A brilliant Lucas Paqueta analysis shows West Ham are a decent striker away from challenging for the top six again.
Earlier this month a leading salary website claimed Lucas Paqueta is the highest paid player in West Ham history.
Had that fact come to light earlier this season it would undoubtedly have added more weight to the expectancy which came with his record £51m price tag.
It was a level of expectancy he has even admitted himself he did not live up to for much of the first half of the season at West Ham.
But it was revealed at a time when Paqueta has emerged as a shining light for the Hammers, putting in one dazzling, mesmeric display after another.
Now he looks worth every penny and the £150k per week salary – pretty standard for a Brazil international in the modern day game – does not even make West Ham fans flinch.
Paqueta recently claimed he was “100 per cent adapted” to English football and West Ham. And my how he has shown it on the pitch.
He toyed with Leeds at the weekend and has proved any doubters completely wrong with his performances in the second half of the campaign.
If picking apart one element of his game, though, it would be that he should have more assists.
Some of that has been, of course, due to a lack of quality from the players he is trying to lay on goals for at times.
Brilliant Lucas Paqueta analysis shows West Ham are a decent striker away from challenging for the top six again
But there have been some over-hit or under-hit passes which suggest there’s more to come.
Now a brilliant Paqueta analysis shows West Ham are a decent striker away from challenging for the top six again.
Football data experts WhoScored have produced a deep-dive analysis of West Hams Brazilian magnifico.
And it shows he has attempted more defence-splitting through passes than any other Hammers star in the Premier League with 13.
That’s six more than the next highest.
WhoScored labelled Paqueta’s performance against Leeds, in which he registered an amazing assist for Manuel Lanzini, as the perfect all-round display.
The analysis says Paqueta is giving glimpses of an exciting future for the club with him in the side.
“What’s clear is that Paqueta is playing with the confidence that was perhaps found wanting in the early weeks of his West Ham career,” the report states.
“Paqueta ranks fifth for key passes (30) of all West Ham players in the Premier League this season, and has attempted at least six more through balls (13) than any other player for Moyes’ side. However, a pass success rate of 79.7% is far lower than many would hope for a central midfielder, and this can be attributed to the former Lyon man looking to make the more difficult pass to pry apart defences rather than look pick out a teammate with an easier ball.
“Conversely, Paqueta is bringing the excitement back to the London Stadium and even if his distribution is questionable, supporters would at times prefer to see a player as creative as the summer signing take a risk rather than miss a chance to play that inch-perfect pass in West Ham’s pursuit of a goal.”
What the analysis suggests is that West Ham could be a deadly striker away from being a serious top six contender again next season.
With Paqueta’s vision for defence splitting passes others cannot see and a pacy striker who really knows where the goal is, the Hammers could soar.
The Brazilian will need to sharpen up some of the slack passing. But as the report states, you take the rough with the smooth in that respect given the ones he gets right will often result in a clear-cut opportunity.
Having someone on the end of those to put them away will be the key for West Ham next season.