West Ham v Villa stats: Bacuna key at both ends of pitch
Villa will look to end a run of three matches without a goal when they make the trip to Upton Park this weekend, facing a West Ham side that have lost each of their last three home games in the league.
Only Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal have picked up more points per game in away matches than Villa this season (1.75), so the travelling supporters have reason for optimism.
The Villans have netted seven times in their last four matches against the Hammers so they'll be confident of ending their barren run in front of goal. Lambert's side will be keen to get on the scoresheet first but must be wary of a West Ham side that, like themselves, look to exploit any opportunities on the counter. However, playing without a recognised striker of late in the absence of Andy Carroll, they've had problems of their own in attacking areas.
Last weekend's 0-0 draw at Swansea, despite representing an impressive point away from home, was the fifth time in nine league matches that Allardyce's men had failed to score. Villa will hope that those struggles continue on Saturday, with the Londoners netting just three times in the last five meetings between the sides, the last of which was an Ashley Westwood own goal late on in a 2-1 victory for the Villans.
If they are to maintain an impressive defensive record against the Irons of late they will need their back four to be on top form, and one man that has slotted in effectively, showing his versatility in doing so, is summer signing Leandro Bacuna. Filling in at right-back for much of this season, the young Dutchman has adapted to the pace of Premier League football due to his impressive athleticism.
He's got forward well when needed to support attacks, with his WhoScored.com strengths showcasing the fact that he has shone in terms of his chance creation from wide areas. The 22-year old is statistically 'very strong' at both crossing and key passes compared to other players in his position, creating six chances for teammates from the back and picking up a neat assist in the victory over Manchester City.
His delivery into the box in particular has shone through, however, and of all players to complete at least 10 accurate crosses this season only four have a greater success rate from their attempts than Bacuna (43.5%). Meanwhile, without question his finest moment in the claret and blue of Villa thus far was the former Groningen man's superb free-kick against City, and he'll hope to have the chance to recreate that moment on Saturday.
One of West Ham's weaknesses as a team according to WhoScored.com is their inability to avoid committing fouls in dangerous areas. In the most recent match-up between these two sides Charles N'Zogbia's precise free-kick proved to be the match winner at Villa Park and, if the hosts continue to give away fouls around the penalty area Bacuna will be first in line to step up.
While it's clear that the youngster can have an impact on the game in the attacking phase, he'll need to be on his guard defensively against a side that look to play with width. Indeed, just 26% of the Hammers' attacks have been focused down the centre of the pitch thus far - the joint lowest proportion in the league. With 2.1 tackles per game he's stood up to the test to date and Bacuna could be key to success for the visitors this weekend.
Find yet more statistics on Aston Villa and the rest of the Premier League, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings at WhoScored.com. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.
Go to full match coverage for West Ham 0 - 0 Aston Villa (1st November 2013) >
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