West Ham has been on a warpath 12/38ths through the Premier League season. Most of the credit belongs to manager David Moyes and his brilliant formation change to the 5-4-1. Maybe it was his positive Covid test, that thank god didn’t result in worse symptoms, or maybe it’s just a really good manager proving why he ended up at Manchester United after Sir Alex. Since their 2-1 loss to Arsenal on match week 2, West Ham have been one of the top sides in the league.
The Hammers have won 6 of their 12 matches and sit 5th on 20 points. How could this be? Let’s take a look at 5 stats that tell the story of their season so far.
1. 6 Wins Against Clubs Outside the Big 6
West Ham have played just over half of their fixtures against the 13 other clubs considered outside of the Big 6. While their 18 points in 7 matches is second most behind Southampton, the Hammer have played 1 less game against the Other 14. Simply put, they’re taking care of business against their peers. More often than not, this is going to lead to a Top 10 finish. Just ask Leicester City.
2. 2 Shots Per Game
West Ham lead the Premier League with 2 shots per game inside the 6-yard box. However, they’ve only converted on 5 of their 24 chances. Eventually, the law of averages will work in West Ham’s favor and they will become more clinical in front of net. Their 20 goals is 8th most in the league and could be a number on the rise.
3. Aaron Cresswell’s 20 Chances Created
Aaron Cresswell sliding into the left side of a back 3, just behind a bombing Arthur Masuaku, has opened up chances for the fullback. His 4 assists are tied for 4th most in the Premier League. He’s also created 20 scoring chances, which is the most of any defender in the league. This could change with Masuaku out of the lineup, but Cresswell will return to his old left-back position and continue to be a problem out wide for opposing right-sided players.
4. 161 Minutes for Saïd Benrahma
The star signing of the summer got his first start in the Premier League this past Friday. Saïd Benrahma came over for what could be over $30 million from Brentford, but hasn’t started back-to-back matches. The Algerian is still bedding into the squad like Jarod Bowen last January. His performances have been great when on the pitch so this will likely change soon. Benrahma created 2 assists in his first 64 minutes of playing time this season. His ball carrying skills could be what Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio need for double-digit goals this campaign.
5. 12’4” Combined Height of Defensive Midfield
The towering combination of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek has bossed the midfield for West Ham this season. The duo began their exploits in early 2020 when Soucek came to London from the Czech Republic. He’s only pounced on 6 goals since his arrival while Rice has made a strong bid as the most talented, young English (kinda) defensive midfielder. The Hammers are second-to-last in the league with 42.2% possession per game. While we know possession doesn’t dictate the outcome of matches, it takes a great midfield to be successful when you’re not on the ball. Just ask Sheffield United who is last in possession and could be sacking their manager by Christmas.
Watch out for the Hammers. After their clash with Chelsea on December 21, they play Brighton, Southampton, Everton, West Brom, Burnley and Palace. These 6 matches could result in 12-15 points and have West Ham entering the second half of the season on fire.