The Blind Hammer Column

Blind Hammer argues that more work on the training field is needed.

For a while I have suspected, despite Antonio’s goal against Liverpool, that West Ham are not potent from set pieces.

I decided to investigate.

I found indeed that West Ham are amongst the worst performers. The bald stat is that West Ham had only scored 5 league goals from set pieces this season.

There is a myth that it is the less skilful teams who rely on set pieces.

The clear winner in the Premier League table is Liverpool who have succeeded 15 times from set pieces, 3 times as many as West Ham. Tottenham have scored 12 whilst Manchester United and Arsenal have amassed 11 and 10 respectively.

You may in any case, expect teams at the top of the table to score more goals generally including set pieces

The problem though is that West Ham also lag compared to competitors around them.

Brighton outperforms West Ham to a startling degree, scoring 12 goals as opposed to West Ham’s 5. Bournemouth have doubled West Ham’s effort with 10 goals, whilst Watford and Everton are not far behind with 9.

Even some strugglers have outperformed West Ham, Burnley having scored 8 with Cardiff and Huddersfield registering 7.

West Ham are in the basement of the Premier League Set piece table alongside sides such as Fulham and Southampton on 4. The other notable poor performer inconsistent with their League position is Chelsea who have only managed 6.

As with all these analyses there is room for further questions. How many set piece situations do West Ham win compared to other teams? What proportion are corners compared to free kicks. What is their conversion rate?

Despite this there is a case for Pellegrini and his coaching team to answer. It is clear that set piece conversion is not amongst West Ham’s strengths. It is difficult to explain why Brighton with 12 goals outperform West Ham so much, why are most of our direct competitors nearly twice as productive?

This is even more important as we currently have no performing out and out goalscorer. Anderson, a midfielder, leads our scoring table with 9 goals.

The failure to produce from set pieces has probably cost us points in tight games against teams like Brighton .

We need to improve our routines, deliveries, and efforts on goal in order to achieve some parity with the teams around us. The desired increase in quality will have to emerge from rush green.

David Griffith
Stats taken from
Who Premier League Statistics.