Thursday, 18 April 2013

West Ham United 2 - 2 Manchester United

Wednesday 17th April
Boleyn Ground

West Ham United vs Manchester United
1-0 Ricardo Vâz Te 16'
1-1 Antonio Valencia 31'
2-1 Mohamed Diamé 55'
2-2 Robin van Persie 77'

It's not often that you come away from a 2-2 draw with Manchester United feeling a little disappointed. The fact that Robin van Persie's equaliser was a good yard or two offside leaves a little bit of a sour taste, especially given how well we played throughout.

I don't want to focus too much on them, as we know all about them and what they can do. I'm more interested in the way in which West Ham set up, the way we attacked United, and the positivity that was on display.

I was particularly impressed with the high pressing of the midfield, and both fullbacks. There was a bit of a pre match fear that we would invite pressure from United, but, despite their dominance of possession, this wasn't really the case.

The graphic below shows the average positions of the starting XI last night. The width displayed by Guy Demel (# 20) and Joey O'Brien (# 17) was excellent once again, whilst Gary O'Neil's (# 32) discipline in sitting deep allowed Kevin Nolan (# 4) and Mohamed Diamé (# 21) forward to support the attacks.

I've seen some criticism of Kevin Nolan this morning and last night, but I actually feel that this was one of his better games in recent weeks (although that could be more of an indication of where his form has been recently).

Against a team with the quality that Man United possess, an important element of the game is keeping the ball. I felt that Nolan did this very well last night in all areas of the pitch. He didn't offer as much of a goal threat as he did earlier in the season, but his use of the ball was both varied and successful yesterday.

The graphic below shows Nolan's passes against Man United (Green = Successful; Red = Unsuccessful; Yellow = Directly Led to a Shot)

Another player who pleased me yesterday was Matt Jarvis. The club have been eager to tell us how regularly Jarvis puts in crosses this season, but the fact that he hasn't yet chalked up an assist remains the elephant in the room.

The problem I have had with Jarvis' delivery this season has been his insistence on cutting back on his right foot. I feel he looks most dangerous when he takes on the man and crosses from the byline with his left. Well, that is exactly what he did for Vâz Te's opener, he made Rio Ferdinand look an absolute novice when turning him inside out, and delivered a great cross to Andy Carroll at the back post.

The below image shows Jarvis' crosses last night. I don't think it's a coincidence that the two successful crosses both came from pullbacks from the byline.

In fact, this pattern can be seen when looking at crosses by the rest of the team too. We all know that West Ham like to get the ball wide and whip it in for Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan to attack, and last night was no different.

The below image shows all attempted crosses by West Ham players last night. As seen in the image of Jarvis' crosses, the crosses from deeper positions were far less successful than those from further up the pitch, pulled back into the danger zone. (Red = Unsuccessful, Green = Successful, Yellow = Led Directly to a Shot)

It's not often this season that we've seen a winger as committed to staying wide and crossing as Jarvis. Last night though, he was upstaged by Antonio Valencia, my man of the match.

I thought Valencia was fantastic yesterday, and was a constant danger down the left. A lot of wingers these days play more as attacking midfielders, drifting inside to a more central role. Valencia is far more traditional.

I love a good, classic winger, and you can see from the image below that Valencia is exactly that. The heat map shows where Valencia took his touches during the game, and it speaks volume that he didn't pop up on the left even once!

There isn't too much to say about last night, except that a point against the champions elect is a fantastic result.

Would I have preferred all three? Yes. Did we deserve all three? Yes.

But let's not let that get in the way of what was a very good performance against a very good team.

General Play
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
28.1 Starting XI Ave. Age 27.2

Mohamed Diamé Best Performance Antonio Valencia
72.13 CI Rating 69.99

Mark Noble Worst Performance David de Gea
55.3 CI Rating 55.2

38% Possession 62%
(averaged from whoscored, bbcsport & skysports)

73% Passing Accuracy 88%
63% in Opp. Half 77%
Joey O'Brien 92% Best Accuracy 96% Nemanja Vidic

327 Passes Attempted 644
Guy Demel 38 Most Passes Attempted 117 Michael Carrick

57 Long Balls 60
Jasmes Collns 16 Most Long Balls (excl. GK) 12 Rio Ferdinand

Offensive Play
12 Attempts on Goal 17
2 On Target 6
8 Off Target 5
2 Blocked 6
6 From Outside Box 5
Mohamed Diamé 3 Most Attempts on Goal 5 Robin van Persie

2 Corners 5
2 Offsides 1

23 Crosses 32
6 Successful Crosses 8
Matt Jarvis 6 Most Crosses Attempted 9 Antonio Valencia

39% Aerial Success 61%
Andy Carroll 10 Most Duels Won 8 Nemanja Vidic

Defensive Play
15 Tackles Attempted 20
12 Successful 18
James Collins 4 Most Tackles 6 Patrice Evra

30 Clearances 37
Winston Reid 7 Most Clearances 3 Nemanja Vidic

20 Interceptions 11
Kevin Nolan 4 Most Interceptions 2 Antonio Valencia

6 Blocks 2
James Collins 3 Most Blocks 1 Rio Ferdinand

9 Fouls 7
Kevin Nolan 4 Most Fouls 2 Robin van Persie

1 Yellow Cards 0
West Ham United:  Andy Carroll     
Manchester United:  -     
0 Red Cards 0
West Ham United:  -     
Manchester United:  -     

Head to Heads
Jussi Jääskeläinen vs David de Gea
2 Goals Conceded 2
3 Saves 0
1 Crosses Claimed 0
18% Passing Accuracy 71%
11 Total Passes 14
11 Long Balls 4
100% % Long Ball 86%

Winston Reid vs Rio Ferdinand
33% Aerial Dules Won 33%
2 Tackles 2
0 Blocks 1
1 Interceptions 1
7 Clearances 13
0 Fouls Committed 0

78% Passing Accuracy 94%
9 Total Passes 65
2 Long Balls 12
22% % Long Ball 18%

Matt Jarvis vs Antonio Valencia
78% Passing Accuracy 86%
18 Total Passes 44
1 Long Balls 0
6% % Long Ball 0%
6 Crosses 9
2 Successul Crosses 2
1 Chances Created 3
0 Assists 0

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

1 Attempts on Goal 3
0 On Target 1
0 Goals 1

Andy Carroll vs Robin van Persie
0 Goals Scored 1
3 Attempts on Goal 5
0 On Target 3
66% Aerial Duels Won 80%

66% Passing Accuracy 80%
35 Total Passes 30
2 Chances Created 4
1 Assists 0

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