Pedro Obiang scored the opening goal in West Ham’s first victory of the season against a resilient Huddersfield Town, but rather than focusing on his second Premier League goal let’s delve into why he is outperforming the likes of N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and even Liverpool’s busy body, Jordan Henderson.
Only Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi has made more tackles than the Hammers enforcer in the Premier League this campaign. Obiang has made a total of 16 tackles across three games, which is two behind Ndidi, one above Kante, six more than Manchester United’s seasoned superstar, Matic and lastly 11 better than Henderson. Granted this is a very minute area of focus, however, given how poorly West Ham have played in their opening three matches it is quite an impressive effort especially when compared to the others.
Without the tackling tirades of Obiang the Hammers may have conceded quite a lot more than the 10 goals they have copped over their opening trio of matches. The Spaniard has only played 49 times for West Ham but has quickly developed into a defensive powerhouse, ideal considering what we have already covered in regards to the Hammers shortcomings in that area.
Obiang in 2017-18
- Tackles: 19
- Tackle Success: 69%
- Interceptions: 2
- Clearances: 4
- Recoveries: 22
- Duels Won: 24
- Duels Lost: 12
It is clear that Obiang is top notch defensively, however, there could be some creative improvement at the front-end. As we know, the Hammers have had plenty of opportunity in the final third, but there seems to be a lack of connection at times from defence to attack during the transition stage of an onslaught. To give you an example, against Huddersfield Town Slaven Bilic’s boys had a total of 19 shots, but just three found the target.
Obiang for instance, is yet to craft an assist, make a through ball pass and overall only makes roughly 31 passes per game. If you were to compare that to Kante, it’s a massacre. The Chelsea all-rounder has scored, rather surprisingly not made any assists but has out done Obiang with more through balls, long balls and an average of 54 passes per game. If the Hammers midfielder started to produce a similar level of performance with his attacking actions West Ham could solidify their place above the dreaded relegation zone.
PL Match Centre confirm that West Ham’s 1st goal is awarded to Obiang. The assist therefore goes to Ayew. pic.twitter.com/XqSLGIEPvt
— FPL (@OfficialFPL) September 11, 2017