West Ham United youngster Grady Diangana was the shining light on what was a very dark Halloween night for Manuel Pellegrini’s men three days ago, as they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur amid a number of crowd disturbances at London Stadium.
Ahead of this afternoon’s vital Premier League home clash with Burnley for the Hammers, we carry out a statistics-driven tactical analysis of the Academy of Football product’s display in the 1-3 defeat to Mauricio Pochettino’s men, what was his second consecutive start for the senior team, join us.
Firstly, with the help of our good friends over at wyscout.com, whom every graphic in this analysis is from, we’re going to take an in-depth look at his key general statistics from the Round Four cup tie.
The image also contains his stats from every other first-team appearance this season, what has been his breakthrough campaign at senior level, and the averages of them, but it’s just the Spurs match that we’re focussing our attention on today.
The first stat we are drawn to is total actions and his rate of success in them for the full 97 minutes, which is not his most flattering figure from the game, as he completed only 40 of his busy 76 or just 53 per cent.
Despite proving a constant threat to the Tottenham defence on the right side of the front three and being arguably the Irons’ best attacker, he failed to register a goal or an assist on Halloween night and only possessed an expected goals rating of 0.01 against one of the best defences in the world.
Diangana could only manage a single shot, a first-half volley that was off target but his passing stats were eye-catching, as we can see, completing 23 of his 31 (74%) short passes and three out of three of his longer trickier passes, a 100% record.
Often needing to hang out wide in order to find space, one of his two crosses was accurate, that’s every other cross and he completed 67% (six of nine) of his dribbles on a night where he never looked like he was going to give it away when he had the ball at his feet.
Running at defenders with his lightning pace, the 20-year-old found himself embroiled in 32 duels, winning almost half of them and losing out in his only aerial duel, not being the tallest.
His two interceptions displayed his born-talent for reading the game and he was only dispossessed, losing the ball, on eight occasions with only one coming in his own half, whilst Diangana recovered four times, 75% of the time in the opposition half, not picking up any form of card on the night.
For a starlet in only his fourth senior appearance, having scored twice on his first-team debut, the 8-0 thrashing of Macclesfield Town in the previous round of the League Cup, facing a Spurs team packed with world-class talent, these figures are very impressive. But West Ham fans have come to expect no less from him since his senior berth under Pellegrini.
For the second of two main phases of this analysis, we are going to be analysing the below heatmap, which is Diangana’s from yet another head-turning display in Claret & Blue on Wednesday.
As you can see, the man who’s got many members of the Claret & Blue Army very excited for the future over the last two months mainly operated on the right flank, having been started in a front three alongside Javier Hernandez and Michail Antonio.
As well as sticking to his position and making himself a huge presence in his area, Diangana still tracked back to help out right-back Ryan Fredericks and was not afraid to come centrally to help the attack. The time he spent on the left side of the field was when swapping wings with the struggling Felipe Anderson, this heatmap displays his energy and versatility.
Performing Despite The Team Not Doing So
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Diangana’s latest performance, along with every other outstanding shift he has put in under Pellegrini in recent weeks, is that it has come in a time where the team haven’t been doing so well.
Wednesday’s team performance was criticised from afar in the footballing world and it saw the East Londoners go four matches in all competitions without a win, three of which Diangana has featured and performed to a high standard in. This displays that the youngster is capable of being the shining light in any dark team display and result.
The Immediate Future
Having held down his place in Pellegrini’s regular starting Xl for two matches in succession now (a draw away at Leicester City in the league and the Spurs cup loss) following the injury to Andriy Yarmolenko, the overwhelming majority are tipping Diangana to carry on in the side.
After earning praise from his manager in his post-match press conference in East London three days ago, it would be a major shock if the starlet who has been with the club since he was a child, was dropped for today’s visit of Sean Dyche’s Clarets. If Diangana carries on like this, he would need to do a lot wrong to lose his starting spot.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that, once again, Diangana was exceptional for West Ham as they exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of the Lilywhites, highly impressing in another match where the East London outfit failed to come away with the result that they wanted.
As he’s set to show the footballing universe once more when he makes his third first-team start in succession on this Saturday afternoon, along with a number of his former Academy teammates, Diangana could well be the future of the Hammers. And what a bright future it looks to be with unbelievable talents like him starting to come through.