Declan Rice experiment has failed miserably for West Ham United this season and the stats back up that notion.
First and foremost, we have to say, Rice is obviously the most important player we have at the London Stadium.
The 23-year-old has been sensational for the Hammers over the past few years. He has come on leaps and bounds as a player and is now a key figure in the England national team squad as well.
David Moyes has utilised Dec incorrectly this season in my opinion though, and it has been to the detriment of the team.
Rice has been transformed into more of a box-to-box, marauding central midfielder from a deep-lying one. At the same time, Tomas Soucek has been asked to perform the sitting role.
The bottom line is that that change has not benefited West Ham as a team. And the stats back that up…
Declan Rice experiment has failed miserably
Lats season, West Ham finished sixth in the Premier League table with 65 points. This term, we ended up in seventh spot, with 56 points.
The Hammers have completely lost our defensive solidarity as a team this season in the league. We conceded 51 goals – four more than last term.
The problem with that is that our attacking output hasn’t been as good either. West Ham scored 62 goals last term and 60 this time around.
Rice has bagged just one goal and four assists in 36 Premier League games this season (Transfermarkt). Compare that to two goals and one assist last term – no difference whatsoever really.
Meanwhile, Soucek scored 10 Premier League goals last season, having perfected the timing of his runs into the penalty box. He played as the most advanced central midfielder, and it worked.
The Czech Republic international has been well off the boil this season though. He has just five goals to his name in the league (Transfermarkt).
Soucek’s worst attribute is his passing ability and the way in which he slows down our transition. So it’s baffling that he has been asked to play the so-called ‘anchor role’ for West Ham this term. It just doesn’t make sense.
Another thing worth noting is that Rice’s marauding runs, as impressive as they are, end up limiting the space for the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini to operate in.
The four aforementioned players are expected to be our most dangerous attacking outlets. They are supposed to make things happen but have often been shunted out wide this season in order to allow Dec to make headway through the middle.
Rice is one of the very best players in world football at breaking up play. There are not any better at putting out fires, reading the game, intercepting, tackling and then building from the back.
At the same time, he just doesn’t offer enough in the final third.
This may be uncomfortable reading for some but we can’t escape the truth.
It’s time for everyone to admit that the Declan Rice experiment has failed miserably. Hopefully David Moyes sees that as well.