Thursday, 21 February 2013

West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Monday 25th February 2013
Boleyn Ground

West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Head to Head
35% Head to Head Win% 40%
67 Won 76
48 Drawn 48
76 Lost 67
264 Scored 300
300 Conceded 264

L D L L W L Recent Form   L D W W W D 
5 Goals Scored 8
9 Goals Conceded 6

Mark Noble Form Player Gareth Bale
65.44 Average Capello Index Rating Last 6 Games 73.83
1 Goals 6
2 Assists 0

66.9 Average Capello Index Rating Season 66.51
24 Appearances 31
4 Goals 17
2 Assists 3
35 Chances Created 59
1,335 Passes 892
1,009 Completed 700
76% %Completed 78%


When playing against one of the top teams in the division it can often be a real challenge to settle upon who is likely to provide the most danger in the forthcoming match. Tottenham Hotspur have a number of top class attacking threats (Aaron Lennon, Mousa Dembele, Emmanuel Adebayor, Lewis Holtby), and some quality defensive players (Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Steven Caulker, Scott Parker). But their true danger man is clear for everyone to see: Gareth Bale.

If West Ham want to get anything from Monday’s game against Tottenham, they will need to contain a player who has scored 6 goals in his last 6 games, and 15 in 27 for the season.

“Impossible!”, you might think. But there could be a way.

According to the Capello Index, Bale’s best and worst performances have come in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa, and the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion, respectively.

Against Villa, Bale had 84 touches of the ball (team average 51), whilst against West Brom he managed just 50 (team average 49). It seems simple, but the best way to keep Bale quiet is to keep the ball away from him. Easier said than done.

The key difference in the way West Brom & Aston Villa defended against Bale is clear when looking into average positions in the games. The first two images shows the West Brom game (Tottenham = Blue; West Brom = Orange).

The Tottenham team were pressed back by the West Brom attackers, with Bale (# 11) the furthest man forward. You can see that West Brom played a brave tactic that day, with both fullbacks (# 2 & 6) pushing high up the pitch in support of the wide midfielders, particularly on the right wing. As a result, Tottenham’s left back (Assou-Ekotto # 32) was pressed back, and was unable to help Bale in attack. In turn, 41% of Tottenham attacks coming down the right wing, away from Bale.

Compare this to Bale’s strongest performance, against Aston Villa (Tottenham = Orange; Aston Villa = Blue). Villa played a deep and narrow defensive game, with only Christian Benteke’s (# 20) average position in the opposition half.

As a result of this, the Tottenham fullback’s (Kyle Naughton # 16 & Kyle Walker # 28) were able to push high up the pitch in support of the wingers, allowing Lennon (# 7) and, in particular, Bale to push inside and attack the box.

Bale had a field day. He scored a hat-trick, had seven shots on goal, created four goalscoring opportunities for his team mates, had six successful dribbles, and whipped in an astonishing 17 crosses.

Based on these games, the clearest recommendation I can give is that West Ham need to play a back 4. Aston Villa attempted to play a fluid back 3/5 and were completely demolished by Bale.

If West Ham are to take anything from the game, Big Sam should play an adventurous 4-2-3-1, pushing the fullbacks on and suppressing Tottenham’s fullbacks from roaming forward.

This Tottenham Hotspur don't have many weak links but the way in which West Brom suppressed their attacking talents shows that the key to getting a positive result is the fullbacks. If West Ham’s fullbacks stay deep in their own half, Tottenham will press forward and outnumber the backline. They must get up in support of the wide men, who, in turn, must provide a constant supply line of crosses into the central striker.

There aren't many of them, but one of the areas where West Ham do have a clear advantage is in the air. Andy Carroll is likely to start against Tottenham, and he has won 63% of aerial battles this season. Now, I'm not suggesting that Tottenham's defenders are weak in the air, far from it, but they are far less practiced in this element than the West Ham strikers. Between them Caulker, Dawson, Gallas & Vertonghen have contested a total of 234 aerial battles this season (winning 57%). Andy Carroll has contested 208 on his own.

It is also important to remember that West Ham are a completely different proposition at home. They have more shots per game at home, the players dribble at the opposition more often at home, and, most importantly, they actually score goals at home. We have the 10th best home record in the division, and it's this home form that is likely to keep the side in the Premier League.

It would be easy for me to make predictions about the result of the game, but it really depends on what West Ham team turn up. Playing conservatively against the 3rd best away record in the league, and the divisions form player is suicide. But, if Big Sam sends his team out with some attacking intent, there is always a chance we can take something from the game. Stranger things have happened.

Oh, and if someone could send Gareth Bale a lasagne, that’d be great.

Last Meeting
25th November 2012

1:0 Jermain Defoe 44’
2:0 Gareth Bale 58’
3:0 Jermain Defoe 64’
3:1 Andy Carroll 82’

4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Jussi Jääskeläinen – Hugo Lloris
Joey O’Brien – Kyle Walker
James Tomkins – Michael Dawson
Winston Reid – Steven Caulker
George McCartney – Jan Vertonghen
Mark Noble – Sandro
Mohamed Diamé – Tom Huddlestone
Gary O’Neil – Aaron Lennon
Kevin Nolan – Clint Dempsey
Modibo Maïga – Gareth Bale
Andy Carroll – Jermain Defoe

Andy Carroll Best Performer Jermain Defoe
65.18 Capello Index Rating 75.29
Joey O’Brien Worst Performer Clint Dempsey
60.18 Capello Index Rating 57.25

Joey O’Brien (WHU)
George McCartney (WHU)
James Collins (WHU)
Jermain Defoe (TH)
Younnes Kaboul (TH)
Sandro (TH)


Opposition Last Time Out
vs Olympique Lyonnais

1:0 Maxime Gonalons 17
1:1 Mousa Dembele 90

Best Player: Gareth Bale
Capello Index Rating: 82.83
Worst Player: Emmanuel Adebayor
Capello Index Rating: 58.88

Top 5’s (minimum 5 apps)

Goals Scored
Kevin Nolan 6 – 17 Gareth Bale
Mark Noble 4 – 15 Jermain Defoe
Modibo Maïga 4 – 8 Clint Dempsey
Andy Carroll 2 – 3 Aaron Lennon
Carlton Cole 2 – 3 Emmanuel Adebayor

Passing Accuracy
Mohamed Diamé 82.8% - 91.3% Mousa Dembele
Jack Collison 82.4% - 90.5% William Gallas
Mark Noble 82.3% - 88.3% Steven Caulker
Guy Demel 81.4% - 86.7% Jack Livermore
Joe Cole 80.7% - 86.3% Jan Vertonghen

Chances Created per game
Joe Cole 2.0 – 2.3 Gareth Bale
Mark Noble 1.5 – 2.1 Mousa Dembele
Andy Carroll 1.5 – 2.1 Aaron Lennon
Matt Jarvis 1.3 – 1.8 Kyle Walker
Jack Collison 1.2 – 1.3 Emmanuel Adebayor

Tackles per game
Mark Noble 4.0 – 3.3 Sandro
Mohamed Diamé 3.8 – 3.0 Mousa Dembele
George McCartney 2.0 – 2.8 Kyle Naughton
Winston Reid 1.8 – 2.8 Jan Vertonghen
James Collins 1.8 – 2.0 Scott Parker

Aerial Duels Won per game
Andy Carrol 10.1 – 2.4 Steven Caulker
Carlton Cole 4.3 – 2.2 Michael Dawson
James Collins 3.8 – 2.0 Clint Dempsey
James Tomkins 2.9 – 1.8 Jan Vertonghen
Winston Reid 2.5 – 1.8 Kyle Naughton

Sam Allardyce - Andre Villas-Boas
44% Current Club Win% 50%
36 Won 19
21 Drawn 11
24 Lost 8

40% Managerial Career Win% 58%
332 Won 94
221 Drawn 35
272 Lost 32

2 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 3

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