Winger Robert Snodgrass earned the club’s Man of the Match award as Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United took care of Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Saturday evening, comfortably beating them 0-2.
But just what led to the rejuvenated Scottish international earning the award, which was contested by a poll on Twitter after the match? Today, we’re going to find out by carrying out a statistics-driven tactical analysis on the 30-year-old’s performance in the rain of West London, join us.
First and foremost, we are going to take an in-depth look at the moment that will land Snodgrass’ terrific display the most acclaim, his 17th-minute goal. It was the Scotsman’s second Premier League strike in Claret & Blue and his second in as many games. This was having netted in last weekend’s 3-2 home win over Crystal Palace.
The goal, West Ham’s fifth earliest of the season, was particularly vital due to its timing, early in the match and in a period where the rock-bottom-of-the-table hosts were doing most of the pressing. In fact, home striker Aboubakar Kamara had just spurned the chance of the evening by failing to beat Lukasz Fabianski from a one-on-one situation.
West Ham’s 24th goal of the campaign itself came from an excellent forward ball by captain Mark Noble and the wonderful attacking play of in-form club-record signing Felipe Anderson with the assist. The Brazilian has been involved in more league goals than any other Hammer in 2018/2019.
Below, in the image provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com, we can see the ball on its way past goalkeeper Sergio Rico en-route to the left-hand top corner and Snodgrass recoiling on the edge of the area, in the wake of his powerful and accurate rocket.
This was after Anderson had glided past right-back Denis Odoi and with excellent vision, picked out the Scotland man on the edge of the area. Snodgrass netted his second in succession from outside the area, following his stunning London Stadium volley seven days previous.
From the Irons’ first real attack of the match, the strike settled them more into a game in which they had been second-best up until that point and provided the platform for Michail Antonio to double the advantage 12 minutes later, the team holding on for a two-goal triumph.
However, his crucial goal was far from the only reason Snodgrass’ display was adored so much. We will find out why it was picked out by members of the Claret & Blue Army amid many other eye-catching individual showings in our analysis.
Above is another Wyscout graphic of the man who spent the entirety of last season on loan at Aston Villa. It contains the key general statistics from Saturday’s London derby, and his career in general. Although it’s just the figures from two days ago we’re going to be focusing all of our attention on, it does make for an interesting comparison.
These stats will help to prove the overall supremacy of Snodgrass’ all-around performance starting on the far right hand side of a midfield four within a 4-2-2 by Pellegrini.
The first one we are drawn to beside a column displaying his right-wing positioning and the full 96 minutes he played at Fulham, having only missed one match in all competitions this season, is total actions and his rate of success in them.
On Saturday, he completed an above-average 75% successfully (48 of 64), along with his single aforementioned goal. As we can see, that came from his only shot of the match, giving him an expected goals rating of 0.17. Clinical.
Impressively, 87% of Snodgrass’ 39 short passes reached their intended recipient, coupled with one of his two trickier longer balls attempted. He was also in touch with his super crossing powers two days ago, getting a third of his crosses on the money.
Unsurprisingly for a dribbler of his skill, on each of the four occasions the Livingston Academy graduate took on a dribble, he came out of the other side with the ball. Though he would have wanted to have won more of his 30 combined duels and aerial duels as the East Londoners climbed to ninth, winning just 42% and 25% respectively.
Four interceptions is evidence of how much Snodgrass was able to help his side both break up play in a defensive and attacking sense, to ward off danger or start an attack.
Meanwhile, the Scot was only caught in possession nine times, no embarrassment for how much he saw of the ball. In his own half this happened just three times, while recovering on four occasions, once in the opposition half and four times in his own. A final respectable facet of the wide man’s evening from the image is the fact he collected no cards at the Cottage: he is the Iron with the most cards (6) under Pellegrini.
Overall, there can be little doubting that the figures are excellent and more than deserving of not just the Twitter Man of the Match award, but the official one, awarded to centre-back Fabian Balbuena for his role in keeping a third clean sheet of the term. Hammers fans have come to expect nothing different of Snodgrass though after the recovery of his West Ham career in the last few months.
Heatmap and touches
Finally in our analysis, with the help of the below graphic acquired from whoscored.com, we will be analysing Snodgrass’ heatmap and number of touches against the club a point adrift bottom of the PL pile.
First up is his number of touches, a busy 64, displaying how much he was involved as he and his teammates secured a third league away win since early August. This was the fourth most of any West Ham player and the eighth most on the pitch, including substitutes.
His heatmap in the right centre of the infographic furthers the claim of how energetic Snodgrass was and shows the crux of his 100%-giving never-say-die attitude on the football field. Despite being deployed on the right wing, he popped up quite literally here, there and everywhere, coming central like in the move for his goal and patrolling every inch of his flank, among other areas.
It was through his pivotal strike and the top-level quality of his performance that Snodgrass was voted Man of the Match by his fans, as he continues his meteoric rise to becoming a cult hero in his second year in East London.
Having endured a tough start to life at London Stadium, the star is now very much reaping the rewards of his hard work to get himself into Pellegrini’s plans. Saturday’s MotM display, as well as four goals and six assists this season, is hard evidence of that. In spite of being comfortably into his 30s, the sky seems to be the limit for Snodgrass at West Ham at present. His next chance to prove it is the third successive London derby against Watford next weekend.
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