Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Player Spotlight: Mohamed Diamé

# 21
Mohamed Diamé
DOB: 14/06/1987
Position: Midfielder

West Ham United Career
Joined: 20/06/2012
From: Wigan Athletic
Reported Fee: Free Transfer

Appearances: 23(2)
Goals: 2
Assists: 0
Average Capello Index Rating: 63.19

Debut: 18/08/2012 vs Aston Villa
Debut Goal: 06/10/2012 vs Arsenal

When Mohamed Diamé was announced as West Ham United's first major summer signing after promotion back to the Premier League, it's fair to say there was a bit of mixed reaction. Some thought Mo was a bargain free transfer for a player who had been linked with Liverpool only weeks before signing, whilst other's thought his hefty wages and his failure to regain a spot in the Wigan Athletic midfield from James McArthur at the back end of last season meant the transfer was doomed to fail.

Since then, Diamé has become a bit a fans favourite at the Boleyn Ground, with some of his early season performances leading to the player being described as a kind of Yaya Touré-lite. In fact, his form was to such a high standard that he was linked with all manor of clubs in the January transfer window.

Mo has shown this season that he is by far the most mobile of our midfielders, with a far greater ability to carry the ball than his peers. This is completely supported by the statistics. Comparing West Ham's regular central midfielders this season, it becomes blindingly clear how different Diamé's game is. Diamé's 2.6 successful dribbles per 90 minutes is much higher than all of his competitors, and is actually higher than the total of all the other midfielders.

In his best performances fro the club, Diamé has been everywhere, popping up all over the pitch stealing the ball from the opposition and driving at defenders from every which way. The following chart shows Diamé's heat map against Chelsea at the Boleyn, when he was introduced at half time.


However, since the transfer window has closed, Diamé hasn't quite looked himself. In the 8 games since returning from injury, Mo hasn't performed in the way that we know he is capable of. It seems reasonable, therefore, to expect a huge difference in his performances in his two 45 minute appearances against Chelsea.

However, according to the heat map, Diamé was in similar positions in each game, often popping up on the left flank, and regularly in advanced positions.

So what has the issue been for Mo since returning from injury? Well, the main criticism that I (and others) have of the man is his decision making. He can often be guilty of taking on one man too many, or making a poor pass when getting into a dangerous area.

Diamé has (very helpfully for me) played 24 games this season. His most effective spell was undoubtedly the middle 8 appearances, including the victory over Chelsea, and the loss to Liverpool. The chart below shows the amount of times per 90 minutes that Diamé has lost possession this season, split into three groups of 8 games. What is clear, is that Diamé is losing possession far more regularly than he had previously been.

For these purposes, loss of possession counts as dispossessed (tackled), turnovers (miscontrol), and unsuccessful passes).

In my opinion, Mo Diamé is the most exciting player in the West Ham team. He's the sort of player I love to watch. He's mobile, he tackles, he runs at the opposition, and he's capable of the sublime. However, he is greatly let down by his distribution and decision making.

When it goes well, Diamé can be devastating. When it goes wrong, he can be anonymous.

If he can become a more consistent creator, Diamé has the potential to be one of the most effective and exciting central midfielders I've ever seen in claret & blue. Although, if he does improve this side of his game he'll probably not be around long enough for us to reap the benefits...

1 comment:

  1. Apart from taking on one too many players at times, he is by far & away our most mobile midfielder. He is also very exciting to watch. We need to find a similar player to compliment him.

    Mark noble is the favourite of most fans but his alarming lack of pace frightens me. His reading of the game also is somewhat lacking. This results in too many late challenges around the penalty area. He demonstrates that he is scared stiff of going too far forward knowing that his lack of pace will not get him back to help defend.