2022/23 Premier League Previews | West Ham, David Moyes and their endeavour to break England's hierarchy
2022/23 Premier League Previews - West Ham|
The 2022/23 Premier League season is around the corner and for West Ham United, it's their attempt to break down England's hierarchy and break into the top four. New arrivals has given many fans hope but the looming question is can David Moyes really work his magic yet again in yet another season.
How well did West Ham United do in 2021/22 Premier League season?
Honestly, after their rather impressive 2020/21 season, a lot was expected from West Ham United during their 2021/22 season but the Hammers didn’t quite live up to expectations. That was mainly because they, for some absurd reason, refused to sign a back-up for Michail Antonio and thus struggled when the forward was out of form or injured. That combined with the lack of a Jesse Lingard-esque presence meant that David Moyes’ magic was enough to take the club only so far.
By that, the Scot did well enough to lead the club into the Europa League semi-final with the prospect of their first European final in more than four decades. Yet, Eintracht Frankfurt, the eventual winners, proved too much for Moyes’ side to handle and they had to settle for a seventh place finish in the league especially after a poor end to the season. That includes just five wins in their final fifteen league games, including just one win in their final seven games.
It meant that despite a chance to qualify for Europa League football on the final day, a 3-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion meant that West Ham couldn’t take their chance. But even then, the Hammers finished their league season with 16 wins, 8 draws and 14 losses in seventh place and two points behind Manchester United. Their lack of proper goal-scorers didn’t help that as they netted just 60 goals which were only enough to be the seventh highest goal scorers.
Their xG was even worse as they had the eighth best xG (49.9) with the eighth highest xG per 90 (1.31) alongside the seventh highest xA per 90 (0.94). From there, their offensive stats further drop down as the Hammers completed only the eleventh most key passes (316) but somehow had the best goals per shots on target (0.38), beating champions Manchester City and Liverpool, even though their npxG or non-penalty xG (46.) was only the eighth best yet again.
To make things even worse, their defense wasn’t all that great either as the Hammers conceded the ninth most goals (51) with the joint fifth worst percentage of games that end with a clean sheet (21.1%). Not only that, their PSxG (Post Shot Expected Goals) (53.1) was the 10th best, or worst, in the league although Lukasz Fabianski and Alphonso Areola managed to ensure that their PSxG+/- (Post-Shot Expected Goals minus goals allowed) was +4.1 which is the fourth best in the league.
It means that the Hammers conceded four goals fewer than they were supposed to at least statistically. They were helped by the fact that they committed the second least errors leading to a shot (5), committed the least fouls (373) despite having the sixth worst successful pressure percentage (27.9%). Yet despite that they finished with the seventh best Points per Match played tally of 1.47, which puts them a good distance over 8th place Leicester City.
Improvements they’ve made so far:
After 1,104 days, West Ham United finally signed a striker and not just any striker, they beat Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Manchester United and a host of clubs to bring in Gianluca Scamacca. An Italian international, who wears the number 9 for the Azzurri, stands at 6ft 5in and was an absolute sensation for Sassuolo last term, netting 16 goals in the Serie A. The 23-year-old has been talked about for years as Italy’s next big thing and while that does come with a burden, the forward has the shoulders to handle the pressure.
As if that wasn’t enough, they signed Alphonse Areola permanently with the promise of future first-team football although Lukasz Fabianski has signed another extension. Plus Nayef Aguerd has joined the team as an additional center-back although the 26-year-old did injure himself during pre-season and could miss the first few months of the season. But arguably the biggest loss will be Mark Noble who has retired and the club have, theoretically, brought in 23-year-old Flynn Downs to replace him.
Not only that, they’ve managed to keep Declan Rice by placing an absurd price-tag on his head and one that they know that absolutely nobody will ever meet. There are still concerns over the lack of depth to this squad, especially since they play Europa Conference League football but there is still enough time left in the window for the club to bring in a few squad players to help out.
How well could West Ham United do in 2022/23 Premier League season?
There was a concern that the Hammers may not have enough depth yet again to compete for a Champions League place but given their new signings, that has changed. Yet even with Gianluca Scamacca and Nayef Aguerd’s arrivals, there is a concern that Moyes may have taken this team as high as he can without a major injection of cash. But even then, place them in the worst case scenario and West Ham shouldn’t, at least on paper, drop beyond a top 10 finish.
That’s the worst case though where their team is decimated by injuries, their strikers can’t score and everyone else forgets how to play football. But given that David Moyes does have contingency plans in place that may not happen and it means that their ceiling could be as high as fifth. Of course, that does mean they’ll need one of Arsenal or Manchester United to go through a bad time while keeping Leicester City and the rest at bay.