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Just 3 of 22 crosses completed - West Ham's wingers fail v Southampton

West Ham Upton Park

West Ham failed to break the deadlock against Southampton - And poor delivery into the box was a key reason why.

Sky Sports' Sunday afternoon football was not so 'Super' yesterday, with West Ham and Southampton playing out a 0-0 draw at St Mary's.

The Hammers were without injured striker Andy Carroll, lining up with Modibo Maiga up front - a forward signed last summer who it was assumed would be moved on this year after failing to make an impact in his debut season.

They were also without key creative duo Joe Cole and Stewart Downing, leaving Matthew Jarvis as the only recognised winger in the squad.

With West Ham managing just six efforts on goal compared to Southampton's 15, service to Maiga - and attacking midfielder Kevin Nolan - was found wanting.

No clearer illustration of that can be found by the fact West Ham completed just three of their 22 attempted crosses into the box.

Southampton meanwhile achieved a far higher success rate, 11 of 24, even if they were unable to take advantage of the increased goalscoring opportunities.

Clearly West Ham missed the physical presence of Andy Carroll in the middle, not only as a target - but his ability to win 50/50 balls, his replacement Maiga battled away though winning 40 per cent of his aerial duels.

Winger Matt Jarvis did not lead by example, putting in just one successful cross from nine efforts, one of his two attempts from the right-hand-side.

Guy Demel and Mohamed Diame meanwhile attempted six balls into the box between them, failing to find a teammate on any occasion.

So should West Ham hope Stewart Downing rushes back from injury? Well the answer is clearly yes, but so far his efforts have yielded two successful crosses from seven attempts, showing there is still work to be done.

With West Ham hoping to use a target man effectively, successful deliveries into the box are to be essential to their progress - and their achievements this season.

image: © Tom Cuppens

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