West Ham

BBC make ridiculously unfair claim about West Ham as obsession with statistics tightens grip on football analysis

As the fixation with numbers tightens its hold on sports commentary, the BBC has made a laughably unjust assertion about West Ham.

Critics often enjoy putting you on a pedestal so they can later bring you down.

West Ham supporters can relate to that proverb from long ago quite well.

In the modern period, West Ham has found it more and more challenging to grab the media spotlight away from the so-called “Big Six.”

The broader sycophantic football media appear to want to bring the Hammers down whenever they are performing well and garnering attention for the correct reasons.

Over the last week we’ve seen analysis from Sky Sports and even the Premier League’s official website stating West Ham are in a false position in the league.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

As the fixation with analytics tightens its hold on sports commentary, the BBC makes a laughably unfair assertion about West Ham.

The analysis is largely based on a variety of strange and fascinating statistics, many of which are meaningless to the majority of true football fans.

Now the national broadcaster of the nation is joining in.

As the fixation with numbers tightens its hold on sports commentary, the BBC has made a laughably unjust assertion about West Ham.

‘How have Premier League teams truly started?’ was the title of an article. Chris Collinson, a statistician for BBC Sport, basically stated that West Ham is not as excellent as their start implies and will be lucky to finish midtable at best.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

“Overall performances point to at best a top-half finish,”

Early-season excitement surrounding West Ham may have been a little exaggerated, according to the research, with the Hammers outperforming all other teams in terms of goals scored.

While they did perform admirably against Brighton and easily defeated Sheffield United, their overall results thus far point to a top-half finish at most.

So this is the kind of football knowledge and research that our license fees are funding?

When asked about West Ham’s possession statistics in a recent press conference, David Moyes stated it best: “You’re just saying numbers to me which mean very little.”

We criticized lazy possession and XG-obsessed analysts earlier this season and demanded that they reevaluate how they evaluate games.

There is of course a place for stats in the modern game. But the saying ‘there are lies, damned lies and statistics’ exists for a reason.

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

How about utilizing your eyes instead of those figures and lies?

It’s not always true that the team with the most “successful passes” was the better team when they were passing the ball about for ten minute periods. Neither does taking 26 shots, half of which were from 30 yards away and the other half of which were off-target.

A team is also about working hard off the ball, being organized and solid defensively, being effective both offensively and defensively, and carrying out a game plan. Actually, the majority of elite coaches insist on getting that correct before attempting to play in a more expansive manner.

That is, of course, total football entertainment if you are able to play possession-based football with vigor, speed, and purpose, as Man City largely does. However, there is a case to be made that, without a strong central theme, tika-taka style is actually rather tedious to watch.

The only statistics that truly matter when analyzing a game are the goals for and against, shots on target (since if you’re not hitting the target you can’t score a goal) and, of course, the final scoreline. You can dress it up whatever you want, whether it is in West Ham’s favor or not.

All the rest, according to Moyes, is just a bunch of words and statistics with no actual meaning.

Hope West Ham continues to play

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