When it was confirmed that Andy Carroll would be ruled out of action for the foreseeable future with a foot problem, West Ham United fans were left wondering where the goals would come from. The club record signing is yet to make an appearance for the Hammers this season following his permanent move to Upton Park, much to the disappointment of the supporters.
Such has been their impotence in front of goal that none of their registered strikers have found the back of the net for West Ham this season, while no team has scored fewer than their four goals after six games. With Modibo Maïga and Ricardo Vaz Te misfiring in front of goal and Mladen Petrić short of match fitness, there is a real cause for concern as to who will shoulder the goalscoring burden for the Hammers in Carroll’s absence.
The lack of prolificacy is reinforced by their poor shot accuracy, with only Sunderland (18.4 per cent) failing to hit the target with their efforts more often than West Ham (20.9 per cent) this term. Moreover, with a conversion rate of just 6 per cent, supporters are right to be concerned with a lack of firepower in the ranks.
Fortuitously for West Ham, however, that return is better than upcoming opponents Tottenham Hotspur (5.1 per cent), with the north London side netting just the six times ahead of the London derby; only Southampton (5) have scored fewer of every team in the top half of the Premier League.
While this will give Hammers fans a cause for optimism, Spurs’ defensive record is unlikely to ease fears heading into the encounter. Andre Villas-Boas’ side have conceded just the two oals this season, with only Serie A side AS Roma (1) shipping fewer than Spurs in Europe’s top 5 leagues this term.
Against a team that have kept eight clean sheets in all competitions this season, and a Spurs side that have conceded just 7.7 Premier League shots on goal - the fewest in England’s top tier - the Hammers’ will likely struggle against the resolute defence of their London rivals.
That record doesn’t swing the pendulum in West Ham’s favour, with their toothless attack a real cause for concern to the east London outfit. Their quest for three points is made all the more difficult in that, since their promotion to the Premier League last season, the Hammers have netted just 11 goals in 22 away games.
With just one clear-cut goalscoring opportunity scored this season - no team has netted fewer in the Premier League - from four created, the distinct lack of a goalscoring touch is proving to be a problem.
What may stand them in good stead, however, is their clean sheet record away from Upton Park this season. While West Ham have conceded five goals, only one has been away from home, with that coming from the penalty spot in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Hull City.
Furthermore, at White Hart Lane this season, Spurs have an open play conversion rate of just 9.6 per cent, denoting not only their wastefulness in front of goal, but also an inability to break down staunch opposition. Both facets will expectantly boost the confidence in the West Ham squad as they look to secure their first Premier League win since the opening day victory at home to Cardiff.
However, while West Ham’s defence is strong-willed away from home, their failings in front of goal could ultimately cost them at the weekend. With the creative capabilities of Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend behind striker Roberto Soldado, it’s expected that Spurs will heap misery upon this underperforming West Ham side.
By Ben McAleer @BenMcAleer1
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