Opposition Analysis: West Ham United vs Crystal Palace
Patrick Vieira watches on / GettyImages

The Bubbles are flying 

West Ham sit top of the league going to Saturday’s fixtures for the first time in 15 years - The Hammers have had a storming start to their Premier League campaign. 

The Irons won an inspired comeback at Newcastle after trailing twice they won 4-2 in an entertaining match. They then beat UEFA Europa League opposition, in the form of Leicester City. It was a resounding West Ham win, 4-1 on the night albeit against ten men. This leaves West Ham top and full of confidence as the outright top scorers. 

A testing start for Palace 

Crystal Palace have had a tricky start to the season, as expected they lost 3-0 to European champions, Chelsea. This was undoubtedly a tough start for Patrick Vieira, they then battled with Brentford in a 0-0 draw. This leaves The Eagles goalless but with some positives to take as they make the 15 mile journey north. 

Vicente Guaita has had a testing start to this campaign, as he’s made the fifth most saves this season, an average of 3.0 per game. This means he concedes one in two shots at his goal, a tame effort although we are still early in the season.

The analytics behind the Premier League 

West Ham have averaged 8.0 shots on target per game, only Liverpool have more, this means it’ll likely be a very tough day for the Spaniard and would statistically concede four times today - this bodes well for The Irons, having scored four in both of their opening fixtures.

West Ham are also top creators, in the xG table showing that their goals are well deserved but most importantly, sustainable. It is important to maintain a high xG stat as it shows the quality of chances that you create as a team and although most top teams outperform it, it’s a good basis to go off. 

West Ham currently stand on 5.3xG, more than Liverpool and Manchester City who are tied for 2nd (4.3). As obviously four goals per game isn’t sustainable throughout an entire season, this shows that the performances support the statistics and that this run can continue, although likely with a regressed amount of goals. 

Ironically, the visitors today have completely the opposite problem. They are outright bottom of the xG table and by some way too. Currently with 0.8xG it’s been a tough start for Vieira’s new team. Although in fairness to Palace, key men Ebrechi Eze and new signing Michael Olise are due to return from injury shortly.

Olise scored seven and assisted 12 last season for Reading FC, this means he played a part in almost a third of their goals as they narrowly missed out on the play offs. He could be a big signing for them. Although, something must change for Palace as they need to find their goal scoring touch, it might just be a waiting game. 

Michael Antonio and Said Benrahma have have played a huge helping hand in West Ham’s superb start with Antonio breaking records and Benrahma breaking into the team. They both rank in the top three of all Premier League players, based on match ratings. Only Manchester United’s, Paul Pogba sits between the pair in 2nd.

Antonio has scored three goals this season, tied with Bruno Fernandes in top scorer charts, Antonio is also first in the xG table for players, having 2.4xG himself. This is three times Crystal Palace’s entire team combined.