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Talking Tactics

Paqueta's all-action style can trouble opposition defences

Adrian Clarke 16 Sep 2022
Lucas Paqueta, West Ham

Adrian Clarke analyses what qualities the Brazilian can bring to West Ham

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive this season.

Lucas Paqueta (WHU)

Summer signing Paqueta has the talent to be a difference-maker for West Ham United in 2022/23.

The 25-year-old performed steadily, without being spectacular, against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, but his influence will grow for the Hammers.

Last time out, the Brazil international played in a No 10 role, behind Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio in a 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge.

This position suits Paqueta, who can also play as an attack-minded box-to-box midfielder in a three-man midfield.

Pass master

During his time with former club Lyon, his eye for a pass was well known.

This could be great news for Bowen and Antonio, in particular this weekend, and in the months to come, as they are two players who love to run in behind opposition defences.

Lionel Messi and former West Ham star Dimitri Payet were the only players in Ligue 1 to deliver more accurate through-balls than Paqueta last season.

Most through-balls Ligue 1 2021/22*
Player Club Through-balls
Lionel Messi PSG 24
Dimitri Payet Marseille 15
Lucas Paqueta Lyon 12
Neymar PSG 12
Bruno Guimaraes Lyon 11

David Moyes’ side have only scored three goals this season, meaning Paqueta’s arrival provides a welcome boost in that department.

He scored nine league goals in both 2021/22 and 2020/21, breaking into the opposition box with great frequency to finish with his wonderful left foot.

A sign of how often Paqueta likes to get into advanced areas can be seen in the table below.

Most shots Ligue 1 2021/22
Player Club Total shots
Kylian Mbappe PSG 144
Andy Delort Nice 112
Seko Fofana Lens 98
Gaetan Laborde Rennes 96
Lionel Messi PSG 89
Lucas Paqueta Lyon 87

Only five players in Ligue 1 attempted more shots last term, as he averaged 2.9 per 90 minutes.

While Tomas Soucek has always offered late forward runs into the box, the Hammers have been crying out for other midfielders to offer regular support to the strikers.

Paqueta, wherever he is deployed, will energetically make up ground to join in with attacks and help create clearer chances.

West Ham have faced Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City and in-form Brighton & Hove Albion, which should be taken into consideration, but for open-play expected goals (xG), they rank second-lowest at the moment.

Lowest xG in open play*
Club Open-play xG*
AFC Bournemouth 1.9
West Ham 3.5
Leicester 3.8
Fulham 4.0
Nott'm Forest 4.3

*Stats from 16 September

Moyes will also have been attracted by Paqueta’s industry out of possession.

He is primarily known as a very skilful attacking-midfielder, but does not shy away from other team duties.

*Most pressures Ligue 1 2021/22
Player Club Pressures
Laurent Abergel Lorient 918
Adrien Thomasson Strasbourg 792
Lucas Paqueta Lyon 724

He won 61 tackles last season, ranking him sixth in Ligue 1 and racked up an incredible 724 pressures to the man on the ball, too.

This was the third-highest figure in that division, so Paqueta will press midfielders and central defenders with plenty of enthusiasm.

An exciting, forward-thinking acquisition, Paqueta looks destined to become a key player for West Ham.

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