It may not have been as easy as it looked on paper but Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United secured their place in the pot for Thursday’s Carabao Cup Round Three draw, with a first win of the campaign away at Neal Ardley’s AFC Wimbledon last night, now, it’s time to crunch at the statistics from the one-sided affair.
We always expected the Premier League visitors to dominate the possession against their League One counterparts at the Cherry Red Records Stadium and we were not disappointed in this respect.
The visitors managed an incredible 80.7% possession with the home side only recording an incredibly low 19.3, these dominating figures will be exactly what Pellegrini wants to see from his team, who ended up 1-3 victors in South West London.
When we move down to our second team statistic, total shots, as you would expect, the story is very much the same and once more, the figures are staggeringly high compared the Hammers’ opening three matches this season, understandably.
They got 28 efforts off at Kingsmeadow, that’s a whopping 26 more than the two their opponents from two divisions below ended up with, from the moment the Dons took a shock early lead, it was very much one-way traffic and with this number of attempts, it’s a wonder why it took the Irons so long to score.
Shots On Target
The clue very much lies when we analyse our next stat, shots on target, as just 11 (under half) of the visitors’ total shots were aimed directly at goal, suggesting that it was far from their strikers’ day.
Meanwhile, the Joe Pigott header that opened the scoring was the only effort on target the Dons conjured up, although this means half on their shots were on target. Against the ten-men of the home side, West Ham should have done a lot better in front of goal.
Pass completion rate is a potential area that we could have seen a surprise in, with a playing surface that the League One outfit are far more accustomed to playing on, than the Top-Flight team.
However, we didn’t and more than likely due to the intense pressing of Pellegrini’s men, just 55.7 per cent of Wimbledon passes reached their intended targets, compare that to 89.3 per cent for the East Londoners and we have a huge gulf-in-class.
For the second match running, the Irons were far from short of creativity and this is something that cannot be seen any more than in the key passes statistic, a measure of how many crucial, goal-making passes a team manages per match.
Pellegrini’s men, in their first few months under the Chilean veteran, came away with 24, many of which split the entire Wombles defence in half and were deadly in doing so, whereas often strangled and confined, just one was the number for Ardley’s boys.
Corners and set-pieces were perhaps where the two sides weren’t too far apart in terms of quality, they both had tall and physical players and the West Ham defence struggled to defend set-pieces throughout the 90 minutes.
However, for AFC to utilise their height and physicality, they had to have enough corners and they just didn’t with two, meanwhile, the away outfit could make one of their nine corners work on 83 minutes, when Angelo Ogbonna met Robert Snodgrass’ delivery to make it 1-2.
The clearances made statistic is a measure of how well an Xl defended as a unit and how much work they were subjected to, in this case, it reveals a very tiresome evening for the home side.
The Dons, playing in front of a sizeable home crowd, were forced to clear 42 balls and attacking movements that had strayed into their area and it must be said that a hat could have been taken off to their overall defensive performance, while the elite opponents only needed to make 14 clearances.
Don’t worry, we haven’t left the two goalkeepers out and we never do, including them in our eighth and final stat, saves made, which uncovers a rather easy-going night for one shot-stopper and a restless 90 minutes for the other.
Apart from getting a claw to but being unable to stop Pigott’s header to break the deadlock in the second minute, Adrian San-Miguel had no work to do whatsoever with zero saves, while Tom King tried his best to keep the visitors out, pulling off a seven saves to be marvelled at.
So, now that all the key stats have been well and truly crunched from a successful evening that had been a long time coming for Pellegrini’s West Ham, will we have yet more positive statistics to look back on come next Monday, after the Hammers have met with Nuno Santo’s Wolves at London Stadium in the Premier League? Join us once again then, to find out.