West Ham’s resurgence under David Moyes has been remarkable. From struggling to finish mid-table to competing with top sides for a top-four finish in the Premier League, West Ham have overturned their fortunes massively. Last season West Ham finished sixth in the league, just two points behind Chelsea, who finished fourth, thereby qualifying for the Europa League. It was a significant achievement for the club as it was their second top-six finish since the beginning of the Premier League era. While most of the talk has been around the ‘big-six’ clubs of the league, it is the Hammers who have undoubtedly raised a challenge to those clubs.
The Hammers are off to a flying start this season in all competitions. Last week they climbed up to the fourth spot in the Premier League, dominating Aston Villa 4-1. In 10 league games, West Ham are level on points with title holders Manchester City with six wins, two draws and two losses. They remain undefeated in the Europa League group stage fixtures and are yet to concede a single goal. In addition to that, they have knocked out both the Manchester giants, United and City, in the Carabao Cup and progressed to the quarter-finals.
The upcoming weekend will mark a milestone for David Moyes, as he will undertake his 1000th game as a manager. West Ham’s recruitment policy in the past couple of seasons has also been noteworthy, as they have signed various players who have been under the radar with vast talent and potential. The likes of Benrahma, Soucek, Bowen and Coufal, have all played a prominent role for West Ham this season.
While 10 games are still too early to judge whether the Hammers can achieve a top-four finish, their performances across all competitions this season have nonetheless warranted a discussion. Let’s analyze some stats and see how West Ham fare in comparison to other teams vying for the top-four spot.
West Ham’s expected goals, and expected goals per 90, places them at the third spot in the league. This indicates that they have been consistently creating high-quality goal-scoring chances in their matches, and are placed above league leaders Chelsea and just behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Hammers’ shots from the inside penalty box and average shots from the inside penalty box per 90 indicate just how frequently they have been successful in penetrating the opposition defense. Michail Antonio, in particular, has been in brilliant form for the Hammers this season. He is currently third among the top scorers with six goals. The Hammers are placed at the third spot in terms of shots from the inside penalty box, just behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The midfield duo of Soucek and Rice has allowed West Ham to dominate the proceedings in the midfield. So far this season, they have scored two league goals and added a further six assists. Soucek usually acts as a shield for West Ham’s defense, while Rice has been given the liberty to push forward. In addition to the threat they pose going forward, the duo has allowed West Ham to control match tempo, as indicated by the chart above. They are placed at the fourth spot in terms of match tempo and fifth in terms of open play possession for more than 45 seconds.
Defensively, the Hammers have been solid, compact and robust this season. In terms of successful aerial duels and successful aerial duels per 90, they are placed at the sixth spot in the league, indicating their high success rate when it comes to aerial duels. This can be attributed to the horde of physical players utilized by West Ham in their starting XI.
West Ham did not shy away from shooting at the opposition goal in their previous game against Aston Villa. They took a total of 20 shots with eight shots on target. Their shot accuracy of 40% was impressive. Additionally, they had nine players who took at least one shot.
David Moyes has been applauded by pundits and peers alike for his overhaul of the Hammers. Within a space of two seasons, he has transformed them into a force to be reckoned with. With ten games into the Premier League, West Ham have made a statement with their performances that they deserve a spot among the top. In terms of benchmarking stats, the hammers have been placed amongst the top teams regularly this season. The atmosphere around the London Stadium is optimistic. If West Ham continue their brilliant performances as the season progresses, they can genuinely be considered a challenger for the top-four spot.