West Ham have seen plenty of different goalscorers this season, but it is a new-found solidity at the back that has propelled them up the table.
Currently sat in the sixth position in the Premier League, West Ham are having a season that no one would have predicted. David Moyes has developed the team into a well-drilled outfit that that seems capable of giving any team in the league a tough match.
A lot of the plaudits have gone to the goalscoring form of Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek. Even midfielder Pablo Fornals was nominated for the play of the month award in September for scoring two goals and assisting two more.
But the bedrock in which the success has been built on has been the solidity of the team’s defence. Moyes has turned many of the club’s existing defenders into top performers, despite many fans wanting them sold in recent time. It was not long ago that Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna Arthur Masuaku, Lukasz Fabianski and Aaron Cresswell were all having questions of their futures.
Since a change to a new system of three sitting centre-backs and two flying wing-backs, including new signing Vladimir Coufal, has vastly improved the defensive performances of the team. West Ham’s defence this term has faced an average of only 10.9 shots per game, a stat only bettered by six other sides in the league.
The Hammers have also improved in their own defensive actions. The side have made 14.2 tackles and 10.7 interceptions per match in the Premier League. West Ham usually suffers as being one of the worst defensive sides in the League, this term only four sides have conceded fewer goals.
This defensive solidity has led to the club having a positive goal difference, something the Hammers haven’t managed since the final season at Upton Park. Though there is still plenty of time for that to be picked away throughout the remainder of the season.
Players such as Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell, Masuaku and Fabianski have all rediscovered their best form. One more factor that has helped this defensive strength is the combination of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. The midfield duo have formed a brilliant partnership and help protect the defensive by offering a shield to the backline.
Moyes may have been mocked at first when he rejoined, but through his defensive know-how, he has turned West Ham into an incredible defensive unit.