The veteran Frenchman has been training with Manuel Pellegrini’s squad over the ongoing International break and while the club are understood to not be interested in taking him on as a player, the speculation surrounding the 37-year-old and the Hammers hasn’t stopped.
A Familiar Face
Evra’s name will be very familiar to members of the Claret & Blue Army as he is a part of West Ham’s recent history, having plied his trade at London Stadium at the back end of last season.
The former Manchester United man was signed up on a similar short-term contract to the one that is being rumoured to be in contention now by then Irons boss David Moyes for the second half of the 2017/2018 season, but only made five appearances.
The dilemma that the Premier League and UEFA Champions League winner could be the short-term answer to is the one at left-back for the Hammers, the lack of a cemented first-choice option in the position.
Arthur Masuaku has mostly filled the role this season, with Aaron Cresswell being axed immediately after the Democratic Republic of Congo International was himself in August. And now, the ex-Olympiacos star’s place in the starting Xl looks to be under threat from Cresswell once again, following a match-costing error in the Premier League defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Now, with the help of our good friends over at wyscout.com, we have created a comparison of the three players, by looking at their key statistic averages, for the third phase of our stats-driven tactical analysis.
The key stat averages, presented in columns in the three images are taken from the English Top-Flight this season for Masuaku and Cresswell and in the case of Evra, from the same league, but for the Irons last season.
As you can see, their mini heatmaps display that each player sticks to his position well on the left side and likes to get forward, with Evra’s being a bit more central due to being deployed in the centre of defence by Moyes, on occasion.
When it comes to the first stat in the graphic, total actions and the success rate in them, Evra comes in third place with just 57.9 per cent of his actions being successful, Masuaku is ahead of him in second, behind Cresswell.
None of the three players scored, assisted, carried any form of goal threat or registered an average of more than 0.13 shots on target per 90 minutes, none of which were on target.
There is still no joy for Evra in terms of passes and long passes and how many of them were successful, ranking third in both up against Masuaku and Cresswell, further early signs that the two current Hammers stars are superior to the former France International.
The images also tell us that the story is very much the same for crosses and dribbles on the left flank in the aforementioned period, although Evra does tie Cresswell’s impressive 100% dribble success rate, though they both averaged just the one.
Duelling is clearly still a strong point of the 37-year-old’s game as he ranks second among the trio in termed of duels and aerial duels, winning 36.7% and 27.4% of his average of 17.3 and 3.91, per match.
Once again, Evra’s respectable average of 4.27 interceptions is better than Cresswell’s, but not Masuaku’s, although these are signs that he doesn’t lack the defensive capabilities required in the PL.
While you can see that this isn’t the worst of the three defenders, the fact that over 50% and under 30% of Evra’s respective losses and recoveries came in his own half and the opposition half, is worrying.
To his credit, the serial winner in Europe does have the best disciplinary record with a totally clean one, having picked up no cards during his one and only spell in East London so far, Masuaku averaging 0.13 and Creswell 0.94, this season.
However, this is little consolation as Evra ends up second or third best in all the general and defensive stats provided by Wyscout in our analysis, proving that he struggles to match up to the two players that would be in front of him, should he re-sign for Pellegrini’s men.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis has found that, in all likelihood and according to the stars, the journeyman Evra is not the answer to West Ham’s left-back problem, as the two players jostling for the position are far superior to him.
The answer to the puzzling conundrum in the short-term for Pellegrini and his staff may well be to keep rotating the two stars until one edges his nose in front and keeps it there, until a third left-back, who will push the pairing to perform better, can be found in the January or summer transfer window.