West Ham United club-record signing Felipe Anderson responded to his critics on Saturday afternoon as Manuel Pellegrini’s men secured a vital 4-2 Premier League victory over Sean Dyche’s Burnley at London Stadium, moving them just five points off the top half and six points clear of the relegation zone.
Today, in the wake of the crucial win, we are going to carry out a statistics-driven tactical analysis of Anderson’s match-winning performance in East London, analysing his statistics, heatmap and comparing him to his opposite number on the day, to find out just how impressive he was as he silenced his doubters. Join us.
For the first phase of our analysis, and with the help of our good friends over at wyscout.com whom the below graphic is from, we are going to analyse the key general stats of Anderson, from that match.
These figures are taken from the full 100 minutes that the former Brazilian International spent on the field in Stratford and the first stat that we are drawn to is total actions and his rate of success in them.
Here, Anderson managed an incredible season-high 119 actions and successfully completed 77 of them or 65 per cent, however, as we can see, none of them were assists.
Playing on the left side of a front three, the ex-Lazio star was able to collect two goals, the second and third of his Hammers career, striking in the 68th and 84th minutes to twice restore his team’s lead, beating Joe Hart from two similar distances with two deserved goals.
The brace equated to an expected goals rating of 0.82, exceptionally high, but it wasn’t just scoring when Anderson proved a threat to the Clarets goal, it was the whole game, as evidenced by his five shots, four of which were on target and the only one off-target struck the post, just prior to his second goal.
Passing was another strong point of the 25-year-old’s display, achieving a completion rate of over 50% with both his 71 and nine short passes and trickier longer balls.
He delivered one cross in the remembrance match, it was an accurate one, giving him a 100% rate in that area and he almost registered the same when it came to his wonderful dribbling, completing six out of seven dribbles on an afternoon where few Burnley players could get near him.
His duelling figures, usually a weaker part when analysing his performance, were strong by his standards as he found himself embroiled in a combined total of 32 duels and aerial duels, winning 38% and 33% of them.
The image also tells us his reading of the game was up to scratch, making three interceptions and only losing the ball nine times, very low for the amount of it he saw, and the loss came in his own half on just two occasions. Anderson also recovered on ten occasions, 80% of the time in the opposition half.
Just out of picture on the right is his disciplinary record as he did pick up a single yellow card on an extremely busy afternoon for him, for a cynical foul in the 33rd-minute, but no red. If you look above his stats for the Burnley clash, you can see his career match average for them, making for an interesting comparison as this showing resoundingly beats his average.
As the rest of this comprehensive analysis will reveal, you hardly have to look at his other matches this season to realise this has been his best display since joining the Irons in the summer for a fee close to £50 million. With the figures we’ve just looked at, it could just be the best individual performance of any West Ham player, this term.
Heatmap And Touches
Next, we will take an in-depth look at his heatmap and number of touches in the one-sided affair that took until the final minutes for Pellegrini’s men to kill off. The rest of the stats and graphics have been provided by our good friends over at whoscored.com.
As aforementioned, Anderson was picked to play in his accustomed left forward role, within a front three also containing star man Marko Arnautovic and wonderkid Grady Diangana, hence why he spent much of the game on the left wing.
However, the heatmap tells us that he worked very hard to, in addition, pop up in other areas, including central ones and on the other side of the pitch to help his side out, using his pace and energy to track back a fair deal, something he has been criticised for not doing enough. His staggering 103 touches was the most of any player on the pitch.
For the third main part of this tactical analysis and to prove one last time just how excellent Anderson was in front of the 56,862 London Stadium faithful, we are going to compare him to his opposite number for Dyche’s team.
The star playing the left-wing role for the struggling visitors was former Tottenham Hotspur and England man Aaron Lennon, the above stats are the base on which we will pit the pair up against each other.
Firstly, we can see that Anderson managed a much higher WhoScored match rating than Lennon, with a near perfect 9.49 to his shoddy 5.96 out of ten, also having more shots than the man five years his senior, five more than his disappointing nought.
While Lennon was responsible for a meagre 1.7% share of the overall possession, Anderson trumped his with almost 10% of it, 8.8%, but his pass completion was inferior to the Burnley man’s 80%.
This is the only stat that the Englishman can win and one of only two, along with number of times dispossessing an opponent, two each, that he doesn’t lose.
The Brazil 2016 Olympic gold medallist takes the remaining three stats that either of the two could register something in, with three more attempted dribbles, one more aerial duels won, albeit he is taller and one more tackle, two to his one.
It hardly takes a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that there is only one clear winner when comparing the performances of Anderson and Lennon two days ago and that’s the Hammer. He wins six of the stats to his opponent’s one, with just one being drawn.
Responding To His Critics
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the display of the near-£50 million-man is that it was produced at a time he really needed it, at a time where pressure was building up on his shoulders from all angles and he had to respond to his critics.
This was following four below-par performances from the No8 in four winless games for his new club, in which he was both poor and ineffective, triggering criticism from the Claret & Blue Army, the media and his own manager. Even he knew he needed to get it right on the pitch and improve massively. Boy, did he?!
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that, through his two goals and the quality of his all-around performance, Anderson was quite literally the difference between winning and drawing or possibly losing a massive game, for West Ham.
He rose to the occasion to put in such a display a time where it would have been easy for him to curl up into his shell and hide in midfield, failing to stick his neck out in fear of yet more critics jumping on his back. But, the month of October must serve as a warning for the record summer arrival, he’s set the bar very high now, and must do everything in his power to reach it each time he dons West Ham colours, starting with next weekend, the fans will be expecting nothing less.