Saturday 30th August 2014
West Ham United vs Southampton
So this season is already turning out to be a bit of a roller coaster.
A successful summer of transfer dealings was followed up by a disappointing defeat at home to Spurs. The pain of this defeat was then absolved by a wonderful away performance and victory across London at Crystal Palace. Obviously that high was shortlived, as we then managed to shoot ourselves in the foot in the cup against Sheffield United.
Based on how the season has panned out so far, we should probably win at the weekend then?
After a summer that saw Southampton hemorrhage their key players to Premier League rivals, it's difficult to pick out who would be classed as the Saints key player these days.
The club dug their heels in to keep hold of the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodgriguez, key player from recent seasons, but it is a new signing who I believe holds the key to a successful season at St Mary's.
Serbian winger Dusan Tadic joined the club for a fee of around £10.9m from FC Twente earlier this summer in a bid to replace Anfield bound skipper Adam Lallana. It is still the (very) early stages of his Saints career, but it looks as though Tadic will prove to be worth the outlay.
Southampton brought the winger to the Premier League after seeing him create a ridiculous 133 chances in 33 Eredivisie last season, and registering a whopping 14 assists. In his first appearance of last season, the 4-1 away thumping of Feyenoord, Tadic created 10 chances.
Last year, he also attempted 100 take ons (55% success), scored 16 goals, and hit the target with 50% of his 68 shots on goal (see image below).
And it seems that Tadic is settling in well on the south coast. In his 2 Premier League appearances so far, he has created 3 chances - bagging one assist - and is averaging 3 attempted take ons per game.
Tadic also offers a bit of a different approach to the game than Lallana.
Whereas the England midfielder drifts across the front three in almost a free role, Tadic is more of an out and out winger. The heat maps below are taken from Southampton's away games at Liverpool this season and last.
As you can see, Lallana was far more involved in the centre of the park, floating around the field and getting involved wherever he could. Tadic on the other hand, looks to get involved in wide areas, taking on the fullback at every opportunity (are you listening, Joey O'Brien?).
Southampton have plenty of dangerous players in their ranks (James Ward-Prowse, Steven Davis, Graziano Pelle), but if West Ham are to get off the mark at home this season, Tadic is a man we will need to keep quiet.
How do you stop Southampton?
Last time out, Southampton laboured to a nil-nil home draw with West Bromwich Albion, despite holding 58% of possession. With the large volume of possession, they were only able to forge out 9 shooting opportunities throughout, hitting the target just twice.
When you look at the way West Brom defended, you can see why. As we've already seen above, wideman Tadic spends most of the game in wide areas, while Steven Davis on the other flank spends his time further in field. West Brom dealt with this perfectly.
As you can see from the average positions chart below, Andre Wisdom (#2), Saido Berahino (18#) and Youssouf Mulumbu (#21) teamed up and defended quite deep on the right hand side to counter the attacking threat of Tadic (#11) and Ryan Bertrand (#21).
On the other flank, however, as Davis (#8) came inside, Sebastien Poconoli (#15) and Chris Brunt (#11) were able to push forward and pen back the attacking thread of Nathaniel Clyne (#2).
And this tactic is similar to the one taken by Liverpool the week before. The advancing Tadic and Bertrand meant that Jordan Henderson (#14) sat wide and deep to support right back Javier Manquillo (#19). On the other flank, Davis' wandering infield meant Glen Johnson (#2) and Raheem Sterling (#31) were free to push on and attack the Saints' backline.
The approach taken by both Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion shows a glimpse of how West Ham can both keep Southampton quiet, and how to attack them.
Personally, I would be tempted to play Mohamed Diamé at right midfield for this one. His energy and tackling would help to provide a good buffer for Joey O'Brien when dealing with Southampton's strong left side. This would also allow Stewart Downing to move over to the left flank, where he is likely to find more space and spend more time attacking with Aaron Cresswell.
It seems to me that Southampton have replaced quality with quality this summer.
Whilst Luke Shaw may have a brighter future in the game, Ryan Bertrand is an equally adept fullback for the present. Tadic is a welcome addition in place of Lallana, and Graziano Pelle looks to be a fine replacement for Rickie Lambert.
The one area that Southampton have not strengthened though, is at centre half. Although Dejan Lovren left for more than £20m to head to Liverpool, Southampton have replaced him with last seasons shaky looking backup Maya Yoshida.
The Japanese international is a decent defender, but is nowhere near the quality of Lovren, and his partnership with Jose Fonte has never looked convincing.
Yoshida has actually started the season very well, making 1 block, 6 interceptions and 7 clearances in 2 games, as well as winning 2 out of 2 aerial duels and 6 out of 9 attempted tackles. However, over the last couple of seasons Yoshida has been a liability at the back. In his 40 Premier League appearances over the last two seasons, Yoshida has made 5 defensive errors, to leading directly to goals.
There is no particular area that Yoshida is poor, but his overall game is less developed than Lovren, and he stands out as the weakest link in a strong Southampton side. West Ham should look to attack the centre backs by running at them, and delivering testing balls into the box from the wide areas. Mauro Zárate should provide a real test for the likes of Yoshida, and hopefully the Argentine will have the beating of him.
Head to Head
43% Head to Head Win % 29%
63 Won 42
40 Drawn 40
42 Lost 63
251 Goals Scored 203
203 Goals Conceded 251
Recent Form (excl. Friendlies)
L W L L W L Last 6 W W D L D W
6 Goals Scored 7
8 Goals Conceded 3
L L L W L L Home/Away Form L L D W L W
4 Goals Scored 7
7 Goals Conceded 9
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
Stewart Downing - Nathaniel Clyne
6 Appearances 6
504 Minutes Played 540
180 Sum Squawka Performance Score 207
30 Average Squawka Performance Rating 35
193 Passes Attempted 302
156 Completed 257
81% Success Rate 85%
19 Chances Created 10
0 Assists 0
6 Attempts on Goal 1
4 On Target 1
2 Goals 1
15 Take Ons Attempted 6
5 Successful Take Ons 4
33% Success Rate 67%
8 Tackles Made 25
1 Successful Tackles 15
13% Success Rate 60%
3 Interceptions 9
11 Clearances 18
0 Blocks 3
2 Defensive Actions Per Game 5
2 Aerial Duels 5
2 Won 2
100% Success Rate 40%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
22 February 2014
0-1 Maya Yoshida 8'
1-1 Matt Jarvis 20'
2-1 Carlton Cole 23'
3-1 Kevin Nolan 71'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Adrián - Artur Boruc
Guy Demel - Calum Chambers
James Collins - Jose Fonte
James Tomkins - Maya Yoshida
George McCartney - Luke Shaw
Mark Noble - Morgan Schneirderlin
Matthew Taylor - Jack Cork (63')
Stewart Downing - Adam Lallana
(73') Kevin Nolan - Steven Davis (78')
(57') Matt Jarvis - Jay Rodriguez
Carlton Cole - Rickie Lambert (78')
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Kelvin Davis
(73') Winston Reid - Dejan Lovren
Pablo Armero - Nathaniel Clyne
Jack Collison - James Ward-Prowse (78')
(57') Mohamed Diamé - Gaston Ramirez (63')
Antonio Nocerino - Guly do Prodo
Joe Cole - Sam Gallagher (78')
West Ham United: James Collins, Carl Jenkinson, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll
Southampton: Jay Rodriguez, Sam Gallagher
West Ham United:
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
vs West Bromwich Albion
Goals Scored: 0
Goals Conceded: 0
Starting Formation: 4-2-3-1
Nathaniel Clyne Jose Fonte Maya Yoshida Ryan Bertrand
Morgan Schneiderlin Victor Wanyama
Steven Davis (45') James Ward-Prowse (78') Dusan Tadic
Jack Cork (78')
Shane Long (45')
Best Player: Fraser Forster(SR: 69)
Worst Player: Graziano Pelle(SR: -14)
Top 5's (Last Season)
Kevin Nolan 7 - 15 Jay Rodriguez
Carlton Cole 6 - 13 Rickie Lambert
Mohamed Diamé 4 - 9 Adam Lallana
Joe Cole 3 - 3 Jose Fonte
Ravel Morrison 3 - 3 Dani Osvaldo
Kevin Nolan 5 - 10 Rickie Lambert
Andy Carroll 4 - 7 Steven Davis
Mark Noble 4 - 5 Adam Lallana
Matt Jarvis 3 - 4 Nathaniel Clyne
Stewart Downing 2 - 3 Jay Rodriguez
Ravel Morrison 86.4% - 89.3% Morgan Schneiderlin
Mark Noble 82.8% - 87.3% James Ward-Prowse
Jack Collison 81.3% - 86% Jack Cork
Stewart Downing 80.6% - 84.6% Adam Lallana
Joey O'Brien 79.5% - 84.5% Steven Davis
Chances Created per game
Stewart Downing 1.9 - 1.9 Adam Lallana
Mark Noble 1.5 - 1.7 Steven Davis
Andy Carroll 1 - 1.4 Rickie Lambert
Kevin Nolan 0.9 - 1.1 Nathaniel Clyne
Matt Jarvis 0.9 - 1.1 James Ward-Prowse
Successful Dribbles per game
Ravel Morrison 2.1 - 1.8 Adam Lallana
Mohamed Diamé 2.1 - 1.6 Luke Shaw
Stewart Downing 1.1 - 1.2 Jay Rodriguez
Guy Demel 1 - 0.9 Gaston Ramirez
Mark Noble 0.9 - 0.8 Dani Osvaldo
Tackles per game
Mark Noble 2.9 - 3.4 Morgan Schneiderlin
Mohamed Diamé 2.1 - 2.3 Jack Cork
Matthew Taylor 2 - 2.2 Nathaniel Clyne
James Collins 1.8 - 2.1 Luke Shaw
Kevin Nolan 1.8 - 2 Dejan Lovren
Aerial Duels Won per game
Andy Carroll 8.9 - 3.5 Maya Yoshida
Modibo Maïga 5.9 - 3.3 Dejan Lovren
James Tomkins 4 - 2.4 Jose Fonte
James Collins 3.5 - 2.3 Victor Wanyama
Carlton Cole 2.2 - 1.9 Calum Chambers
Sam Allardyce - Ronald Koeman
39.7% Win % 33.3%
56 Won 1
32 Drawn 1
53 Lost 1
0 League Titles 0
0 Cup Wins 0
01/06/2011 Appointed 16/06/2014
3y 90d Time in Charge 75d
39.7% Win % 55.7%
350 Won 288
231 Drawn 111
300 Lost 118
7 Sides Managed 8
2 League Titles 3
0 Cup Wins 5
Preston North End First Managerial Role Vitesse Arnham
30/09/1992 Start Date 01/01/2000
21y 333d Experience 14y 241d