On their return to the Premier League, West Ham played host to Aston Villa on the opening weekend. It was a tight affair, with Kevin Nolan’s 6-yard tap in shortly before half-time settling the fixture. Both sides set up in a 4-5-1 formation to start with:
The first half was one really controlled by Villa, the first 30 minutes belonged to Villa, they controlled and dictated the play, but were unable to break West Ham down, never really created any real chances, and were forced to shoot from distance. Shooting Stats:
West Ham were definitely more clinical on the day, even without having the bulk of the possession, only retaining 34.2% of the ball today, while Villa had 65.8% of possession, which was mainly had passing the ball round the back, and slowly building up play, without creating any real pressure on the West Ham defence, allowing them to get into their shape, and be tough to break down, a typical Same Allardyce set-up. Here’s a look at the passing/crossing stats of the game:
West Ham Goal
Late on in the first half, West Ham were awarded a free kick, around 40 yards from goal. Its played into James Collins, contesting the ball with Villa defender Clark, who nods it on to the back post where it finds an unmarked Ricardo Vaz Te, who slots the ball in-between Given & Vlaar, where it falls to the feet of Nolan on the 6-yard line, and slots it into the empty net, the goal was initially rules out for offside, but controversially, referee Mike Dean went over to the linesman, and over-ruled the decision. The ball was played off Clark, not West Ham’s Collins, which meant Vaz Te was not offside. West Ham take a 1-0 lead into the second half.
West Ham would hold onto the lead in the second half, comfortably playing their way to a victory, when late on in added time, substitute Modibo Maiga was slotted through 1-on-1 with Shay Given, he skipped round the keeper, and took the shot, thinking he would score, where a defender had chased back and had a goal-line stop. The match ended West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa, a very comfortable start to the season for the Hammers, whereas wasteful Villa live to rue the day.
As you can see from the player stats below Mohamed Diame and Kevin Nolan were very important for the side yesterday. In addition to Diame’s passing stats he also won all four of his tackles and attempted 12 ground duels of which he won 7. An impressive start for Diame and you can immediately see what he brings to the side.
Kevin Nolan returned to the Premier League with a winning goal – an excellent return for the Premier League veteran! As you can see from the stats below he also had the most shots in the side so was the main attacking threat on the day.
Three points on the board – a very satisfying start for the Hammers!
All stats are via the EPLIndex.com Opta Stats Centre – get your hands on all Match Stats after the game by subscribing to the Stats Centre!