After 12 matches of the new Premier League season, Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United sit 13th in the table in the wake of a mixed start to the first campaign under the Chilean veteran, but what do the stats look like when you peer beyond the early standings?
Today, we are going to carry out a statistics-driven tactical analysis to find out, analysing how the Hammers have ranked in eight key PL statistics in 2018/2019 so far and therefore, the real areas the club have shone in and those that they desperately need to improve in post-this international break and beyond.
Wins – 13th
The first of the eight PL team stats we are going to be looking at is number of wins and as we can see from the below image, like all the other graphics in this analysis, provided by the Premier League’s official website, premierleague.com, the Irons rank 13th out of the 20 sides.
Pellegrini’s men’s only victories in the league thus far have come over Everton at Goodison Park in September and at home to Manchester United and Burnley, the former of which was also in September and the latter the side’s most recent triumph early this month.
This is certainly an area for the East Londoners to improve, they are the only outfit in the division with solely three wins to their name thus far and this will be especially disappointing considering the fact that they’ve dropped the most points from winning positions this term.
Losses – 9th
As you can see, the Hammers are ranked ninth in the English top-flight for losses thus far and higher than their position in wins, something Pellegrini and his staff definitely wouldn’t have wanted to see, with double the number of losses than they have wins.
West Ham started the 18/19 campaign with four consecutive defeats, losing out to Liverpool, AFC Bournemouth, Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers and while they have only been defeated twice, by Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion, since, only eight teams have lost more.
Touches – 13th
Whilst the East London outfit have still been seeing a lot more of the ball than they have in previous seasons and under previous managers, they still sit 13th in total touches, their exact league position.
The fact that sides below them such as Crystal Palace and Fulham have had more touches this term does mean that the Irons have made their touches of the ball count on a lot more occasions, it will still be of concern that they are in the bottom half.
Cards – Yellow: 1st, Red: 13th
Now, we move onto cards, both yellow and red, and it may surprise you to learn that, despite the perceived change of style in the Irons’ play, from a more rugged to a free-flowing style, they have still racked up the most yellow cards in the Premier League this season.
Winger Robert Snodgrass has been the main culprit with five, meaning he misses the next match against Manchester City. However, it will please the Hammers to know that of the teams to have seen a red card this term, they have the joint-lowest total, Marko Noble’s away at Leicester City last month being the only one.
Goals – 11th
One stat where West Ham are punching above their weight in terms of ranking compared to league position is goals scored, no surprise considering Pellegrini is now in charge at London Stadium, the man that led the Citizens to breaking the PL scoring record for a single campaign.
As the above image tells us, they sit 11th on 14 goals scored, to go with a not-so-clever 18 goals conceded, three below Watford above and one in front of Brighton below. The most the East Londoners’ have scored in a single match is four, doing so in an early-November 4-2 beating of Sean Dyche’s Clarets.
Passes – 12th
With West Ham being 13th in the standings at the time of the third international break of campaign, it is a positive that they weigh in at a place above in terms of completed passes. Excellent passing being one of the trademarks of Pellegrini’s style.
There can be little doubting that the team which welcomed nine new arrivals in the summer have passed well thus far, dazzling supporters with an excellent array of passes and some superb team moves. This is evidenced by them only falling under 80 per cent pass completion for a match a handful of times and making nearly 5,000 passes, thus far.
Tackles – 1st
Another relative shock arrives in our next stat and the second one where the East London club top the charts ahead of the other 19 teams in the division for, this is total tackles, a surprise because, once again, Pellegrini’s teams are more known for their ‘Tiki-taka’ rather than their tackling.
But 242 tackles sees them at the top of the pile, six ahead of second-place Huddersfield Town, who were their last opponents in a 1-1 draw at the John Smith’s Stadium, only the second draw that they’ve been involved in, in 18/19, the other coming at home to Chelsea. This displays that the players are still getting the fundamentals right and remembering the need to be robust, as well as playing football that is easy-on-the-eye.
— West Ham Matters (@WestHamMatters_) 16 November 2018
Clean Sheets – 19th
Our final team stat for the season so far that we’re going to be analysing the Hammers’ rank in is clean sheets and this is not a good one to close on, as it is their worst ranking of this analysis and undoubted worse, overall.
With one clean sheet, Pellegrini’s Irons sit in 19th place with one, a figure that has only been matched by United above them on alphabetical order, with Fulham being the only team worse off with zero clean sheets. This stat is hard to believe with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski the signing of the summer, but it has been a fine line for the side, conceding just one goal seven times.
As we reach the end of this tactical analysis, it’s clear that there are plenty of positives and plenty of positive rankings, statistically, for Pellegrini and his staff to take from the first third of the Premier League season. However, equally there are some negatives and team stats in need of serious improvement, expect these improvements to come with an easier, on paper, run of fixtures until the new year.