A new Said Benrahma revelation proves two things about his situation under David Moyes at West Ham this season.
I think it is fair to say the relationship between Said Benrahma and David Moyes ever since his arrival at West Ham has been complicated.
Benrahma often divides opinion among Hammers fans. And he finds praise from his manager as hard to come by as completing 90 minutes.
The attacker has been in and out of the West Ham side yet again this season.
In truth the Algerian playmaker has failed to ever establish himself as a consistent starter under Moyes at West Ham.
That is until more recently with relegation now a very real threat and Benrahma in undeniably decent form.
He is still often the first player Moyes substitutes – as was the case when West Ham lost 4-0 to Brighton, prompting Hammers fans to chant his name in a clear message to the manager.
Benrahma was on the scoresheet last time out in the Premier League as he emphatically fired home a penalty in West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Now a new Benrahma revelation proves two things about his situation under Moyes at West Ham.
Statistics published by football data analysts The Other 14 show the West Ham star is the leading playmaker of all the players at clubs outside the so-called “top six” this season.
So statistics clearly prove West Ham pose more attacking threat with Benrahma in the side.
And the numbers also add weight to claims from some fans that Benrahma does not get enough game time.
The stats show Benrahma has created 34 chances from open play this season – not including set-pieces. That works out at 2.14 chances created per game – the highest of any players at any team outside the top six.
But he has played just 1,430 minutes in the top flight this season. That equates to just 15 of West Ham’s 26 matches.
Given the team’s issues with creating and scoring all season, it is a damning statistic.
Benrahma has effectively not featured for 11 of West Ham’s Premier League matches, despite Maxwel Cornet being unavailable for almost the entire campaign so far.
Benrahma leads the way ahead of the likes of James Maddison, Kaoru Mitoma, Willian, Jack Harrison, Emiliano Buendia, Solly March, Eberechi Eze and Jacob Ramsey – to name but a few.
All, bar Mitoma, have played many more minutes than the West Ham man.
Yes he may sometimes frustrate with his end product, but the alternatives aren’t doing any better in his place.
Who knows how many more goals or points West Ham might have on the board had Benrahma played more minutes.
But it seems clear West Ham have more chance of creating and scoring goals with Benrahma on the pitch. Particularly given the lack of alternatives for much of the campaign.
With the stats that are staring us in the face and the fact he is a player who can sometimes create something out of nothing, one would think West Ham would likely be better off – even if only marginally.
But in what is shaping up to be one of the tightest Premier League relegation battles ever, those fine margins could make a big difference.