West Ham's stark defensive stats will dictate Slaven Bilic's selection for Arsenal

Slaven Bilic

West Ham United go into the game against Arsenal with a real chance of Champions League qualification but something must change if they are to achieve it.

The fifth-placed Hammers are flying high this season and have impressed fans and pundits alike.

Slaven Bilic has reinvigorated the East Londoners and could even take them to Wembley if they can see off Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final replay at Upton Park next month.

With stars such as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers are playing the 'West Ham way' again and getting results too.

West Ham's surge has gone somewhat under the radar given Leicester City's fairytale title tilt.

But recent performances and their nine match unbeaten run has seen Bilic's side tipped by many to make it into the top four for the first time in the Premier League era.

'West Ham cant keep needing three goals'

Poor refereeing decisions and defensive lapses have arguably cost the East Londoners four points in their last two league games which would have left them one point ahead of Manchester City in fourth.

Bilic said he side cannot keep needing to score three goals to win after coming from 2-0 down to beat Everton 3-2, drawing 2-2 with Chelsea and then 2-2 with Crystal Palace last time out, as reported by the Guardian.

And one moment in particular in the match with Palace has highlighted a real problem in the heart of West Ham's defence of late.

While Winston Reid is a fantastic defender, West Ham have not looked as solid since he came back from his latest injury to replace the injured James Collins, who has been in superb form this season.

Reid has looked a touch rusty and when he missed his clearing header against Palace it brought sharply into focus a poor run of form for him personally.

The stats don't lie

Angelo Ogbonna, who has been fantastic for the Hammers since signing from Juventus last summer has been the mainstay this season.

Against Chelsea Reid gave away a free-kick on the stroke of half-time after trying to control the ball on the edge of the box instead of clearing his lines because he wanted to get the ball on his left foot. Cesc Fabregas scored from the free-kick.

Before that in the FA Cup against Manchester United at Old Trafford Reid was booked after just two minutes and spent the rest of the game on tenterhooks before being substituted late on.

But don't just take my word for it, the stats speak for themselves.

In the 18 games Reid and Ogbonna have played alongside eachother this season they have conceded 26 goals.

Meanwhile, in the 11 games Collins and Ogbonna have played together West Ham have conceded just eight goals.

Each defender has his own merits, but with Collins fit again don't be surprised to see Bilic bring him straight back into the team.

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