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How Alex Song can help steer West Ham clear of relegation

The Cameroonian midfielder could be a key player for the Hammers having joined from Barcelona.

Alex Song's move from Barcelona to West Ham united was one of the summer's most surprising pieces of transfer business, and one which will have a major effect on the Hammers' chances of Premier League survival this season.

Sam Allardyce's side currently sit comfortably in mid-table, but they are by no means guaranteed a spot in the top flight next season.

Their acquisition of Song, however, is an excellent first step in building a team that can avoid the drop this year.

The Cameroonian midfielder has been widely touted as a prototypical defensive midfielder, but when looking at his statistics from the 2011-12 season, his last in the Premier League with Arsenal, it is in the attacking areas that he excels.

 2011-12 Touches per gamePass accuracy (%)Chances createsClear-cut chances createdAssistsThrough ballsAccurate through balls
Alexandre Song 79.59 84.30 46 9 11 90 24

In an Arsene Wenger-managed Arsenal side passing is key, and Song did a fantastic job of keeping possession in his last year at the Emirates stadium. With almost 80 touches per game he passed the ball with great accuracy, finding the target with almost 85 per cent of his pass attempts.

So far this season West Ham rank sixth-worst in pass accuracy in the Premier League, with an overall mark of 78.92 per cent. Song's experience of playing with pass-happy teams at Arsenal and Barcelona should help to bump up this rate.

Song is also surprisingly effective in attack. Arsenal fans will remember at least two of his lofted through balls in the 2011-12 season which led to spectacular volleyed goals for Robin van Persie.

The midfielder drew some criticism towards the end of that campaign for occasionally disregarding his defensive duties, but his more enterprising side may be a good thing for West Ham.

Song racked up 90 attempted through balls in 2011-12, 24 of them finding their target. To put that into context, West Ham as a team have yet to play an accurate through pass this season with just one attempt in three games.

The Cameroonian's ability to create chances is also excellent for a defensive midfielder. He laid on nine clear-cut scoring opportunities for his teammates in 2011-12 and racked up 11 assists. So far this season West Ham have created just two clear-cut chances.

Fresh from two years of warming the bench at Barcelona, Song will be raring to go in his return to the Premier League. He is a top signing for West Ham, and his strengths appear to fill the needs of Allardyce's midfield.

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