Friday, January 15, 2010

Keeping Possession May Be The Way To Victory For West Ham Against Villa

West Ham are down to bare bones for this match against Aston Villa at Villa Park. No senior strikers and possibly no Scott Parker and definitely no Mark Noble. Gianfranco Zola's motivational skills will be tested to the fullest this Sunday. At least Jack Collison will be back and his dynamic runs will be all the more important in this one.

This is as tough as it comes. It looks like the same team that played and played very well against Arsenal in the FA Cup will be the first team lineup this Sunday. It is also a West Ham team which is raw and inexperienced in a high-pressure away match. With the other relegation threatened teams playing tough opposition, a good result against the Villans will help the Hammers surge ahead of the basement battle.

It wasn't easy to think about how the Hammers could possibly win at Villa especially with a depleted squad that Zola has with him. And thus I started to look at possession play to see if we have the edge in that area. At least if West Ham can keep the ball for long periods in the game, we would not get beat.

This is what my research told me,

In terms of possession play, West Ham keep the ball better than Villa. So yes, the Hammers can hold the ball a lot better than Villa and I feel that this will be the way to victory on Sunday. Further to this, from my analysis, West Ham's possession play has created 103 shots on goal which suggests that it is not just sideways passes but penetrative and forward passes as well.

So the game plan is simple on Sunday: Keep the ball away from Villa as much as possible, provide cover on the flanks when Villa counterattacks and finally get the ball to Diamanti who has a "shoot on sight" policy.

Three points would be perfect but considering the players who are available, a draw will be a valuable point!

Come On You Irons!

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