Saturday 8th November 2014
West Ham United vs Aston Villa
West Ham go into this game unbeaten in four league games, 4 wins in our last six, and three home wins on the spin.
Aston Villa go into this one on the back of 6 defeats in a row in the league, a goal difference of minus 14 in that time, and three away defeats in a row.
No brainer, right?
It would by very typically West Ham for us to lose to Aston Villa on Saturday. In the 20-odd years I've followed the club it's felt like a regular feature.
If Villa are to get something from the game, they would need someone to step into the void left by key players Christian Benteke - service the first of a three match suspension - and Fabian Delph - out until December with injury.
In their absence, the key man for Villa is undoubtedly Austrian forward Andreas Weimann.
Weimann scored Villa's first goal in 6 games last time out against Tottenham to take his tally for the season to 3 in 10 games. Hardly prolific, but it is Weimann's all round game that makes him the main threat.
Not only is he Villa's top goalscorer, he has also had more shots than anyone else, and only one Villain has created more chances than him this season. The image below shows the assists and chances created by Weimann this season.
Perhaps the element of his game that deserves the most praise though is his workrate.
Only two Villa players have won more tackles than the Austrian this season, and it is not unusual to see him hassling and harrying defenders and midfielders in possession, and also working back down the flanks to support defensively.
Weimann's style of play is actually reminiscent of West Ham's in form strike partnership of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, both combining an attacking threat with electric pace and serious defensive graft.
The images below shows Weimann's tackles and heat map from the game against Hull back in August. You can see that he gets all over the park, working right back to support his fullbacks, and not just pushing forward.
How to Stop Aston Villa
Obviously, Villa have lost a lot of games recently. In their defence, they have played a number of top sides and Spurs, so their record is in some ways defensible.
Rather than look at their defeats to the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea, I thought I'd look at their losses away at Everton and Queens Park Rangers. Everton are a side West Ham are aspiring to be like, and QPR are a side that West Ham should be outperforming in most areas.
What both sides did effectively against Villa is stop them having any time on the ball by defending from the front.
The images below show both side's tackles in the game. The left shows Everton, and right shows QPR. You can clearly see that both sides pushed high up the park, putting pressure on the Villa defence.
And the next pair of images show both sides average position map.
Again, you'll notice that both sides have an almost identical style. Both fullbacks (#23 & #3 for Everton, and #14 & #13 for QPR) push very high up the park. There are two central midfielders (#18 & 16, and #20 and #30) sitting deep, and then a central front three (#21, #10 & #20, and #10, #9 & #25). Finally, both sides have a 'spare' player (#14 and #24) operating slightly wider than the rest of the midfield.
Both of these formations are similar to the diamond that West Ham have been operating with. I'll take our home game against Manchester City as an example.
Jenkinson and Cresswell pushed high up the park, Noble & Song sat in the middle, Downing, Sakho & Valencia acted as an advance front three, and Amalfitano was the 'spare' man.
Continuing in this vein should be the order of the day for West Ham. Pushing high up the park has proven effective for two of Villa's recent conquerors, and if we perform as we can, we can make it a third.
Aside from the fact that they are struggling in front of goal at the moment, I think Villa have an obvious weakness that opposition managers have been exploiting.
I've already spoken about the fact that Everton and QPR pushed up the pitch and hurried Villa's defenders. It isn't particularly unusual for Everton to approach the game like this, but it was a definite change in approach from QPR.
I think the reason Harry Redknapp altered his side's approach is because Villa are one of the poorer sides in distributing from the back.
This season, Villa have the third worse pass accuracy for defenders only, with their defenders completing just 76.8% of their passes. This isn't a horrendous rate overall, and is actually only just short of their overall success rate of 78%.
However, you would tend to expect defenders - particularly centre halves - to have a decent pass completion rate. The league average for defenders is currently 82.5% completion.
The image below shows a chart of the pass completion for defenders only.
What makes this statistic particularly worrying for Villa, is that their defenders attempt an average of 131 passes per game this season - and have actually attempted 37.1% of the overall attempted passes for the side.
This suggests that their defence has a fair chunk of the ball, and that there will be opportunities to nick possession from the high up the park - be it via tackles, interceptions or blocks.
To be honest, I hate games like this.
It's not often we are expected to win, and coming up against a side in such poor form makes us the clear favourites. In years gone by, this would be an obvious banana skin for West Ham. This season? Maybe not.
But doesn't that extra dose of hope, optimism and expectation just make the fear in the pit of your stomach swell? You can't have been a Hammer for long if it doesn't!
Head to Head
36% Head to Head Win % 35%
39 Won 38
32 Drawn 32
38 Lost 39
168 Goals Scored 168
168 Goals Conceded 168
Recent Form (excl. Friendlies)
W L W W W D Last 6 L L L L L L
13 Goals Scored 1
7 Goals Conceded 15
L L L W W W Home/Away Form L W W L L L
9 Goals Scored 2
7 Goals Conceded 11
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
Stewart Downing - Tom Cleverley
6 Appearances 6
540 Minutes Played 540
214 Sum Squawka Performance Score 119
36 Average Squawka Performance Rating 20
241 Passes Attempted 296
200 Completed 262
83% Success Rate 89%
15 Chances Created 7
2 Assists 0
9 Attempts on Goal 2
3 On Target 2
1 Goals 0
11 Take Ons Attempted 4
6 Successful Take Ons 2
55% Success Rate 50%
7 Tackles Made 29
3 Successful Tackles 16
43% Success Rate 55%
4 Interceptions 9
11 Clearances 7
0 Blocks 1
3 Defensive Actions Per Game 3
2 Aerial Duels 8
1 Won 3
50% Success Rate 38%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
11 May 2014
1-0 Kevin Nolan 46'
2-0 Kevin Nolan 48'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Adrián - Brad Guzan
Guy Demel - Matthew Lowton (56')
James Collins - Nathan Baker
James Tomkins - Ciaran Clark
George McCartney - Ryan Bertrand (74')
Mark Noble - Ashley Westwood
Matthew Taylor - Fabian Delph
Stewart Downing - Andreas Weimann (71')
(68') Kevin Nolan - Leandro Bacuna
(74') Matt Jarvis - Gabriel Agbonlahor
(46') Carlton Cole - Christian Benteke
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Jed Steer
(74') Winston Reid - Joe Bennett (74')
Roger Johnson - Karim El Ahmadi
Pablo Armero - Yacouba Sylla
Jack Collison - Marc Albrighton (56')
(68') Antonio Nocerino - Nicklas Helenius
(46') Marco Borriello - Grant Holt (71')
West Ham United: Winston Reid, Guy Demel, Andy Carroll
Aston Villa: Alan Hutton, Fabian Delph, Libor Kozak
West Ham United:
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
vs Tottenham Hotspur
Goals Scored: 1
Goals Conceded: 2
Starting Formation: 4-3-2-1
Matthew Lowton Ron Vlaar Nathan Baker Aly Cissokho (92')
Carlos Sánchez Tom Cleverley Ashley Westwood
Charles N'Zogbia (74') Andreas Weimann (85')
Christian Benteke (S/O 65')
Kieran Richardson (85')
Gabriel Agbonlahor (74')
Darren Bent (92')
Best Player: Matthew Lowton(SR: 7.5)
Worst Player: Christian Benteke(SR: 5.6)
Top 5's (Min 5 Apps)
Diafra Sakho 6 - 3 Andreas Weimann
Enner Valencia 3 - 2 Gabriel Agbonlahor
Carlton Cole 2 -
Morgan Amalfitano 2 -
Stewart Downing 2 -
Stewart Downing 4 - 1 Charles N'Zogbia
James Tomkins 2 - 1 Kieran Richardson
Aaron Cresswell 2 - 1 Andreas Weimann
Enner Valencia 2 -
Mauro Zárate 1 -
Mark Noble 87% - 89% Tom Cleverley
Stewart Downing 84% - 83% Ashley Westwood
Carl Jenkinson 84% - 83% Fabian Delph
Winston Reid 83% - 83% Philippe Senderos
James Tomkins 81% - 81% Ron Vlaar
Chances Created per 90
Stewart Downing 2.41 - 1.71 Ashley Westwood
Aaron Cresswell 1.3 - 1.01 Tom Cleverley
Mark Noble 1.29 - 1 Darren Bent
Alex Song 1 - 0.99 Charles N'Zogbia
Diafra Sakho 0.65 - 0.92 Andreas Weimann
Successful Dribbles per 90
Enner Valencia 1.7 - 2.57 Fabian Delph
Alex Song 1 - 1.11 Gabriel Agbonlahor
Morgan Amalfitano 0.94 - 0.99 Charles N'Zogbia
Diafra Sakho 0.81 - 0.88 Alan Hutton
Cheikhou Kouyaté 0.8 - 0.55 Carlos Sanchez
Tackles Won per 90
Cheikhou Kouyaté 2.87 - 2.59 Tom Cleverley
Alex Song 2.84 - 1.91 Carlos Sanchez
Morgan Amalfitano 2.58 - 1.75 Alan Hutton
Mark Noble 1.88 - 1.31 Andreas Weimann
Carl Jenkinson 1.88 - 1.13 Nathan Baker
Aerial Duels Won per 90
James Collins 4.67 - 3.01 Carlos Sanchez
James Tomkins 3.71 - 2.71 Nathan Baker
Diafra Sakho 3.55 - 2 Darren Bent
Winston Reid 3.35 - 1.73 Gabriel Agbonlahor
Cheikhou Kouyaté 3.03 - 1.72 Aly Cissokho
Sam Allardyce - Paul Lambert
19/10/1954 DOB 07/08/1969
60 Age 45
Bolton Wanderers Main Club St. Mirren
231 Appearances 227
24 Goals 14
9 Total Clubs 5
512 Appearances 574
43 Goals 35
England National Team Scotland
0 Caps 40
Preston North End First Managerial Role Livingston
30/09/1992 Start Date 01/06/2005
22y 1m 8d Experience 9y 5m 7d
7 Sides Managed 5
2 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 0
39.9% Win % 39.7%
354 Won 168
232 Drawn 98
301 Lost 157
Longest Role (excl. Current)
Bolton Wanderers Club Norwich City
19/10/1999 Appointed 18/08/2009
29/04/2007 Left 02/06/2012
7y 6m 9d Time in Charge 2y 9m 14d
0 League Titles 1
0 Cup Wins 0
41.2% Win % 49.2%
153 Won 70
104 Drawn 35
114 Lost 37
01/06/2011 Appointed 02/06/2012
3y 5m 8d Time in Charge 2y 5m 6d
0 League Titles 0
0 Cup Wins 0
40.1% Win % 30.6%
59 Won 30
34 Drawn 20
54 Lost 48