Monday, 29 April 2013

Manchester City 2 - 1 West Ham United

Saturday 27th April
Etihad Stadium

Manchester City vs West Ham United
1-0 Sergio Agüero 28'
2-0 Yaya Touré 83'
2-1 Andy Carroll 94'

Yeah, so, alright. We lost. That's what will go down in the record books, because that is what happened.

However, there was a lot to be pleased about on Saturday lunchtime. Had it not been for a moment of pure inspiration from a world class talent in Yaya Touré, I think we would have gone on to snatch a point at the home of the recently dethroned champions.

I could sit here and type about Man City and how good they are, but I don't want to. Instead, I want to talk about West Ham. I thought that we, particularly in the second half, were excellent.

The increased quality of play in the second half is reflected by Opta's player influence tool. Based in a number of different actions, the more influence a player has on the game, the bigger their name is in the following images. The first image shows the first half, and the second shows the second half.

These images perfectly illustrate the change in tactic that West Ham employed in the second half. Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll, Gary O'Neil, and the excellent Guy Demel's influence after the break is clear to see.

Something that particularly impressed me on Saturday was the amount of pressing West Ham attempted. Often in away games this year, we've seen the side sit deep and soak up pressure. At the Etihad, however, every player put a shift in, tackling all over the pitch.

Both Mohamed Diamé and Winston Reid put in six tackles each on Saturday, and each of the attacking foursome (Carroll, Nolan, Jarvis & Vaz Te) successfully recorded tackles too.

It wasn't just the tackling that was impressive from a defensive point of view. When City did make it through the defence, they were met with some superb defending, with three of the best blocks you will see all season keeping them at bay.

The image below shows the positions of the shots that were blocked. As you can see, all three shots were from incredibly dangerous positions, and all three were heroically blocked by our defence.

But it wasn't just defensively that West Ham impressed. We created our fair share of chances too. This was a typical attacking performance from West Ham. 33 crosses into the box, 12 of which reached their mark. Matt Jarvis was accurate with 5 of his 11 crosses, and it was a tactic that City found difficult to cope with.

West Ham played exactly to their strengths on Saturday, as seen below. The image shows the passes that led directly the chances created by West Ham. As you can see, only one of these passes came from a central position, with the wide approach paying dividends. The deepest cross on the right flank came from Guy Demel, and was his assist for Andy Carroll's goal.

I'd like to end with a word on Demel. He was much maligned last season, his injury troubles were there for all to see, and his shaky performance in the play off final led many Hammers (myself included) to put a right back at the top of their summer wishlist. This season, however, he has been excellent, and Saturday was yet another example of that. 

As a former fullback, I was paying particular attention to Pablo Zabaleta, one of the best right backs in the world, in my opinion. But the Argentine was completely outclassed by Demel on Saturday. The Ivorian was absolutely everywhere, solid in defence and dangerous in attack.

93% of his passes were accurate, none of them were long balls, and West Ham's most successful pass combination was Demel to O'Neil (13 passes).

The images below show Demel's heat map against Man City (where he took his touches), and his attempted passes during the game (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful; Yellow = Chance Created). Both images show his workrate and effectiveness down the right wing. Easily my man of the match.

The only real negative from my point of view was the performance of Ricardo Vaz Te. I've felt that his performances since Joe Cole's injury have been excellent, but he really wasn't at the races on Saturday. With Cole back to fitness, I'd be surprised to see him in the side next weekend.

Whilst a loss isn't exactly what you want, I think there is a lot to be proud about from Saturday's performance. Effectively a dead rubber, the shackles seemed to loosen in the second half. If we play like that in the remaining three games, we might even manage to reach that 50 point mark.

General Play
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
27.6 Starting XI Ave. Age 28.1

Yaya Touré Best Performance Andy Carroll
76.99 CI Rating 65.37

Joe Hart Worst Performance Jack Collison
55.68 CI Rating 58.5

60% Possession 40%
(averaged from opta, prozone & squawka results)

88% Passing Accuracy 76%
82% in Opp. Half 67%
Joleon Lescott 94% Best Accuracy 93% Guy Demel

554 Passes Attempted 315
Yaya Touré 99 Most Passes Attempted 55 Gary O'Neil

36 Long Balls 41
Vincent Kompany 6 Most Long Balls (excl. GK) 11 Gary O'Neil

Offensive Play
17 Attempts on Goal 11
8 On Target 3
6 Off Target 4
3 Blocked 4
7 From Outside Box 1
Carlos Tévez 4 Most Attempts on Goal 6 Andy Carroll

9 Corners 4
3 Offsides 2

17 Crosses 33
2 Successful Crosses 12
David Silva 8 Most Crosses Attempted 11 Matt Jarvis

31% Aerial Success 69%
Vincent Kompany 4 Most Duels Won 10 Andy Carroll

Defensive Play
19 Tackles Attempted 25
15 Successful 22
Pablo Zabaleta 7 Most Tackles 6 Winston Reid

41 Clearances 28
Vincent Kompany 12 Most Clearances 8 James Collins

10 Interceptions 14
Gael Clichy 3 Most Interceptions 4 James Collins

4 Blocks 3
Joleon Lescott 2 Most Blocks 1 Joey O'Brien

9 Fouls 7
Gareth Barry 4 Most Fouls 2 Mohamed Diamé

1 Yellow Cards 3
Manchester City:  Pablo Zabaleta     
West Ham United:  Andy Carroll,  Jack Collison,  Joey O'Brien   
0 Red Cards 0
Manchester City:  -     
West Ham United:  -     

Head to Heads
Joe Hart vs Jussi Jääskeläinen
1 Goals Conceded 2
2 Saves 6
1 Crosses Claimed 0
64% Passing Accuracy 50%
14 Total Passes 12
9 Long Balls 10
64% % Long Ball 83%

Pablo Zabaleta vs Guy Demel
25% Aerial Dules Won 100%
7 Tackles 3
1 Blocks 1
1 Interceptions 0
6 Clearances 2
0 Fouls Committed 0

91% Passing Accuracy 93%
34 Total Passes 40
0 Long Balls 0
0% % Long Ball 0%
0 Assists 1

Yaya Touré vs Mohamed Diamé
93% Passing Accuracy 85%
99 Total Passes 27
3 Long Balls 0
3% % Long Ball 0%
1 Crosses 1
0 Successul Crosses 0
1 Chances Created 1
0 Assists 0

0 Tackles 6
0 Blocks 0
1 Interceptions 2
0 Clearances 1
1 Fouls Committed 2

1 Attempts on Goal 1
1 On Target 1
1 Goals 0

Sergio Agüero vs Andy Carroll
1 Goals Scored 1
4 Attempts on Goal 6
2 On Target 2
0% Aerial Duels Won 77%

77% Passing Accuracy 76%
30 Total Passes 34
3 Chances Created 0
0 Assists 0

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