A statistical look at Villa's opener versus West Ham
There was a drastic transformation on show under Paul Lambert in comparison to former Manager Alex McLeish’s containing tactics. Villa were third highest possessors of the ball at the weekend with an impressive 65% of the ball and with 506 short passes Villa were only slightly behind Fulham, Arsenal and Man City and ahead of Liverpool in the passing stakes. In comparison to their hosts West Ham, Villa competed over 300 short passes more and attempted 4 through balls to West Ham’s zero.
Its goals that win games though and despite Nathan Baker winning 8 Aerial Duels the 2nd highest all weekend behind Ryan Shawcross, West Ham once again exposed Villa’s vulnerability from Set Pieces with a goal from Kevin Nolan via a free kick. A lack of penetration and width held Villa back though and with 69% of their shots coming from outside the box (the most of any premier league club this weekend) they never really looked like scoring; this is an area Paul Lambert will look to rectify possibly through a new winger and Striker.
Stand out Players
Villa’s overall pass success rate was 80% with Fabian Delph the most impressive with a 93.5% accuracy rate from 77 passes, new boy Karim el Ahmadi completed the most passes at 94 with a success rate of 84%; El Ahmadi was in good company amongst Paul Scholes, Mikel Arteta and Yaya Toure in the top 5 passers at the weekend.
From an attacking point of view Charles N’zogbia stood out but for the wrong reasons, he was the most fouled player at the weekend but also amongst the most dispossessed, losing the ball on 4 occasions in attacking positions.
Filling in at left back, Nathan Baker was statistically amongst the top 20 players playing at the weekend and was Villa’s best performer. Winning 8 aerial duels against a physical West Ham side was impressive and the 2nd best in the league at the weekend, he also contributed with 5 tackles and 4 clearances. One area that Baker could statistically improve on was his passing; he completed only 63% of his passes (the lowest in starting lineup) but on the flip side attempted only one long ball.
Ron Vlaar enjoyed a solid enough start to his Premier League career despite being roughed up by Carlton Cole on a number of occasions, He completed 8 clearances and had 3 shots on goal which was the most of any Villa player that day. Matthew Lowton was solid enough also with him contributing to Villa’s passing game by competing 91% of his 45 passes.
Stephen Ireland a player of much division between fans completed the 2nd lowest amount of passes of any Villa player with 74% of his passes successful but it’s interesting to note that despite his deeper positional play he provided the most key passes with 3 and also had 2 shots on goal.
It’s a drastic transformation in play for Villa and it will take time for Paul Lambert to implement his style but providing Villa can maintain their Premier League status this season, the Villa fans should look forward to some entertaining football but it will most probably take until next season before they can see its full effects.