Dominant in possession: How the Hammers controlled the game v West Brom

Kouyate and Antonio


West Ham United fans will consider their side unfortunate to come away from The Hawthorns with just a point after a hard-fought goalless draw with West Brom.

In truth, the away side were the better team, creating seven chances compared to the Baggies’ five and registering nine shots, significantly more than the five attempted by West Brom.

In possession, West Ham were also dominant. Slaven Bilic’s men held 63% of the ball in what was, on paper, a tricky away test. The home side – despite their decent start to the campaign – only enjoyed 37%. It was the same story for pass accuracy. West Ham earned 86% whereas West Brom could only register 73%.

These statistics are more in keeping with how a home side might be expected to perform, which just shows how much West Ham have improved since the international break.


Jose Fonte and Matt Phillips


The Irons have now claimed four points from the last two matches.

A big part of the two good showings in the past week has been Jose Fonte, who has stepped into the side as a part of a back-three, starting both Saturday's draw at West Brom and the 2-0 home win over Huddersfield Town alongside Winston Reid and James Collins.

The Portugal defender was outstanding against the Baggies. Fonte attempted 82 passes, easily the most on the pitch, and also attempted the most tackles of any player in the game with four – winning two of them.

But Saturday’s draw was about more than Fonte. It was about a dominant team showing; One in which West Ham bossed the ball by playing almost 200 more passes than the Baggies – the away side attempted 484 compared to West Brom’s 289; One in which Bilic’s side touched the ball 642 times to the home side's 433.


Andy Carroll against West Brom


Tackles? West Ham won 18 to West Brom’s 12. The picture the statistics paints speaks a thousand words and, in crucial areas in crucial metrics, the game was bossed by West Ham.

However, as both Bilic and Fonte said afterwards, the Hammers need to find a way of turning that dominance into clear-cut chances and goals. Despite their controlling of proceedings, West Ham unleashed just one shot on target - Michail Antonio's low first-half shot - and another from Pedro Obiang, which hit the crossbar.

Saturday’s performance against the Baggies will give the fans, the team and the manager heart heading into three successive home games. Bolton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup comes next on Tuesday before matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City in the Premier League.

If the Hammers can keep doing the basics right, and turning their possession into opportunities to score, then their chances of extending their current unbeaten run will certainly increase.