You could argue that West Ham’s defeat against Crystal Palace last weekend was unlucky. After all, the Eagles scored from a penalty and a set-piece, which doesn’t necessarily reflect how the Hammers performed on the day.
Even so, there are a few stats from the match that show why West Ham remain inconsistent as a team in general:
1) They lost the ball a lot
Against Palace, they lost the ball 112 times which is the most in any home game this season. They have given up possession more often on two occasions on the road but the loss last Saturday was by far the most careless they have been in possession at the London Stadium.
This could be attributed to their opponents pressing high but this simply wasn’t the case. The Eagles’ PPDA (passes per defensive action) was 11.92 which is not particularly impressive.
2) Attacking frequency was down on previous games at the London Stadium
West Ham had just 31 attacking situations against Palace. This is a serious reduction on previous games at home this campaign. They managed 43 in the 2-0 win versus Manchester United, 41 against Norwich City, and even though they lost 5-0 to Manchester City, they had 35 attacks in open play and from set-pieces.
Considering they had 51% possession of the ball, it shows that there was a lack of impetus when the Hammers went forward on Saturday. It plays into the first point about giving the ball away, but it also demonstrates why the home side only managed nine shots; their second-lowest total of the season so far.
3) Pressing intensity has gone backwards
It was noticeable that West Ham did not press the ball as much as they have done in recent home fixtures, and statistics bear that out. The PPDA for the Palace defeat was 12.92. If you compare that to the wins against United (8.57) and Norwich (7.31), you can see that there is a clear lack of intensity when trying to get the ball back.
The figure against the Eagles is actually below what they managed versus City (12.59) which shows why Roy Hodgson’s side managed to live with the Hammers for long spells.
For a West Ham fan, it will be frustrating to see these numbers as it clearly shows that the team dropped their standards in doing the basics: keeping the ball, pressing the ball and trying to attack when in possession.
The fact that we know they are capable of so much better makes it even more galling. If they can just make sure these numbers are consistent, defeats like the one against Palace may become a thing of the past.