It was another strong performance from West Ham to see off a struggling Burnley side who are still yet to record a Premier League win this season.
Although the opposition won’t be the toughest West Ham will face this campaign, nothing should be taken away from the manner in which West Ham collected the three points. Three goals all coming from strikers in a game played away from home is enough evidence to suggest that Allardyce has completely scrapped the tactics that got him the West Ham job in the first place.
Two positions that are fundamental to the team playing well and getting goals are the left and right full backs. Hopefully, Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell will continue to stay fit as we approach the winter season where games come thick and fast. Against Burnley, the two young defenders showed exactly why they offer so much in the attacking third with an assist each. Their wide play was pivotal to the team breaking down Burnley, providing much needed width to a diamond formation that runs the risk of becoming too narrow without attacking full backs.
Carl Jenkinson really announced himself as a West Ham player against Burnley, with WhoScored.com giving him a rating of 7.94. Compared to Guy Demel, the English defender adds more agility and pace to the position than his Ivorian teammate. He recorded passing accuracy statistics of 89.7%, completing 35 of his 39 attempts. He attempted four crosses in the game, with one of them being the fantastic cross to Enner Valencia for West Ham’s second. An improvement in crossing quality for West Ham is vital as there are now two strikers in the box who can head a ball exceptionally well.
It is not only in the attacking areas that Carl Jenkinson performs well. When defenders like Jenkinson have a tendency to attack so much, they need to be able to recover quickly and defend well for the team. Jenkinson had a 100% tackle success rate, completing all of his three attempted tackles. It doesn’t sound like a big statistic but James Collins was the only defender on the pitch to make more tackles (four out of an attempted five). Jenkinson also reads the game well, making 3 interceptions over the course of 90 minutes. Clearly, when Jenkinson is fit, he is very similar to Cresswell in how he likes to attack.
Although it is early days, Allardyce must surely be looking into the possibility of making his loan move permanent. At the age of 22, he still has a lot more to offer. As a club, West Ham can offer him regular football and nurture his talent, something that may not occur so frequently at Arsenal.
Looking at the opposite flank, Aaron Cresswell is another success story from our very good summer transfer business. He was simply fantastic against Burnley, with WhoScored.com making him man of the match with an 8.78 rating. Cresswell clearly fits the mould of the modern attacking full back, he attempted 12 attacking third passes against Burnely compared to Jenkinson’s six, and we know the Arsenal loanee isn’t exactly shy when it comes to getting forward.
The crossing statistics are also impressive, with two of his three attempted crosses finding a target in the area. Obviously, one of those crosses was the assist for Diafra Sakho’s 6th goal in as many starts. The quality of this cross cannot be underestimated as it had curve, pace and landed in an area that made it almost impossible for the goalkeeper to come and collect. I’ve said it time and time again, West Ham have simply not had this quality in terms of delivery from the full back positions in a long time.
Cresswell, just like Jenkinson, produced a sound display in defence, completing three of his four attempted tackles and blocking three crosses from being delivered into the box. He also won five out of six aerial duels which is impressive figures considering the 24-year-old stands at 5”6 tall. Looking at the stats, it is clear to see that West Ham have two good young English full backs at their disposal. Hopefully, they continue to produce sound displays across the season so that West Ham continue to outscore and outplay teams.