Club-record summer signing Felipe Anderson continued his sensational West Ham United form in a third consecutive Premier League win on Saturday afternoon, to the tune of 3-2 over Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace at London Stadium.
Today, through a statistics-driven tactical analysis, we are going to be taking an in-depth look at how the former Brazilian international managed to do this for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, coupling an electric display with his sixth league goal of the 2018/2019 season so far. Join us.
Firstly, we will be analysing Anderson’s goal in East London, a strike that was his fifth goal in the space of just six matches for the Hammers, four of which they have picked up all three points in.
The man in red-hot form delivered the decisive goal in the 65th minute of the clash in which his team made it three victories in the space of seven days. This was a crucial time as the hosts had just scored twice, coming from behind to lead, with Anderson’s effort virtually putting the encounter to bed as a contest.
Pellegrini’s Irons had enjoyed chances to give themselves a two-goal cushion before the winger who is setting the PL alight in his debut campaign struck, following a spectacular equaliser from Robert Snodgrass and trademark close-range finish from Javier Hernandez.
But Anderson was to conjure something up from next-to-nothing in terms of a goalscoring opportunity, being given the ball on the edge of the Palace box by Chicharito. It was more of a crossing opportunity than anything else.
However, as we can see from the below graphic provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com, there was only one thing on the No8’s mind, Wayne Hennessey’s goal.
Above, the ball is bulging the back of the net in the top right-hand corner directly from the boot of Anderson as he launched a curling effort that dumbfounded the Eagles goalkeeper and was only ever destined to make the scoreline 3-1.
This was no ordinary way to score and no ordinary goal, instead, undoubtedly the best strike of his short career in Claret & Blue thus far and an early contender for West Ham Goal of the Season, Goal of the Month and Premier League Goal of the Month. It also proved to be the winning goal, with Jeffrey Schlupp poaching a late consolation for the visitors.
For the main phase of our analysis, we have acquired the below graphic, once again from Wyscout, which contains the key general statistics of the winger captured from Lazio for a fee exceeding £40 million in June from four days ago.
As we can see, the image also includes Anderson’s career average figures for these statistics per 90 minutes, although it’s just the column for the Crystal Palace match that we’re going to be focussing our attention on today, it does make for an interesting comparison.
These figures will prove that the early contender for Hammer of the Year and the club’s top-scorer this term so far’s Man of the Match performance at the weekend wasn’t just all about his stunning goal, for it was one of overriding quality and arguably his best in East London thus far.
The first stat we are drawn to, beside a column displaying his left-wing positioning within the 4-2-2 set out by Pellegrini and the 87 minutes he played at London Stadium, before being replaced by Pedro Obiang as his team held on for the triumph, is total actions and his rate of success in them.
In Stratford, the Hammers star man recording a busy 83, 51 or 61 per cent of which were completed successfully, along with his aforementioned pivotal goal on 65 minutes. But the Brazilian failed to register a second direct league assist of 18/19, despite it being his free-kick that Hennessey parried into the path of Hernandez for the second goal.
Three overall shots with two-thirds of them coming on target displays that the 25-year-old could have scored more on the day, in addition to a handsome expected goals rating of 0.32.
It would be another solid afternoon of passing for Anderson, who has more than lived up to his club-record signing on fee so far, with around 70% of both his 42 and six short passes and long passes reaching their intended recipient, unlike all four of his crosses. Crossing would have been one of the only things he was left disappointed with at the end of a very productive day at the office.
The same can’t be said of the man 12th in the overall PL scoring charts this term when it comes to dribbling, impressively completing eight of his ten attempted dribbles. Though this is no surprise for a player of his skill.
Duelling will never be a strong point of the game of a star like Anderson, in spite of managing to win 11 of 26 duels against the Eagles, not getting involved in a single aerial duel.
Defensively on the left flank, his defensive side often drawing criticism, Anderson was able to help out with six interceptions and as you can see, only two of his losses arrived in his own half. Meanwhile, two out of two recoveries were positioning in the opposition half and he failed to pick up a single card in front of the 56,995 fans, who he mostly dazzled.
There can be little doubting that these figures are mightily impressive and eye-catching, up there with some of the best of his couple of months in English football thus far. They also helped Anderson continue his incredible form, which has not looked like going away since the start of November.
Heatmap and touches
Next in this tactical analysis, and with the help of the image below which has been provided by our good friends over at whoscored.com, we will be closing by analysing Anderson’s heatmap and number of touches from three days ago.
First, we see his number of touches from an entertaining London derby affair at London Stadium, a fantastic 67. This many touches of the ball show us just how much the winger was involved in proceedings, it was the fifth most of any home player and the seventh most of any player on the pitch, including the substitutes.
From Anderson’s heatmap just below his number of touches, we can gather that understandably, he spent most of his 87 minutes on the field of play out on the left wing. However, he also got back on his side to help out the defence and dropped into midfield when he needed, making a nuisance of himself often in the opposing box and even appearing on the opposite flank. Here there and everywhere, a credit to his energy, attitude and work rate.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that through his sensational second-half strike that handed his new team a victory that temporarily took them into the top half for the first time this season and the statistical quality of his overall performance, Anderson was able to continue his sensational West Ham form on Saturday.
Matching the side’s wonderful form, if he can keep playing this way and avoid slipping in a similar fashion to the way he did after his first Irons goal in late September, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight for the hot streak Anderson. He will only be hoping he can keep it up for as long as possible, starting with Saturday evening’s trip to face Fulham.
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