Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United travel to face Unai Emery’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium later today in the Premier League, on the third matchday of the 2018/2019 season, this afternoon, we take a look at how the two sides compare statistically, in an aim to predict how the game will pan out in North London.
Both today’s hosts and the visitors are still searching for their first victory of the campaign and first points, having inflicted a pair of defeats so far, they will be equally determined to get them.
The Irons lost their opening day clash with Liverpool 4-0 at Anfield and were hoping to bounce back the following weekend when they welcomed AFC Bournemouth to London Stadium, but couldn’t, falling to two losses on the spin, to the tune of 1-2.
It is clear to see that the Gunners, in their first term under the Spaniard Emery, have had the tougher start, hosting the reigning PL champions Manchester City on the first matchday and losing out comfortably, before going to Chelsea and suffering the same fate.
However, there is hope for Arsenal as they have dominated the head-to-head record between these two, not a good sign for the Irons, with 65 wins to the East Londoners’ 34 and 39 draws, out of a staggering 168 meetings since the first in 1906.
For the comparison part of our tactical and statistical analysis, we have adopted the help of our friends over at Squawka, using their Player Comparison Matrix to statistically compare the two sides.
As you can see from the graphic, we have selected four statistics with which we are going to compare the Gunners and the Hammers, all taken from the 2017/2018 Premier League season where the clubs finished sixth and 13th respectively.
It is not hard to see that Arsenal are the dominant force here in their final season under Arsene Wenger, when pitted against a West Ham that was managed by first Slaven Bilic and then David Moyes, and spent much of the season battling relegation.
Our first statistic is goals-scored, which is won by a landslide by the North Londoners as they managed to net 72 in the league, compared to their London rivals’ 43, that’s a difference of 29.
Both sides ranked in the top eight of PL goals scored last term so these figures suggest we may have a high-scoring encounter on our hands here, especially with the summer business that Pellegrini has done to bolster his attack force, including bringing in Arsenal players Jack Wilshere and Lucas Perez.
In addition, the London clubs made their attacks stronger for last season, the former bringing in the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a club-record fee and the latter, players like top-scorer Marko Arnautovic and second-top-scorer Javier Hernandez.
The expectance of plenty of goalmouth action is furthered when we look down at the goals-conceded column as Emery’s men and the Gamers both let in an exceptionally high number of strikes.
West Ham, had statically, the joint-worst defence in the league and the hosts weren’t far behind, letting in 65 and 50, despite once again, making signings in these areas, it might not be a day for defenders at the Emirates.
Our third stat is much closer and it involves clean sheets, games where the team in question fails to concede a goal, something which the then Wenger’s men recorded ten of and the then Moyes’ men managed eight.
We are likely to see two completely different goalkeepers to last season in North London, so it will be interesting to see who is more keen to get that clean sheet, neither team have managed one so far this campaign.
8 and 10 are low numbers in terms of clean sheets, around a quarter of the 38 outings that will be enjoyed by a PL outfit throughout a season, something that both will hope to improve on in 2018/2019.
The fourth and final statistic that we are using is an interesting one as it totals up each stat that Squawka has to offer on the clubs and comes up with a total score, the higher the better.
There is a huge gulf-in-class in this case, with the UEFA Europa League semi-finalists registering a combined score of 6155.18, which is 4210.01 more than the relegation strugglers for two consecutive seasons, who weighed in with 1945.17.
In conclusion, our analysis has found that in today’s encounter, on paper, anyway, there can only be one winner at the Emirates Stadium, but as the old football cliché states, “football isn’t played on paper, it’s played on a pitch and anything can happen.”
While these stats don’t, that saying will give Pellegrini and his men confidence as the Premier League’s 17th and 19th-placed sides go head-to-head, and one thing is for sure, we shouldn’t be short of goals and entertainment in the capital.