Monday, 30 September 2013

Hull City 1 - 0 West Ham United

KC Stadium

Hull City vs West Ham United
1-0 Robbie Brady 12'
Isn't it just typical of West Ham, that our most attacking away display resulted in one of our most disappointing results of the Sam Allardyce era?

Isn't it just typical of West Ham  that for the first time this season, we completely dominated possession, like all the 'purists' tell us we should,  but failed to trouble the scoresheet?

And isn't it just typical of West Ham, that the opposition were awarded an incredibly soft penalty, while we were denied a complete stone waller?

A one nil defeat to newly promoted Hull City was not what we needed following on from our agonisingly late defeat against Everton a week ago. Had decisions gone our way, the day may have been different, but they didn't, and it wasn't.

So why didn't we manage to get that elusive away goal?

Well, Sam Allardyce has already mentioned the fact that we put 36 crosses into the Hull box - 13 of which were accurate, and 6 of which led to a shot on goal. Crossing was clearly the order of the day on Saturday afternoon. What disappointed me then, was our difficulty to get either wide man, Matt Jarvis or Mohamed Diamé involved in the game.

Diamé, our most accurate passer of the ball last season, received 25 passes throughout his 70 minutes, and played just 13 of his own, plus five attempted crosses. For a player as influential as the Senegalese, such a starvation of possession is almost criminal. We all know that Diamé is at his best when driving at the defence, causing panic amongst the opposition backline. He appears wasted and anonymous on the right wing.

But the real disappointment for me was Matt Jarvis. Diamé could be pardoned slightly as he is playing in an unfamiliar position, but Jarvis was just as anonymous on Saturday. He attempted 16 passes, plus 5 crosses, and received just 18 passes. For a player who is widely regarded as the sides main attacking outlet, we are really struggling to get the winger on the ball.

There is, of course, the argument that his teammates should take more of the responsibility for failing to find Jarvis on a more regular basis. Mark Noble, made over 70 passes at the weekend, and found Jarvis just four times. Razvan Rat, playing just behind the winger, found him once. However, this argument is quashed by the introduction of Ricardo Vaz Te.

Vaz Te was only on the pitch for 20 minutes, but in that time he received 14 passes - just four less than Jarvis in less than one third of the time. This suggests that Jarvis' himself is the problem. He is struggling to get involved in games, he isn't taking on defenders enough, and he isn't getting the right level of quality on his final ball.

The images below show passes received by Jarvis and Vaz Te. The thing that stands out most to me, is that Vaz Te was clearly able to link up with Rat far more easily than Jarvis, with a series of passes coming in to him down the left flank, whilst passes to Jarvis seem to come from all over the pitch, and very few are in to the dangerous left wing position that he favours.

Another player who disappointed on Saturday was Kevin Nolan. 

I know that Modibo Maiga isn't perfect, but he has, somewhat unfairly in my eyes, become a the whipping boy for the fans. What a lot of people are failing to take into account though, is the massive lack of support that he receives from his team mates - none more so than Nolan.

Nolan is undoubtedly our best finisher. He's our only goal poacher, and he's also pretty handy on the ball just outside of the opposition's penalty area. When playing with Andy Carroll, Nolan plays in tandem with the striker, never too far away, anticipating his knock downs, and scoring goals as a result.

On Saturday though, it was a completely different story. Nolan was often the deepest of the midfield trio, with the 'holding' midfielders Noble and Morrison offering far more of an attacking threat than the skipper.

The following image shows player influence in the game. The bigger the name, the more involved the player. The fact that Nolan's name is hardly visible tells its own story. So does the fact that his name actually appears on the halfway line under Ravel Morrison. In the first half, he was even deeper, appearing most frequently just in front of Winston Reid.

This begs the question: Is this a tactical move, or is Nolan simply out of form?

It's hard to be positive about such a poor result, but there were a few positives to take away.

Stewart Downing's cameo hopefully means we will see less of Diamé on the wing, and may actually be able to approach our next game with two of our most deadly wide men. Ravel Morrison and Mark Noble are continuing to develop a very promising partnership in midfield, attempting more than 120 passes between them on Saturday.

But the real positive for me, was the inclusion and performance of James Tomkins.

The academy graduate has been forced out of the side in recent months by the good form of James Collins, and has found Premier League opportunities in short supply. His inclusion on Saturday was something of a surprise, but was a welcome sight. Many believe that Tomkins' inclusion over James Collins encourages the side to play a more expansive style of football, and, against Hull, this certainly seemed the case.

Tomkins made over 60 passes on Saturday afternoon - 47 of which found a teammate (77%). But what is striking, is that none of his passes were to Modibo Maiga or Mladen Petric. It has become common for West Ham defenders to try and hit the forward quickly with a long pass. Looking at Tomkins most regular pass combinations (below) shows the different approach.

Aside from his passing game, Tomkins was also very solid defensively. He won 4 out of 5 aerial duels, was successful with 5 out of 5 attempted tackles, made two clearances, and one interception.

The following images show Tomkins passes. Firstly, his combinations (only those players he passes to more than once are shown), and secondly, a map of all his attempted passes from the game.

On the whole, a defeat against a newly promoted side really wasn't what we expected to get. Five points from six games always wasn't how this season was meant to start.

The run of Premier League games without a victory has now stretched to 5, and with games against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Swansea City coming up, the immediate future is looking a little ropy.

Let's hope we can pull something out of the bag next week, because it's fast getting to the stage where we really, really need to do something special.

 General Play 
4-2-3-1 Formation 4-2-3-1
(35) Allan McGregor - Jussi Jääskeläinen (-4)
(16) Liam Rosenior - Joey O'Brien (-1)
(47) Curtis Davies - James Tomkins (35)
(20) Abdoulaye Faye - Winston Reid (2)
(9) Maynor Figueroa - Rǎzvan Raţ (22)
(6) Ahmed Elmohamady - Mark Noble (29)
(11) Tom Huddlestone - Ravel Morrison (-1)
(21) Jake Livermore - Mohamed Diamé (25)
(55) Robbie Brady - Kevin Nolan (-7)
(2) Sone Aluko - Matt Jarvis (1)
(-23) Danny Graham - Modibo Maïga (13)

(-6) David Meyler - Mladen Petrić (0)
(0) George Boyd - Ricardo Vâz Te (12)
(-2) Yannick Sagbo - Stewart Downing (19)

Best Performance
(55) Robbie Brady - James Tomkins (35)

Worst Performance
(-23) Danny Graham - Kevin Nolan (-7)

42% Possession 58%

321 Passes Attempted 468
Tom Huddlestone 48 Most Attempted 76 Mark Noble

71% Passing Accuracy 76%
% In Opp. Half %
Sone Aluko 89% Best Accuracy 100% Stewart Downing

64 Long Balls 57
Tom Huddlestone 10 Most Long Balls (excl. GK) 13 Winston Reid

Most Frequent Pass Combination
Rosenior to Elmohamady 15 - 14 Noble to Tomkins

 8 Aerial Duels Won 17 
 32% Success 68% 
Ahmed Elmohamady 4 Most Won 4 James Tomkins

Tom Huddlestone 64 Most Touches 94 Mark Noble

 Offensive Play 
11 Attempts on Goal 18
4 On Target 6
4 Off Target 7
3 Blocked 5
5 From Outside the Box 7
Robbie Brady 4 Most Shots 4 Modibo Maïga

6 Key Passes 6
Robbie Brady 2 Most Key Passes 3 Rǎzvan Raţ

23 Crosses 36
Robbie Brady 9 Most Attempted 7 Stewart Downing

5 Successful Crosses 13
22% Success 36%
Robbie Brady 3 Most Successful 2 Stewart Downing

 Defensive Play 
18 Tackles Attempted 16
9 Successful Tackles 13
50% Success 81%
Tom Huddlestone 5 Most Tackles 5 James Tomkins

46 Clearances 32
Curtis Davies 12 Most Clearances 8 Winston Reid

6 Interceptions 10
Robbie Brady 1 Most Interceptions 3 Rǎzvan Raţ

5 Shot Blocks 3
Maynor Figueroa 2 Most Shot Blocks 2 James Tomkins

1 6yrd Blocks 2
Robbie Brady 1 Most 6yrd Blocks 1 Stewart Downing

 11 Fouls 13 
2 Most Fouls 3

1 Yellow Cards 2
Hull City:  Danny Graham   
West Ham United:  Ravel Morrison,  Kevin Nolan  

0 Red Cards 0
Hull City:     
West Ham United:     

 Head to Heads 
Allan McGregor vs Jussi Jääskeläinen
0 Goals Conceded 1
5 Saves 2
0 Crosses Claimed 0

17 Total Passes 6
8 Accurate Passes 2
47% Success 33%

16 Long Balls 4
94% % 67%

2 Throw Outs 6
10 Kick from Hand 0

0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0

Yannick Sagbo 4 Most Passed To 2 James Tomkins
Liam Rosenior 4 Most Passes From 3 James Tomkins

Curtis Davies vs James Tomkins
2 Aerial Duels 5
2 Duels Won 4
100% Success 80%
4 Tackles Attempted 5
1 Tackles Completed 5
25% Success 100%
13 Clearances 2
0 Interceptions 1
1 Blocks 0
0 6yrd Blocks 0
0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0
11 Passes Attempted 61
7 Successful 47
64% Success 77%
0 Crosses Attempted 0
0 Successful 0
0% Success 0%
0 Chances Created 0
2 Attempts on Goal 2
1 On Target 2
0 Goals 0
Maynor Figueroa 3 Most Passed To 12 Winston Reid
Tom Huddlestone 1 Most Passes From 14 Mark Noble

Tom Huddlestone vs Mark Noble
48 Passes Attempted 73
35 Successful 65
73% Success 89%
0 Key Passes 3
0 Assists 0
0 Attempts on Goal 2
0 On Target 0
0 Goals 0
5 Tackles Attempted 1
4 Tackles Completed 1
80% Success 100%
4 Clearances 3
1 Interceptions 3
0 Blocks 0
0 6yrd Blocks 0
0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0
Liam Rosenior 8 Most Passed To 14 James Tomkins
Maynor Figueroa 8 Most Passes From 13 Joey O'Brien

Danny Graham vs Modibo Maïga
1 Attempts on Goal 4
0 On Target 2
0 Goals 0
0 Key Passes 1
0 Assists 0
20 Passes Attempted 15
17 Successful 9
85% Success 60%
2 Aerial Duels 6
1 Duels Won 1
50% Success 17%
Sone Aluko 6 Most Passed To 4 Mohamed Diamé
Ahmed Elmohamady 6 Most Passes From 5 Rǎzvan Raţ

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