Analytics United have explained what West Ham fans can expect from their new manager Julen Lopetegui.

When you look at an overview of his career, while he’s managed massive clubs, Julen Lopetegui leaves a bit to be desired. Many fans believed it was the cheap and easy option, but not many actually know what to expect from him.

Thankfully, Analytics United have been able to give the East London faithful an overview of how life will be under the Spaniard.

Firstly, the big change is that Lopetegui likes to play with the ball in his side’s possession. “This tends to play out in his preferred 4-3-3 formation – a balanced yet flexible structure that allows his teams to control possession, dictate the tempo of the game, and create numerical advantages in key areas of the pitch.”

Everyone has an extremely important role to play in his set up, but the midfield in particular is crucial. He likes to play with one holding midfielder who protects the back line, drops between defenders and helps build out from the back – things that Edson Alvarez does excellently. Alongside him, you can expect a playmaker and a box-to-box midfielder who can play a quick one-two.

The wingers and fullbacks are tasked with bringing players out wide to allow a switch in play to target isolated defenders. Once in the final third, the front three can be interchanging, making runs and creating space to pass to the fullbacks who can then put a cross into the box.

Amazingly, the Hammers already have a lot of players who will suit the in-possession system to a tee, but how about when they’ve not got the ball? Well, as much as he likes to play possession football, Lopetegui prioritises a solid defence above all else. This can be seen through his time at Sevilla where his side averaged less than 1 xGA per game.

“Despite it being his preference, it is worth noting that Lopetegui isn’t wedded to this shape, acknowledging that ‘formations are no longer so important in football’, and that ‘styles and decision-making’ often determine results.”

He leaves little room for the opposition to breathe when pressing and forces them into less promising areas of the pitch, allowing for his players to intercept passes and then build their attack.

Analytics United gave this promising conclusion to Lopetegui’s style of play: “West Ham fans can look forward to increased intensity in the press with a well-drilled defensive unit supporting a more engaged out of possession style before instigating a more considered and intricate in possession approach focused on controlling games with the ball rather than without it.”

“With an excellent platform to build from, and key players that match well with the proposed stylistic direction, Lopetegui has the tools to succeed and entertain whilst doing so over the coming years in East London.”

The whole piece is brilliantly put together, and there analysis of Lopetegui’s game is certainly one worth reading.