Stat's a Fact - Sunderland analysis

We take a look at James Collins' performance in Saturday's victory against Sunderland

One-nil victories have been a rare occurrence for the Hammers this season – although it was a scoreline toasted by the Boleyn Ground crowd on Saturday evening.

The Hammers have triumphed by the solitary goal just twice this term now, and both of those three-point hauls have come against north east clubs, with both Newcastle United and Sunderland leaving the Boleyn Ground having been defeated 1-0.

With four further games ending 1-1 (and three of them coming in 2015), perhaps a greater defensive solidity would have brought the Hammers the points to keep them in the top seven post-Christmas.

However, that solidity was certainly in evidence on Saturday, with James Collins outstanding in the centre of defence alongside the stand-in Cheikhou Kouyate.

Collins was a runaway winner in our Man of the Match vote on Twitter and the statistics show why that was the case.

Over the 90 minutes the No19 won all four of his aerial duels, completed the one tackle he needed to make successfully, and relieved the pressure with 18 clearances, 12 of which were with his head.

His defensive presence was particularly pertinent in the game’s closing stages, with eleven of those 18 clearances coming in the final 20 minutes, helping to keep Sunderland away from the Hammers goal.

In all, West Ham’s dominance in possession – they made 365 passes to Sunderland’s 330 – ensured most of the game was played either in the middle, or Sunderland’s defensive third.

With only 20.8 per cent of the match taking place around Adrian’s goal, Collins was able to help protect the No13, with only three Sunderland efforts making their way through to him in the entire game.

It meant that one goal was likely to win it for the hosts, and so it proved as Diafra Sakho took the chance which came his way two minutes from time, firing down into the ground and the bottom left hand corner after being set up by Mark Noble.

Check out a whole host of stats, heat maps and more in our Match Centre here

The majority of Collins' clearances came late in the game