There are a lot of positives to talk about when it comes to West Ham this season with David Moyes’ men moving up to fourth in the Premier League table on Tuesday night.
Tomas Soucek’s brace and a goal by Craig Dawson earned the Irons all three points in a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park but there were a couple of warning signs surrounding Moyes’ defence.
Before Matheus Pereira scored or West Brom at the London Stadium last week, West Ham had gone four games in all competitions without conceding.
Goals by Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi in South London on Tuesday night further showcased weaknesses in the West Ham defence, with both players capitalising upon rare defensive lapses by Angelo Ogbonna.
It wasn’t the best of performances by the 32-year-old centre-back, who has been as solid as a rock for most of the season.
However, stats by Wyscout show that Ogbonna completed two interceptions, nine recoveries and three clearances at Selhurst Park and all of those are lower than his season average per 90 minutes in the Premier League.
Ogbonna also won just one of the three aerial duels he was involved in when in the league this term, he’s won 57.4 per cent of high balls.
Zaha made it a tense start for West Ham early on at Selhurst on Tuesday when he took advantage of an out-of-position Ogbonna to score.
As you can see from the image below, Zaha is on the ball with Ogbonna keeping an eye on him.
However, Zaha ends up playing the ball to Christian Benteke and rather letting Craig Dawson deal with the Belgian striker, Ogbonna gets sucked in.
Ogbonna’s movement opens up a lot of space for Zaha to drive into.
Ogbonna, in fairness, does manage to react quickly enough to stop Zaha bursting into that space but in doing so, lunges at the Palace attacker.
As much as Zaha isn’t a popular player among us West Ham fans, we still have to admit he has some of the quickest feet in the Premier League and is easily able to avoid Ogbonna’s lunge and get a strike off at goal, which beats Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham were 3-1 ahead going into stoppage time but will be very disappointed by the goal they conceded from Batshuayi.
Below, you can see the danger developing as the ball is passed to Jordan Ayew, with Batshayi making the run to the Palace player’s left.
Ogbonna is making Ayew but is nowhere near close enough to stop him from getting the pass through to Batshayi.
Ogbonna only gets close enough once Ayew has moved the ball on, feeding Batshayi with a goalscoring opportunity that he takes.
Ogbonna has been superb for us this season but Moyes needs to try and nip these defensive blips in the bud as soon as he can because we have big games on the horizon against attack-minded teams who can hurt us.
Liverpool visit East London on Sunday, Aston Villa play host to the Irons next week while February also sees Moyes’ men face up against Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City.
Palace are by no means one of the best attacking outfits in the league and neither are West Brom but they’ve hit three avoidable goals against us in our last two Premier League fixtures.
We know Ogbonna can do better and we trust that he will improve after that rare off-night in South London.
In other West Ham news, the Irons have made an approach to sign Jesse Lingard on loan.