. Today, we carry out a tactical analysis of the left-winger’s Red Devils performance, finding out just how pivotal he was in helping the Irons get their first home win of the season.
For the first phase of our tactical analysis, we have enlisted the help of our friends over at Wyscout.com to bring you the below graphic, containing Anderson’s key statistics from two days.
As we can see, the speedy Brazilian played all 93 minutes at London Stadium and eye-catching, was his success in 48 of his 92 total actions completed, that’s over 50 per cent.
His one goal, his first in Claret & Blue, converting the first real chance he has had in front of goal in West Ham colours, can be seen under the goals scored column, but we will analyse his strike a little later on.
Anderson didn’t manage to add to his assist tally, as you can see from the image, and his goal was all the more impressive, given it was his only shot on target in the match, clinical.
His expected goals rating was at 0.68, meaning he was likely to score for the whole game, a constant threat bombing down the left wing and cutting inside, especially, on the counter-attack.
Anderson ended the match with a fantastic 32 out of 41 passes completed, 87%, and managed to complete three out of seven (43%), of the longer and tougher balls.
The one-cap Brazil International only attempted three crosses in Stratford, one of which was accurate, however, he was successful in over 50% of his attempted dribbles, with four out of seven.
Duels were perhaps one of the only weak spots of his standout display, winning only 14 of the 37 that he was involved in, and losing all six of his aerial duels, as a smaller player, he can be forgiven.
The Wyscout graphic also tells us that, defensively, Anderson also put in a strong shift, making five interceptions and only losing the ball in his own half three times, recovering three out of the four balls he lost in the Red Devils’ half.
Before we move on to analysing his goal, it is worth mentioning that above the section for Anderson’s stats from the United win, we can see his average, making for an interesting comparison.
Now, using Wyscout’s brilliant goal highlights feature, we are going to take you through the summer signing’s opener, step-by-step, how it was created and how it was finished.
Below, we can see the build-up to Anderson breaking the deadlock, home captain Mark Noble is about to play Pablo Zabaleta through, in behind the defence and at the top of the picture, our player-in-focus is primed, ready to make his run.
Our second picture shows Zabaleta’s cross, the Argentinian having delivered Noble’s through-ball first-time into the danger area, on its way and Anderson on his way to the near post, in the midst of making a perfectly-timed run.
The near-£50 million man’s pace allows him to get away from the opposing defenders and also to the ball before goalkeeper David de Gea, below, we see him finishing past the world-renowned Spaniard with a wonderful backheel flick.
As Anderson spins away in celebration, the ball buries in the far corner and the Hammers take the lead with a world-class attacking move and a world-class finish to match, as audacious as it may have been, that’s what Pellegrini paid for.
For the third part of our tactical analysis, we are going to prove the excellency of Anderson in a different way, by comparing his showing to that of his opposite number, United’s Anthony Martial.
Here, we have used whoscored.com’s Match Centre to create a comparison of the key stats between Anderson and Martial, who was also playing on the left side of the attack.
The first stat we are drawn to is overall rating, with the man in Claret & Blue comfortably trumping the man in pink with a rating of 8.49, to his measly 6.46 out of ten.
The next is shots attempted, Anderson scoring with his only one, as aforementioned and shockingly, Martial not trying his luck once at London Stadium.
In addition, the home player saw plenty more of the ball, enjoying 4.7 per cent of the overall possession, his opponent’s share of it was just 3.1%, one of the lowest on the field.
According to the graphic, the only two areas where the Red Devil edges out the Hammer are dribbles and pass completion, in terms of the latter, Martial managed 90%, although he did attempt less than Anderson.
Neither player won an aerial duel, while the visiting star couldn’t manage to win a single tackle or corner, something that Anderson signed for a respective seven and three of, while he wasn’t dispossessed once, something that happened to Martial three times.
Finally, we have also used WhoScored to bring you these heatmaps from Anderson and Martial, which straight away, show us that the former had 29 more touches of the ball than the latter.
The ex-Lazio man’s heat map is on the left, his opposite numbers is on the right and it is not hard to see that he tracked back and stuck to his position, the lack of positional-awareness on the part of Martial can also be seen, the role the two players were playing not dissimilar, at all.
In conclusion, today’s tactical analysis has taught us that Anderson put in his best performance yet in a West Ham shirt on Saturday afternoon, proving of paramount importance to Pellegrini’s men in them making it three matches unbeaten and shooting up the PL table.
Now that he has netted his first goal, it will feel like a weight off his shoulders and should give him the freedom to push on in the weeks ahead and carry on improving in the way that he has been over the last few weeks, continuing to prove just why the East Londoners forked out so much for him in the summer.