West Ham v Arsenal: 2pm sunday. Fewer goals v More goals.



West Ham v Arsenal 16 April

By Bulldog Drummond

A quick look at the league table statistics tells us a lot about West Ham.  Arsenal have won 23 games and West Ham eight this season in the league.  Arsenal have scored 72 and West Ham have the numerical reverse: 27.   Arsenal have conceded 29 and West Ham 39.  As a result their goal difference is 55 behind Arsenal!


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 30 23 4 3 72 29 43 73
14 West Ham United 29 8 6 15 27 39 -12 30


And just to put that goal scoring in perspective, Arsenal’s average game ends in 2.4 goals for Arsenal and 1 goal for the opposition.   West Ham’s average game ends 0.9 goals for West Ham and 1.3 for the opposition.  In fact despite their lowly position they are in the top ten for defences conceding fewer than Tottenham, Aston Villa, Brentford and Fulham.

Indeed only Chelsea supporters who watch every league match of their club will have seen fewer goals than West Ham fans carrying out the same ritual.

Indeed this is quite a tumble for West Ham United – a club that several commentators were suggesting could finish in the top seven this year.  Take for example Sports Mole who wrote that West Ham “should not be underestimated in their quest to climb back into the top six.    However, a number of other top-flight clubs have also improved over the summer so breaking into the top six could prove challenging. Nevertheless, another seventh-placed finish and a third successive year in Europe should still be commended considering the position they were in roughly two years ago.”

Which is not what we see if we compare West Ham this season with last at this stage of the campaign.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
14 West Ham United 2023 29 8 6 15 27 39 -12 30
6 West Ham United 2022 29 14 6 9 48 36 12 48


It is really quite a remarkable failure for a club that was gifted its own ground and so carries no debt from that.

And in fact it should not be like this. In the last set of financial figures (2021/22) West Ham made a profit of £12.3m, largely as a result of coming 7th the previous season and getting a place in Europe.

They keep on getting higher matchday income, higher commercial and retail income too, and have positive cash assets (rather than debts) helped by the fact that the shareholders have not been taking either a salary or a dividend.

In the summer transfer window they spent  €194m on players and received  €25m from sales and they reported in their end-of-year accounts that, “The financial performance in 2021/22 also enabled significant investment across all of our squads but, particularly, the men’s first team playing squad, as part of our long-term strategy to ensure that West Ham United continue to be one of the leading clubs in the Premier League, on and off the pitch.”

And later…

“The Club’s shareholders take no dividend or salary and therefore the injection of £125.0m of new equity into the Club, utilised to pay down debt, has enabled a higher profit which will continue be re-invested into the Club. That new investment has since supported the substantial changes to the playing squad in the 2022 summer transfer window…”

In conclusion they said, “The 2021/22 season is widely regarded as one of the most successful in West Ham United’s 127-year history, as we secured a second consecutive top-seven finish in the highest division of English football for the first time ever and reached the semi-finals of a major European competition.”

Which raises the question, how could they have possibly spent all that money and got it so incredibly wrong?  That is a tough one to answer but we can more readily see where it all went wrong this season.   Just compare…


Goals Shots Yellow Possession %
Arsenal 72 16.1 44 60.1
West Ham 27 12.6 36 42.1


I’ve included one thing they have got right which is the yellow cards.   How come it is so few?  Normally a low percentage possession rate means more tackling which means more yellows – so maybe the heart of the problem is there.

But something has happened.  The Daily Mail ran a long rambling article earlier this season that asked where it had all gone wrong for West Ham and they couldn’t really find the answer either – although they failed to consider one of the most obvious possibilities.  West Ham do find it awfully difficult to play in Europe and in the Premier League at the same time.

So today they linger in 14th, just three points off the relegation places, which is more or less their spiritual home I guess.  But they have been bucking themselves up of late, and we’ll have a look at the form guide later.   Here’s the table…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
14 West Ham United 29 8 6 15 27 39 -12 30
15 AFC Bournemouth 30 8 6 16 28 57 -29 30
16 Leeds United 30 7 8 15 39 54 -15 29
17 Everton 30 6 9 15 23 43 -20 27
18 Nottingham Forest 30 6 9 15 24 54 -30 27

3 Replies to “West Ham v Arsenal: 2pm sunday. Fewer goals v More goals.”

  1. We should not underestimate West Ham. They can produce some good performances on occasions. Also, in Lukasz Fabianski, they have a top class keeper, who always seems to have a star performance against Arsenal.

  2. Watching Chelsea v BHA…no contest Brighton is totally dominating at the Bridge. Unlucky to not be up by two or three.

  3. Good analysis Tony Attwood.
    I’ve watched a fair bit of West Ham this season, as they seem to be on quite a bit?
    Two things I’ve really noticed, as evidenced in the numbers:
    1.West Ham tend to sit back and allow opposition to have loads of the ball and don’t challenge possession = less yellow cards?
    2. Creating chances but not taking them. 12.6 shots per game yet just 0.9 goals per….

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