West Ham extended their winning streak to four matches on Tuesday night when they beat Sam Allardyce’s struggling West Brom 2-1 at the London Stadium.
Although it was a massive three points for the Irons, it was not as convincing a performance at the back as what we’ve seen lately from David Moyes’ side.
Matheus Pereira’s second-half goal for the visitors stopped us from reaching five matches without conceding a goal but the West Brom attacker’s goal was so easily preventable, as were some of the away side’s other chances.
Firstly, we need to examine the stats.
According to Wyscout, West Brom had 14 attempts at goal when on average in the Premier League this season, West Ham have conceded 11.26.
Moyes’ men also won fewer defensive duels versus the Baggies [52.5%] compared to their season average in the top-flight of 59.3 per cent.
It wasn’t the best day at the office for West Ham’s rearguard and they were lucky they only conceded the one goal.
Pereira was handed way too much time and space when he managed to find the back of the net from outside the penalty area in the second half.
As you can see below, Pereira collects the ball between West Ham’s defensive and midfield lines with Declan Rice, in this instance, caught too high up the pitch.
Craig Dawson is then caught in two minds. Does he commit forward and try to close down West Brom’s Brazilian playmaker or does he continue jockeying back in case of pass out wide.
Angelo Ogbonna is also tracking back while Rice and Vladimir Coufal are trying to make up ground after being caught out high up the pitch. No one is closing Pereira down.
Pereira then slows his run and three West Ham defenders – Coufal (1), Dawson (2) and Ogbonna (3) are too slow to react, opening up valuable space for the Baggies player to shoot from the edge of the box.
No one closes him down and, as a result, no one blocks the shot which beats Lukasz Fabianski.
Michail Antonio’s goal later in the half ended up securing all three points for West Ham but Darnell Furlong could have scored a late equaliser for Allardyce’s team.
Yet again, it was poor defending on behalf of the Hammers.
West Ham’s right-hand side is split due to a good forward pass by Semi Ajayi, which finds Kieran Gibbs on the touchline.
Again, as you can see, Coufal is caught flat-footed and too high up the pitch. When West Ham are defending a one-goal lead with minutes left, the full-back should be sitting a lot deeper and more inline with the centre-backs.
Gibbs eventually hits a cross into the penalty area. Aaron Cresswell is marking Furlong at the back-post, but you’ll notice that Cresswell completely loses his man and allows him to have a huge chance at goal.
Furlong, to his credit, does really well to get to the ball but Cresswell’s attempt to beat the West Brom player is poor.
Fortunately for West Ham, the ball fell onto the right-back’s left foot. If that was someone like Pereira or Callum Robinson, the game could have ended 2-2.
West Ham may have shored up their defence in recent weeks with Dawson’s role in the side proving to be a key one but they cannot afford to be complacent against some of the Premier League’s struggling clubs.
One defensive lapse was enough to give the Baggies a goal and Moyes was fortunate another one was not given away at the death.
If the Hammers want to qualify for Europe this season, they’ll have to see out games far better than they did against West Brom because better teams will punish them.
In other West Ham news, Gareth Barry has urged the Irons to sign a new striker after Sebastien Haller was sold.