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West Ham: David Moyes under pressure after Tottenham defeat | Why are Hammers struggling?

West Ham sit 18th in Premier League within relegation zone after 13th defeat of the season; pressure building on David Moyes after £260m splurge on signings since summer 2021; Hammers have scored 10 league goals fewer than expected this term

David Moyes

The pressure is rising for West Ham manager David Moyes after only one win in 11 Premier League games - but what has caused the downturn in form?

The Hammers suffered their 13th league defeat of the season against Tottenham on Sunday, with the club planted among the relegation places in 18th spot.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win against West Ham in the Premier League

Moyes is set to stay in charge against Nottingham Forest this Saturday but Rafa Benitez is on standby and wants the job, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

However, the bottom half of the league table remains tight, with only 10 points dividing rock-bottom Southampton and 11th-placed Aston Villa.

It has been a tale of two seasons for the London club, who spent the majority of last season in a top-four battle but now find themselves fighting at the other end of the table - despite rising into 10th spot in October following back-to-back wins against Wolves and Fulham.

Spending splurge increases pressure

The slump contrasts with raised expectations from significant investment in the transfer market since the summer of 2021, signing players such as Lucas Paqueta (£51.3m), Gianluca Scamacca (£35.5m), Nikola Vlasic (£33.5m), Nayef Aguerd (£30m) and Kurt Zouma (£29.8m).

Indeed, West Ham have splashed a cool £260m on signings since the start of 2021/22 - an outlay which ranks fifth among all Premier League clubs during that period and even exceeds reigning champions Manchester City.

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Lacking clinical edge

The most glaring issue is up top: West Ham should have scored nearly 30 goals but have only converted 19, according to expected goals (xG). That differential is the worst in the division, by some distance.

Contrast that with the likes of Manchester City, who have scored nine goals more than expected.

Breaking that down among all top-flight players, Jarrod Bowen emerges with the most spurned opportunities at the club - having scored nearly three goals fewer than expected.

That differential ranks as the fifth-worst in the league, behind Patrick Bamford, Danny Welbeck, Eddie Nketiah and Darwin Nunez.

The shot map below elaborates on that figure, showing exactly where those golden chances were missed - almost all being fired from central areas between the goal line and penalty spot.

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Players lacking form

Moyes has deployed a 4-2-3-1 system in 11 league games this term but dabbled with three at the back, a 4-3-3 and four other formations - and still relies heavily on the players that helped his side earn a seventh-placed finish last season.

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But those same players have struggled to replicate the form from that high-flying campaign.

The table below charts Premier League players' form this season, according to the Sky Sports Power Rankings, and places Declan Rice as the Hammers' top-performing player all the way down in 54th spot.

The xG metric quantifies West Ham's struggles to convert clear-cut chances - but expected assists (xA) reveals which players have been creating those golden opportunities.

According to the data, Bowen has been West Ham's most incisive creator, followed by Aaron Cresswell and Said Benrahma - but no player has registered more than two actual assists this term.

Despite topping the club's assist chart alongside Rice and Paqueta, the Hammers also appear to be missing Michail Antonio's creative output this term.

The Jamaica international notched eight league assists from an expected-assist (xA) estimate of five during a fruitful campaign last term. This season, Antonio has two assists but registered an xA value of only 0.63 - which is a notable drop, even when factoring a lower proportion of game time.

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Tactical changes?

The graphic below reveals very little has changed with the players' positioning this season, with Paqueta holding a slightly more central position than Manuel Lanzini did last term.

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The raw numbers once again emphasise the glaring issue: converting chances. West Ham's goal ratio has halved this season, while their xG ratio has reduced by far less.

Creating goalscoring chances has dipped around 22 per cent, which highlights broader creative dips outlined above - but is far less drastic than the decline in finishing chances.

Defensively, the Hammers are actually more watertight this term, but have had far less of the ball with an average of only 43.4 per cent in their 23 league games so far.

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For context, West Ham rank 16th among Premier League clubs for goals scored but 11th for expected goals, while ranking eighth for shots - which suggests ample endeavour but, again, underlines the dearth of clinical finishing.

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Moyes' side scored a league-topping 14 headed goals in 2020/21 and ranked mid-table with eight last term, but have only achieved one this season - despite ranking third in the division for winning aerials.

Another anomaly emerges with goals from crosses: zero in the Premier League so far. That duck comes despite firing the third-most balls into the box.

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Moyes' three-year stint at the helm is on the rocks and the Scot will be hoping his misfiring forwards turn the tide to ease mounting pressure when they face Nottingham Forest at the London Stadium this weekend.

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