David Moyes is a manager that is not famed for his enthralling style of football and expressive nature, a feature that is evident in his West Ham side.
It has been a mixed start to the season for the Hammers with a couple of Premier League defeats in the first two rounds of fixtures followed by a run of just one defeat in eight league games, before enduring a recent record of only two wins in seven.
West Ham have scored three goals in a Premier League match on three occasions this term and they all came consecutively when they beat Wolves 4-0 on September 27, before a 3-0 victory at Leicester City on October 4 was followed by a thrilling 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur two weeks later, sandwiched by an international break.
Thrilling is not the word that can be described for most of the Hammers other 14 Premier League games this season. Their languid style of play is evidenced in this key statistic.
Per Wyscout, West Ham attempt a lowly 20.63 dribbles per 90, ranking them 17th in the Premier League for this metric. This is put into perspective by the three teams that sit below them on this list.
Two of them – Sheffield United and Burnley – are the division’s lowliest scorers with both sides yet to reach double figures for goals, while another, Newcastle United, are famed for their slow and dull football, as fans of the club will attest to.
It cannot be denied that Moyes is getting results, of sorts, with the Hammers comfortably positioned away from the relegation zone in mid-table.
But if the club want to show any ambition and kick on towards the European spots, Moyes must think about introducing a more progressive style of play.
Apart from any tactical tweaks this can be done by ensuring the personnel on the pitch is adequately prepared to take on this responsibility.
Those three impressive goal scoring games against Wolves, Leicester and Spurs are of paramount interest because they all included Arthur Masuaku and Michail Antonio, who are West Ham’s dribbling kings.
Both rank in the Premier League top 30 (per Wyscout) for dribbles per 90 (Antonio 14th with 6.58 and Masuaku 24th with 5.95).
Neither player has started West Ham’s last six games since Masuaku played in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United on December 5.
It is why the presence of Said Benrahma is so crucial if either, or both, of the pair are absent.
The Algerian winger has had limited game time for the Hammers this season with Friday’s match against Everton his first start in four games, making it just his fourth overall.
In the Championship last season, only Luton Town’s Kazenga LuaLua could better Benrahma’s dribbles per 90 of 9.84, and his sample size was considerably smaller than the ex-Brentford man.
Benrahma was selected in a central role against Everton but he might be better served playing on his preferred left wing role if he is to replicate the success he enjoyed in the second tier of English football.
If he is then expect West Ham to benefit from his drive and purposeful runs on the ball which will have the coupled benefit of drawing more space and making them more exciting to watch.
Expect that dribble stat to fly up if he is afforded the opportunities.
In other West Ham news, our view on why this ex-Premier League star would be a perfect fit for the Hammers.