West Ham have improved by an astonishing amount during the past year in most areas, however there is one area where they have dropped in quality significantly. After the opening 10 Premier League fixtures last season, the Hammers had scored just 8 goals, compared to 19 this time around – more than double the amount of goals.
Those goals have certainly propelled the East London club up the table, picking up 7 more points compared to this stage last year. There is also no doubting that the overall style of football has improved also.
However , defensively they have left a lot to be desired. Last season they conceded just 8 goals in the opening 10 games, earning 6 clean sheets in the process. So far this campaign they have conceded 14 in the same amount of games, and have only kept a single clean sheet.
West Ham largely have the same defence as last season but with the addition of Aaron Cresswell. The 24-year-old has made two high-profile defensive errors since joining the Hammers and unfortunately found both mistakes punished with a goal. However, it would be harsh to pin the overall poor defensive performances on a left-back.
Adrian became the No.1 goalkeeper last season, and he has held his own so far, keeping veteran Jussi Jääskeläinen out of the team. However, is the Spaniard still producing the kind of form that saw him break into West Ham’s team? And how does he compare to the other Premier League goalies ?
As you would expect, the West Ham ‘keeper is required to make more saves than perhaps the top sides’ goalies are, and that largely the reason why he has made the 5th highest amount of saves in the league. However, it is perhaps more telling to analyse how many saves a ‘keeper makes for every goal he concedes.
In ‘saves per goal’ terms, one player stands far above the rest with a ratio of 3.6, Southampton’s Fraser Forster. He is followed (not so closely) by Swansea’s Lukasz Fabianski, with a score of 2.5, who is marginally ahead of England’s number one Joe Hart (2.43). You have to go all the way down to the ultimate average place of 10th to uncover Adrian, who saves 1.64 shots per one that gets by – a respectable score.
For those interested, the bottom three goalkeepers currently in the relegation zone are Kasper Schmeichel (1.07), Julian Speroni (1.06), and Asmir Begovic (0.75). Adrian could certainly be doing worse, that’s for sure!
Perhaps Adrian is just victim of Allardyce’s reintroduction of attacking football to West Ham. It’s to be expected that a dramatic increase in goals scored would be met with some sort of increase in the amount of goals a side conceded. Adrian is certainly not doing badly and Jussi Jääskeläinen isn’t getting any younger.
Having said that, it is easier to work on defence in training and improve the little things, than it is to tell your strikers how to score goals. It’s a rather small blip in The Hammers’ performances so far but I’m sure Big Sam will make sure things improve defensively.
As long as his team are scoring almost two goals per game on average, and keep on winning games, I’m sure he won’t be too worried .