Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek have been utterly dominant for West Ham since the beginning of the 2021-22 Premier League season. The duo should have every team worrying about West Ham United. They provide a phenomenal base for West Ham as they naturally shield the defence which makes it very difficult to attack the team and virtually impossible to counter-attack.
Rice and Soucek have that understanding between them and act according to the tempo of the game. If it is Rice who is pressing higher up the pitch, then Soucek holds back to prevent any through passes played into the final third and vice versa. The two of them are very physical and most opponents cannot go toe-to-toe with them. Both are huge threats going forward and are also a threat to the opposition when West Ham have set pieces in dangerous positions.
Let’s take a look at what the stats have to say about the midfield duo:
The heatmap for Declan Rice indicates that he has been playing on the left side of this pivot and has been an important figure when it comes to winning the ball back for his team. Rice has been West Ham’s key defensive anchor and his desire to push forward has helped West Ham break the press and start quick counterattacks. He has an absolutely pivotal defensive role as he has the power, speed and mobility to do the work of two players in there.
Soucek is more of a box to box midfielder and he often picks up the ball, feeds it wide or forward and then continues his runs to get up and support the attacks. As seen in his heatmap we can see Soucek has been there in both halves in most matches doing the same.
Declan Rice has completed a high number of defensive interceptions as he plays a deeper role than Soucek in the midfield. He has completed a higher number of interceptions when the opposition players attempted a through pass. Rice has also made a few interceptions in the opposition half when he pressed the opposition higher up the pitch.
Soucek was one of the best defensive midfielders last season and completed a high number of defensive actions for West Ham. He has been doing the same for them this season as we can see that he has made a high number of interceptions.
xT from Passes
Rice has been playing on the left side of the pitch as seen in his heatmaps and has attempted most passes to his left-back, Aaron Cresswell. Rice has a very high xT from the passes he has attempted to his full-backs as well as to the West Ham attacking players.
As Soucek plays on the right side of the midfield, he has made the highest number of passes to his right back and international teammate Vladimir Coufal and has a high xT from the passes that he has played to him. He also has a high expected threat from the passes he has played to his attackers.
Declan Rice has been the better of the duo when it comes to playing passes into the final third and creating a threat with those passes. The English midfielder has provided two assists so far in the seven games he has played for the Hammers. As we can see in the above visual, the passing stats are better than most of the players in the league. He has a high accuracy percentage of playing passes into the final third and has attempted approximately 14 forward passes per 90 minutes.
While Rice is the better passer of the two, Soucek has performed his defensive actions better and has been a vital part of the team to stop the opposition’s attacks. Soucek had attempted the most number of aerial duels last season, and has attempted 6.67 aerial duels per 90 minutes this season.
The Hammers have a special partnership forming in the midfield and that can see them go far. Moyes can surround them with trickier players to keep West Ham dangerous, knowing that his midfield pairing can shut teams out and keep things solid at the back. West Ham will be facing Everton after the international break and will look to get back to the form they had at the start of the season.