West Ham failed to score for just the third time this season when they were held to a goalless draw away at struggling Fulham on Saturday.
David Moyes named an attacking line-up for the trip to Craven Cottage with Said Benrahma, Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen, in-form Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio all featuring in the starting XI.
However, stats by Wyscout show that the Irons mustered a paltry five shots at goal at Craven Cottage, hitting the target just once, generating an xG of 0.6. Relegation-threatened Fulham, on the other hand, had 18 attempts at goal, hit the target twice and had an xG of 2.27. In a nutshell, the West London club should have won.
West Ham’s attack isn’t usually as poor as it was against Fulham. Whether it was just an off-day for the Hammers or a very strong performance by the Cottagers is up for debate but the numbers don’t tell any lies.
Moyes’ men had fewer shots at goal, counter attacks, corners and crosses compared to their Premier League average this season while also generating a far worse xG and being caught offside more often.
It’s not as though the Hammers didn’t have opportunities to score at Craven Cottage.
One spell of pressure in the first half pretty much summed everything up about their performance at Fulham.
As you can see below, Bowen has the ball out on the right and is ready to launch a cross into the box, where there are five of his team-mates, plus Lingard lurking on the edge of the area.
While we appreciate Bowen was being closed down by two players, his cross into the box was very poor as it ended up going behind almost every player in claret and blue.
After West Ham got the ball back, Benrahma ended up with the ball on the left-flank. Again, there were five Hammers players in the penalty area, with Declan Rice joining Lingard on the edge of the box.
Benrahma managed to pass the ball to Rice, but the England midfielder’s decision-making wasn’t at it’s best when he opted to have a show at goal.
Rice’s shot was easily dealt with at the near post, while Lingard was completely unmarked on the edge of the area and in a better position to either shoot or find one of the attacking players on the edge of the six-yard box.
West Ham’s attacking performance can be described in two ways.
Under pressure, they lacked quality and when there was less pressure on them, their decision-making was still rushed and poor.
Next up for the Hammers is a trip to Old Trafford to play against Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
We’re all dying to see the team go on a good cup run and this seems like an ideal year to do that with how things are going in the league.
Man United will be a tough side to beat but they’ll be especially tough if we attack the way we did at Craven Cottage.
In other West Ham news, Garth Crooks named Lingard in his team of the week.