This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
West Ham United backed up the big-money arrival of striker Sebastien Haller during the summer transfer window with the £8m signing of Albian Ajeti on the penultimate day before the deadline, but it’s fair to say he is yet to make his mark.
Following the departures of Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovic and more recently Javier Hernandez, it appears that Haller and Ajeti are fighting for the lone centre-forward role in manager Manuel Pellegrini’s preferred 4-1-4-1 formation used in all matches so far this season.
However, the latter has been an unused substitute in all of the three Premier League fixtures he has been available for to date, with his only minutes coming when he played the full game against Newport County in the Carabao Cup.
Having failed to find the net against the League Two outfit, the Switzerland international must have smelt blood and sensed he had an ideal opportunity on his hands when he was named alongside Breel Embolo up top for his nation’s Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Gibraltar on Sunday.
The minnows came into the clash having conceded 12 goals and scored none in their four Group D games to date, and it looked to be a great chance for the 23-year-old attacker to get on the score-sheet and prove a point to his club manager.
While he didn’t get a goal, you might well have expected him to have some other impressive attacking statistics in what was a comfortable and one-sided 4-0 victory, but it just wasn’t the case.
He finished the match having failed to make a single key pass, while he made just the six accurate passes in total.
On the plus side he did look lively and aware in the penalty area, which is a trait that the man who recently left the London Stadium, Hernandez, was well known for.
Pellegrini has largely ignored Ajeti when it has come to the Premier League to date, and on this showing it’s not difficult to see why.
West Ham will be hoping that he is simply lacking confidence and form, and that they haven’t thrown more money down the drain.