Monday 15th September 2014
Hull City vs West Ham United
The history books will say that the last time West Ham played Hull City it was a 2-1 victory for the Hammers against 10 men. Of course, we all know that it was far more than that. That day in March was the day the tide turned on Sam Allardyce, and the frustrations of the fans became apparent to the masses.
Since then, the manager has been tasked with bringing a new brand of play to West Ham, and has brought in some exciting players to allow him to do so.
How we perform tonight in Yorkshire will go some way in determining how successful the summer has been for Allardyce.
It's quite difficult to pick out a key player for Hull at the moment, given their late recruitment drive on deadline day, when they added our very own Mohamed Diamé, Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa, and new club record signing Abel Hernandez to their ranks. But it is not one of those late arrivals that I think West Ham need to keep the closest eye upon.
Despite the recent trend for the 3-5-2 formation drawing criticism from pundits and the press, Steve Bruce's Hull have been making the system work for a while now.
Key to playing that system effectively is the presence of high energy, hard working wingbacks. And on the right hand side, Ahmed Elmohamady is certainly that.
In the Premier League last season, the Egyptian was an ever present for Hull, starting 38 games out of 38, and only being removed from the action 5 times. And during that time on the field, Elmohamady proved himself to be exactly what a wingback needs to be; a threat in attack, and reliable in defence.
In his 38 appearance last season, the the wingback made just one defensive error. He made 80 clearances, and a massive 70 interceptions. He also won 58% of his 93 attempted tackles, and 74 of his 147 aerial duels. In short, his defensive performances were excellent.
An example of Elmohamady's defensive resolve could be the 4-0 away victory against Cardiff City back in February. The Egyptian won 100% of his 4 attempted tackles, made 1 interception, 3 clearances, and gave away no fouls. The images below show his tackles and heat map from that game.
In attack, the man signed from Sunderland has proven that he is a more than capable Premier League winger, completing 42 of his 73 take ons last season and creating 42 goalscoring opportunities.
In the 6-0 dismantling of Fulham last December, Elmohamady displayed his attacking prowess. During that game, he attempted 2 take ons, put 11 crosses into the box - creating one goalscoring chance - and bagged himself a goal.
The image below shows the crosses that the wingback put in. What you'll notice, is that he often crosses from deeper positions. So, rather than bombing to the touchline, he is able to conserve his energies by putting dangerous crosses in from deep.
How do you stop Hull?
Once again, it's a bit difficult to say. With Hull's new signings coming into the fray, and manager Steve Bruce's willingness to experiment with tactics, Hull are quite an unpredictable package at the moment.
At home, it is likely that they will continue with their 3-5-2 formation, with the aforementioned Elmohamady down the right, and one of Andrew Robertson (who is undergoing a late fitness test) or Liam Rosenior likely to line up on the opposite flank.
The criticism that the 3-5-2 has attracted recently has been down to the apparent ease with which oppositions can target you down the flanks. However, if we look at the areas in which Aston Villa exposed the formation in their recent game, we can see a different approach.
Paul Lambert's men clearly decided to leave their fullbacks to deal with the Hull wingbacks, and instead overloaded the middle of the park, stopping Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from playing their way into the game.
If you look at the average positions map below, you can see that Villa tucked their widemen inside, making almost a 5 man centre midfield. This allowed them to dominate the trio in the middle of the park for Hull, whilst also causing havoc for the three centre backs.
But what Villa did very well, was win the ball in the middle of the park, and then break down the flanks. During that game the wide pairing of Kieron Richardson and Charles N'Zogbia had to work hard to support the midfield three, and then offer a wide outlet once the ball was won.
This led to just 23% of their attacks coming through the central channel.
Other than the vulnerabilities that I've already mentioned above, Hull don't have a huge amount of obvious weaknesses.
Their main flaw is probably that, for a team that regularly field two strikers, they don't really get enough goals. However, with the additions of Hernandez, Ben Arfa and Tom Ince, it seems that this problem may not be about for the long haul.
Other than that, their biggest problem is that they allow the opposition to create chances regularly. So far this season, keeper Allan McGregor has already conceded 3 goals, and made an average of 3 saves per game, and, in truth, those figures would be a whole lot worse had they not been let off by poor finishing.
The chart below shows the chances that Hull have conceded in the Premier League this season. Against both QPR and Stoke City, the Tigers conceded 19 shots on their goal, resulting in just 6 and 2 shots on target, and one goal. Villa were the most ruthless with their finishing, netting with 2 of their 4 shots on target, but they also missed the target 7 times.
If West Ham turn up with our shooting boots on, and keep an eye on those pesky wingbacks, Hull City should be a side that we dispatch.
Either way, let's hope there's no booing at the end of this one.
Head to Head
26% Head to Head Win % 42%
11 Won 18
14 Drawn 14
18 Lost 11
49 Goals Scored 65
65 Goals Conceded 49
Recent Form (excl. Friendlies)
W W L D W L Last 6 W L L W L L
7 Goals Scored 7
6 Goals Conceded 8
W L L W D W Home/Away Form L W L L L W
6 Goals Scored 7
8 Goals Conceded 11
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
Tom Huddlestone - Mark Noble
5 Appearances 6
431 Minutes Played 540
142 Sum Squawka Performance Score 183
28 Average Squawka Performance Rating 31
241 Passes Attempted 370
195 Completed 320
81% Success Rate 86%
5 Chances Created 5
0 Assists 0
3 Attempts on Goal 2
3 On Target 1
0 Goals 1
4 Take Ons Attempted 5
3 Successful Take Ons 3
75% Success Rate 60%
13 Tackles Made 30
8 Successful Tackles 23
62% Success Rate 77%
6 Interceptions 9
13 Clearances 11
2 Blocks 3
4 Defensive Actions Per Game 4
6 Aerial Duels 6
3 Won 4
50% Success Rate 67%
1 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
26 March 2014
1-0 Mark Noble 26'
1-1 Nikica Jelavic 48'
2-1 James Chester OG 54'
3-5-2 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
(S/O 23') Allan McGregor - Adrián
Curtis Davies - Guy Demel
(25') Alex Bruce - James Collins (9')
James Chester - James Tomkins
Ahmed Elmohamady - George McCartney
Jake Livermore - Mark Noble
David Meyler - Matthew Taylor
Tom Huddlestone - Stewart Downing
(59') Maynor Figueroa - Kevin Nolan
Shane Long - Mohamed Diamé (69')
(82') Nikica Jelavic - Andy Carroll
(25') Steve Harper - Jussi Jääskeläinen
(59') Liam Rosenior - Roger Johnson (9')
Stephen Quinne - Pablo Armero
Robert Koren - Antonio Nocerino
Sone Aluko - Joe Cole (69')
Matty Fryatt - Ricardo Vâz Te
(82') Yannick Sagbo - Carlton Cole
Hull City: Andrew Robertson, Robert Snodgrass
West Ham United: James Collins, Carl Jenkinson, Joey O'Brien, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll
West Ham United:
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
vs Aston Villa
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 2
Starting Formation: 3-5-2
Paul McShane Michael Dawson Curtis Davies (46')
Ahmed Elmohamady Andrew Robertson
Jake Livermore Tom Huddlestone (71') Stephen Quinn
Nikica Jelavic Tom Ince (57')
Liam Rosenior (46')
Robbie Brady (57')
Sone Aluko (71')
Best Player: Jake Livermore(SR: 41)
Worst Player: Curtis Davies(SR: -23)
Top 5's (Min 2 Apps)
Nikica Jelavic 2 - 1 Mauro Zárate
James Chester 1 - 1 Carlton Cole
- 1 Stewart Downing
- 1 Mark Noble
Stephen Quinn 2 - 1 Mauro Zárate
- 1 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Tom Ince 93% - 93% Mauro Zárate
James Chester 92% - 87% Mark Noble
Paul McShane 89% - 85% Joey O'Brien
Jake Livermore 84% - 85% Winston Reid
Ahmed Elmohamady 84% - 82% Cheikhou Kouyaté
Chances Created per game
Nikica Jelavic 1 - 2 Stewart Downing
Jake Livermore 1 - 1 Aaron Cresswell
Stephen Quinne 0.67 - 1 Ricardo Vâz Te
Tom Ince 0.67 - 1 Joey O'Brien
James Chester 0.5 - 1 Mark Noble
Successful Dribbles per game
Ahmed Elmohamady 1.33 - 2 Mauro Zárate
Tom Huddlestone 1 - 1 Mark Noble
Andrew Robertson 0.67 - 1 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Stephen Quinn 0.67 - 0.67 Mohamed Diamé*
Curtis Davies 0.33 - 0.33 Stewart Downing
Tackles Won per game
Andrew Robertson 2.67 - 4.33 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Ahmed Elmohamady 2 - 3.67 Mark Noble
Jake Livermore 1.67 - 2 Mauro Zárate
Tom Huddlestone 1.67 - 1.67 Mohamed Diamé
Paul McShane 1.33 - 1.67 Joey O'Brien
Aerial Duels Won per game
Paul McShane 3.33 - 3.5 James Tomkins
Curtis Davies 3.33 - 3.33 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Nikica Jelavic 2.67 - 3.33 Winston Reid
James Chester 1.5 - 2 Joey O'Brien
Andrew Robertson 1 - 1.67 Carlton Cole
Steve Bruce - Sam Allardyce
42.4% Win % 39.7%
45 Won 56
20 Drawn 32
41 Lost 53
League Titles 0
Cup Wins 0
08/06/2012 Appointed 01/06/2011
2y 98d Time in Charge 3y 106d
37.4% Win % 39.7%
258 Won 350
170 Drawn 231
261 Lost 300
8 Sides Managed 7
0 League Titles 2
0 Cup Wins 0
Sheffield United First Managerial Role Preston North End
02/07/1998 Start Date 30/09/1992
16y 75d Experience 21y 349d