Jesse Lingard will be hoping to continue his excellent start to life at West Ham when we travel to Molineux on Monday evening.
The Hammers will be taking on 13th placed Wolves in the return of the Premier League. It’s been a strong international break for the Hammers – Lingard and Declan Rice both featured heavily for England and won all the player of the match awards over the three games.
Lingard was excellent against San Marino. He did everything but score in his first game for England in nearly two years. He’ll be doing everything he can in the next nine games to stay in the national squad for the European Championships.
Wolves come into the clash with one win in their last five. By their standards, it’s been an inconsistent season, and Nuno Espirito Santo will be demanding more from his players. One man, in particular, who needs to step up is Nelson Semedo.
The Portuguese international signed for a huge £37million from Barcelona. His form has been well below par and has been dropped from the national side.
Brought in to replace Matt Doherty, he’s picked up a single assist for Wolves and is yet to score. Defensively he’s been far from perfect either.
Semedo has won 50.9% of his duels in the Premier League this season, which isn’t a dreadful stat [WyScout]. But he’s only been able to match this once in his last eight league games – he won 52% of his duels in the 1-0 defeat of Leeds United.
His defensive positioning is certainly something Lingard could exploit. As seen below, only a minute into the game and he’s lost Sadio Mane as Liverpool win possession.
We’ve seen Lingard pick up similar positions to Mane in his time with us. He picked up a loose ball in a similar position against Sheffield United, running up the other end and winning a penalty. Mane sets off and Semedo leaves the Wolves right-hand side exposed.
Per 90, Semedo loses possession 9.42 times, with 41.1% of those occasions coming in his own half. This could prove fatal against Lingard. In his last two games, he has recovered the ball seven times, six coming in the opposition half.
Semedo has also proven himself to be quite clumsy in matches. Along with George Baldock of Sheffield United, he’s given away 37 fouls in the Premier League. This is the joint-most for a defender in the top-flight – this could play into our hands easily.
The Hammers are excellent from set-plays. We’ve now scored 15 goals from freekicks and corners, the most in the Premier League. It makes up for a third of our goals – targeting a reckless defender should be our priority.
A win at Wolves would be huge for our European football charge. Hopefully, Lingard and co will be back to their best after a poor run of results against Manchester United and Arsenal.