Manchester City travel to The Boleyn ground, Upton Park on Saturday in the 10th Premier League fixture of the season. West Ham will be a tough away game for City. Expect an old fashioned physical battle come 17:30 BST.
How good is West ham's home form, and what can Man City reasonable expect to get, in terms of a result, out of Saturday's game?
West Ham have been strong at home in 2012/13 and it is this home form which will eventually decide their PL future; safety as the pre-requisite, a top half finish as the outstanding achievement target. West Ham's home form is currently 6th best in the PL with 2 points earned per game.
We know about the physical challenge that West Ham will pose City, we know about the direct style of play and the ways in which strong men like Carroll and Nolan are used to great effect by Sam Allardyce's tactics, but it would be unfair to label them as a Stoke hybrid. West Ham use this direct style to get the football as near to the oppositions goal as possible, and use those big forwards to win those high ball possession duels, and the Hammers are, to an extent, successful.
West Ham's shots totals and shots on target totals are superior to those expected of a Stoke clone, direct football outfit.. Better players. better tactics. or a more efficient use of the long ball? Either way, West Ham will pose a threat to Man City on Saturday.
West Ham's Home Form
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
West Ham 3-0 Fulham
West Ham 1-1 Sunderland
West Ham 1-3 Arsenal
West Ham 4-1 Southampton
Arsenal stand alone as the sole victorious away team in 2012/13.
42%. Not a great number, but also, not a number that has prevented West Ham from scoring or registering shots on target. Possession isn't a key requirement for West Ham in the same way it is for Arsenal, for example.
This is the 16th best possession figure in the PL so far this season. This also means that West Ham have better possession figures whilst playing away. Random statistical noise, or a recognition that the possession leads to containment of the home opposition.
Pretty steady numbers. A positive differential is the least we expect from a home team.
Shots On Target
PDO average is 100, Scoring % average is around 30, and save % average is around 70.
We can see that West Ham's home form is being powered not by an especially high save % but by their excellent scoring %. This fits with West Ham's tactic of direct football, get the ball in the dangerous areas (oppositions 18 yard box) as quickly and as often as possible and then relying on the strong men up front to do their job; win the ball, cause havoc and create high end scoring chances at as short a distance from the oppositions goal as possible.
That scoring %, and thus pdo number, is likely to regress towards the mean from the very high and efficient positions that they currently occupy.
Expected Shots On Target For
So, in 3 out of 5 games West Ham registered more shots on target, which is the crucial mainstream stat, than their possession figures expected them to. This tells us about West Ham's better than average ability to create scoring chances from what smaller share of possession they actually have. Only against Sunderland were the Hammers truly stifled, and stiflings are what Sunderland specialize in.
The paper thin mean lines on the graph show us Weest Ham have outperformed their expected number over the duration of the season.
Expected Shots On Target Against
The expected shots on target against column is a little more confused. West Ham conceded more shots than was expected on two occasions, Fulham and Arsenal. The other three games tell us that West Ham have conceded less shots on target against than their expectancy number by a significant margin. In those 3 games West Ham were expected to concede 16 shots on target, when in fact they only conceded 5. Those three games were against a weaker set of opposition in Aston Villa, Sunderland and Southampton.
Bottom line is West Ham give up shots, and more than is expected against quality opposition. man City fit the bill of quality opposition.
West Ham And The First Goal
This is West Ham's home and away record when scoring the first goal. Bold is home, italics are away.
It's pretty easy to see that if West Ham concede the first goal they don't usually have the firepower or skill to be able to tuen that result around as, let's say, a Man Utd do.
West Ham have lost 2 and drawn one when conceding the first goal.
West Ham, by the PL table, are a strong home team. three wins and a draw in five games is testament to that. They are outscoring the opposition by a handy margin, but most of this is due to West Ham's high scoring % and an ability in registering more shots than their possession figure expects them to.
Possession isn't a key tactical component for West Ham and nor should it be. There are a myriad of different ways to win a football game, and sometimes ceding possession in order to have a tight defensive shape, and playing a direct style to maximize time spent in opposition territory can be just one of those ways to win a football game.
West Ham do play a direct style, they do play to their strengths and on occasion the away team cannot cope with such tactics.
I would hope Man City have the horses to cope with West Ham's style and then go on to fully utilise the lions share of possession and register more than average of 4.2 shots on target that West Ham's opposition have registered so far. If Man City register anywhere near their average of 6.5 shots on target per game I would expect a victory for the Blues.
Both teams to score wouldn't be a bad prediction.
if Man City can cope effectively with Carroll and Nolan and the skill players that buzz around them then i don't see anything in west Ham's home form, or underlying numbers that should overly frighten man City.