Slaven Bilic is supposed to usher in a new era at West Ham United and make the team more attractive to watch.
The Croatian manager succeeded Sam Allardyce as the Hammers boss in the summer and has been urged to play ‘the West Ham way’.
By that, it (probably) means playing a more possession-based and passing game, and West Ham have done that.
Or have they?
According to The Mirror, West Ham have played more long balls than any other side in the Premier League so far this season.
Sunderland are third in this table, having played 149 long balls, while Arsenal have played the fewest long balls (67).
The Mirror states that Opta define a ‘long ball’ as a ball ‘played into a zone and not towards a particular player’ - a long pass does not count as a long ball.
It would not be wise to read too much into this stat, but it is an interesting one nonetheless.