Saturday saw West Ham produce another masterful performance away from home, beating a Palace side that have been impressive themselves so far this season.
It looked as if the game was heading for a draw before Manuel Lanzini fired the Hammers into the lead late on. The Argentine then set up Dimitri Payet to cap off a memorable home win with a superbly taken goal that oozed the player’s wonderful class and ability.
Match of the Day highlighted the effect of Lanzini and Payet but to prove how good they really were, a quick look at the match stats shows their significant impact on the game.
Lanzini attempted an impressive 90 passes, the most of any West Ham player in 90 minutes this season. In fact, only Manchester City defensive midfielder Ferndandinho has managed more passes in a game involving West Ham this season (94). What is even more impressive is his success rate, 84 of those 90 passes reached a teammate. These are fantastic figures for an attacking midfielder, showing his ability to keep the ball and pick out other players, something that is vital away from home. Unsurprisingly, Lanzini also played the most attacking third passes in the game (29), showing his attacking intent by passing the ball in dangerous areas.
These stats suggest that West Ham’s little Argentine is incredibly reliable with the ball despite his attacking approach. It gets even better for ‘the jewell’ as nobody pulled off more successful take-ons than him in the game (6). Comparing this to Palace showman Yannick Bolasie, the Congo winger only managed three successful take-ons despite his nine attempted efforts.
Out of West Ham’s top 10 pass combinations in the Palace game, Lanzini features in seven of them. Although his style of play makes many think that he is a luxury player, the accuracy and sheer brilliance of this information suggest that the Hammers have one heck of a player on their hands. Having that kind of an influence on the game is fantastic considering he was playing his football in Qatar a few months ago.
Dimitri Payet was not at his rip-roaring best on Saturday but he still produced the goods when it mattered. He created six chances in the game, three more than second-placed Victor Moses. He played 28 attacking third passes, just one off Manuel Lanzini’s total. The Frenchman was always looking to supply crosses into the box for Diafra Sakho. Out of the 13 crosses attempted, four were successful. When this is compared to second-placed Pape Soure with a total of 1 out of 4, it shows just how effective Payet is in wide areas.
Squawka now rates Payet as the third best player in the league right now with Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez the only players rated higher. No player has played more key passes in the league this season (35). Mesut Ozil is currently four behind Payet in second place.
Overall, the Hammers have two very creative, efficient and deadly players that are hitting top form. Bilic hailed his team’s victory over Palace as his “proudest moment” since he took over at West Ham. With that in mind, Lanzini and Payet have certainly been players to be proud of so far this season.