Saturday 22nd March 2014
West Ham United vs Manchester United
So our recent good form appears to be over after two consecutive defeats. And with the reigning champions rolling into town this weekend, it'd be sensible to expect the worst.
However, Manchester United haven't exactly been in the best of form this season, and we've recently recaptured our home form with three home wins on the bounce.
So maybe we should be a little optimistic?
Though Manchester United have been below par under David Moyes so far, they still possess and array of talents who West Ham should be mindful of.
Robin van Persie has made a nuisance of himself against West Ham in the recent years, Adnan Januzaj grabbed a goal in the opposite fixture back in December, as did Danny Welbeck & Ashley Young, and Juan Mata is a challenge for any side to deal with.
But the main man for United this season has been Wayne Rooney.
We at West Ham should be all too aware of Rooney's abilities already, with the forward scoring (9) or creating (4) 13 goals in his 15 career appearances against the Hammers.
The England striker has been a talisman for his club this season, leading both their scoring and assist charts in the Premier League. In his 24 league appearances this season, Rooney has bagged himself 11 goals, and put a further 10 on a plate for his team mates. In fact, he's been such a force this season that he either creates a chance or has a shot on goal once every 18 minutes.
The images below show the goals Rooney has scored in the league this season, and the chances he has created..
How Do You Stop Them?
The key to stopping United this season seems clear: force them wide.
United have struggled with creating goals from wide positions on a number of occasions this season, with many sides dealing with their relentless crossing with relative ease.
To date, United have put in more crosses (28) per game than any other team in the league, but have relatively few assists from their widemen and fullbacks. Of those players, only Patrice Evra (3), Antonio Valencia (2), Rafael (2) and Adnan Januzaj (1) have managed league assists this season.
And adding Luis Nani and Ashley Young to that group doesn't improve their accuracy much either. Between them, the six players have attempted 436 crosses this season, with just 91 reaching a team mate.
In recent times, both Fulham and Stoke City have managed impressive results against Manchester United by adopting a similar approach. By congesting the middle of the park, United are unable to get players like Rooney and Mata involved in dangerous areas, so end up going wide more regularly than they would like.
The image below shows the average positions of both the Fulham and Stoke XI's in their performances against United. You can see that Fulham played a very congested, tight game, with a number of bodies in the middle of the park. Stoke played a slightly more expansive game than Fulham (as would be expected from a home team), but still kept Glenn Whelan (#6) and Charlie Adam (#16) deep in the middle of the park, whilst their centre halves and right fullback stayed very deep.
You'll also notice that Stoke's left side was an important attacking outlet against United with Erik Pieters (#3) playing almost as a winger alongside Marko Arnautovic (#10). This option becomes viable against United when they play Juan Mata on the right flank. The Spaniard is not a traditional winger, often drifting into the middle of the park.
Against Stoke, Whelan and Adam were in the space that Mata wanted to occupy, meaning he struggled to be an effective creative force. He also left Pieters unoccupied for large portions of the game, allowing the Dutch fullback to press high up the pitch.
United's weakest area this season has been abundantly clear. For a side with such success over recent times, their central midfield is woefully inadequate. Other than defensive midfielder Michael Carrick, all United's central midfielders have struggled to find form this season.
In terms of creativity, it has been appalling. Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Marouane Fellaini and Ryan Giggs have shared a paltry two goals this season, and have failed to register a single assist.
Only Giggs averages more than one chance created per 90 minutes, and the foursome have only managed to muster 52 shots between them - at a rate of one shot every 66.6 minutes.
Manchester United are never an easy side to take on. After a good midweek result, they may just be buoyed into a positive performance against West Ham on Saturday evening. But if there was ever an opportunity to beat the Red Devils, this was it.
Head to Head
34% Head to Head Win % 46%
43 Won 59
26 Drawn 26
59 Lost 43
168 Goals Scored 236
236 Goals Conceded 168
W W W W L L Last 6 D W L W L W
10 Goals Scored 8
5 Goals Conceded 5
D L L W W W Home/Away Form L L D W L W
11 Goals Scored 7
10 Goals Conceded 7
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
Kevin Nolan - Michael Carrick
6 Appearances 6
498 Minutes Played 540
195 Sum Squawka Performance Score 240
33 Average Squawka Performance Rating 40
118 Passes Attempted 460
86 Completed 414
73% Success Rate 90%
7 Chances Created 5
1 Assists 0
8 Attempts on Goal 7
7 On Target 3
5 Goals 1
1 Take Ons Attempted 2
0 Successful Take Ons 2
0% Success Rate 100%
22 Tackles Made 18
10 Successful Tackles 6
45% Success Rate 33%
3 Interceptions 16
14 Clearances 14
2 Blocks 1
3 Defensive Actions Per Game 5
9 Aerial Duels 10
2 Won 5
22% Success Rate 50%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
21 December 2013
1-0 Danny Welbeck 26'
2-0 Adnan Januzaj 36'
3-0 Ashley Young 72'
3-1 Carlton Cole 81'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Adrián - David De Gea
Guy Demel - Rafael
(75') James Collins - Chris Smalling
James Tomkins - Jonny Evans
George McCartney - Patrice Evra (80')
Mark Noble - Phil Jones
(62') Matthew Taylor - Tom Cleverley
Mohamed Diamé - Antonio Valencia
Ravel Morrison - Wayne Rooney
(71') Matt Jarvis - Adnan Januzaj (69')
Modibo Maïga - Danny Welbeck (52')
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Sam Johnstone
(75') Rǎzvan Raţ - Alexander Buttner (80')
Joey O'Brien - Ryan Giggs
(62') Jack Collison - Ashley Young (69')
Alou Diarra - Darren Fletcher
Joe Cole - Shinji Kagawa
(71') Carlton Cole - Javier Hernandez (52')
West Ham United: Joey O'Brien, Marco Borriello
Manchester United: Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Luis Nani
West Ham United: n/a
Manchester United: Nemanja Vidic
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
Goals Scored: 0
Goals Conceded: 3
Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
David De Gea
Rafael Phil Jones Nemanja Vidic (77') Patrice Evra
Marouane Fellaini (76') Michael Carrick
Juan Mata (87') Wayne Rooney Adnan Januzaj (76')
Robin van Persie
subs: Anders Lindegaard
Rio Ferdinand (87')
Tom Cleverley (76')
Danny Welbeck (76')
Best Player: Wayne Rooney
Squawka Rating: 19
Worst Player: Nemanja Vidic
Squawka Rating: -50
Top 5's (Min 5 Apps)
Kevin Nolan 7 - 11 Robin van Persie
Carlton Cole 6 - 11 Wayne Rooney
Joe Cole 3 - 9 Danny Welbeck
Ravel Morrison* 3 - 3 Adnan Januzaj
Mohamed Diamé 3 - 2 Ashley Young
Kevin Nolan 5 - 10 Wayne Rooney
Andy Carroll 3 - 3 Juan Mata
Matt Jarvis 3 - 3 Robin van Persie
Mark Noble 3 - 3 Patrice Evra
Stewart Downing 2 - 2 Javier Hernandez
Mark Noble 82% - 90% Juan Mata
Jack Collison 81% - 90% Tom Cleverley
Stewart Downing 81% - 89% Darren Fletcher
Joe Cole 80% - 89% Marouane Fellaini
Joey O'Brien 79% - 89% Rio Ferdinand
Chances Created per game
Stewart Downing 1.7 - 2.9 Juan Mata
Mark Noble 1.6 - 2 Wayne Rooney
Matt Jarvis 1.1 - 1.4 Luis Nani
Kevin Nolan 1 - 1.2 Patrice Evra
Andy Carroll 0.8 - 1 Adnan Januzaj
Successful Dribbles per game
Mohamed Diamé 1.8 - 2.8 Luis Nani
Mark Noble 1.1 - 1.6 Adnan Januzaj
Guy Demel 0.9 - 1.5 Wayne Rooney
Stewart Downing 0.8 - 1.2 Antonio Valencia
Matt Jarvis 0.6 - 0.9 Rafael
Tackles per game
Mark Noble 2.8 - 2.7 Marouane Fellaini
Mohamed Diamé 2.3 - 2.7 Phil Jones
Matthew Taylor 2.1 - 2.4 Patrice Evra
James Collins 1.9 - 2.4 Rafael
Kevin Nolan 1.8 - 2.2 Tom Cleverley
Aerial Duels Won per game
Andy Carroll 6.7 - 3.9 Nemanja Vidic
James Tomkins 4 - 3.1 Marouane Fellaini
James Collins 3.5 - 2.2 Chris Smalling
Carlton Cole 2.7 - 2.1 Patrice Evra
Winston Reid 2.4 - 2.1 Jonny Evans
Sam Allardyce - David Moyes
41.2% Current Club Win % 54.5%
52 Won 24
32 Drawn 8
42 Lost 12
39.9% Managerial Career Win % 44.5%
346 Won 355
231 Drawn 205
289 Lost 236
7 Sides Managed 3
2 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 1
Preston North End First Managerial Role Preston North End
30/09/1992 Start Date 12/01/1998
21y 172d Experience 16y 69d