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Scouting Report: Will AC Milan's Antonio Nocerino Save West Ham United?

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Scouting Report: Will AC Milan's Antonio Nocerino Save West Ham United?
David Vincent/Associated Press

West Ham United are set to sign AC Milan centre midfielder Antonio Nocerino on loan, per Sky Sports, so here is a scouting report on the 28-year-old Italian international.

 

Nocerino's Form

West Ham supporters need to be aware Nocerino is playing the worst football of his career and his performances have sloped to Djamel Mesbah-territory.

To put that in West Ham context: Minus Nocerino's first season, he has been to Milan what Kieron Dyer was to West Ham—a liability.

Nocerino is awkward in possession as Meytar Zeevi at Rossoneri Blog illustrated in a GIF when Nocerino dribbled backwards and was stripped off the ball against Udinese.

Nocerino goes missing for stretches of the game, hence why his passes per game (21.9) is comparable with Napoli's Liverpool loanee Pepe Reina (20.1), a goalkeeper.

Nocerino will generally look to play the conservative pass rather than the vital pass.

This was evident during a 4-2 win over Torino last season in a moment of the game when he received the ball.

Source: ACMilan.com

Instead of turning, weighing up his options and making a calculated pass, Nocerino's first instinct was to play the ball backwards—it was the "safe" option.

Unbeknownst to him, Philippe Mexes was on the right and to Nocerino's left was Mario Yepes—neither of the Milan centre-backs were behind Nocerino, so his lack of awareness was on show in that particular play.

He inadvertently provided the incisive pass for then-Torino left winger Mario Santana, who raced through on goal, skipped past Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia and scored.

 

Did Sam Allardyce Evaluate Nocerino's Statistics?

Allardyce, West Ham's manager (for now), is a statistics-based coach, which was chronicled at his former club Bolton Wanderers, per Zach Slaton at Forbes.

Allardyce talks a good game about incorporating statistics into football. 

"Accumulating the data is one thing but you then have to decide how you want to use it and what decisions you want to make to help you progress and move forward," Allardyce said, per The Footballers' Football Show on Sky Sports. "Plus, data also helps you and your scouts recruit players."

Source: Squawka

Well, signing Nocerino goes against Allardyce's philosophy.

  • Every time Nocerino dribbles, he has a 90 percent chance of losing the ball.
  • His tackle success percentage is below 50 (48). 
  • He loses out in 75 percent of aerial contests. 
  • When he shoots, there is a 75 percent chance it will miss the target.
  • His chances created per game output has been 0.6, 0.8 and 1.4 in his three seasons, respectively, at Milan (Modibo Maiga's current CCPG is 0.9).

Another fault in Nocerino's game is not being Gennaro Gattuso-like in midfield.

The only similarity between the two is Gattuso's nickname, Rino, is the last four letters of Nocerino's surname.

If you compared Nocerino's current tackles per game (1.5) to Premier League footballers, there would be 119 players ahead of him. Players such as Chelsea wide attacking midfielder Willian (1.8) and Crystal Palace centre-forward Marouane Chamakh (1.6).

Nocerino's tackle success percentage, 48, is unacceptable. His nothing tackle on Bologna centre attacking midfielder Alessandro Diamanti last season, which gave away a penalty, sums up Nocerino's defensive nous.

Source: ACMilan.com

Allardyce's Hoof And Hope

"The music world has one-hit wonders and the [FIFA] World Cup has Salvatore ["Toto"] Schillaci," per Clemente Angelo Lisi's book A History of the World Cup, 1930-2010.

Source: ACMilan.com

Nocerino's thumping volley against Parma and him going George Weah on Siena had a tinge of Schillaci: "Is this a dream?"

Source: ACMilan.com

In reality, Nocerino was overly reliant on then-teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Source: ACMilan.com

Not only is Ibrahimovic a goal-threat and a creative outlet, he holds the ball up and drags opposing players out of position.

Nocerino would consistently ghost into advantageous goalscoring positions unmarked, smartly using 6'5" Ibrahimovic as a decoy. 

One example of this was in a 3-0 win over Cagliari when Ibrahimovic nonchalantly diverted the ball with his chest into the path of an onrushing Nocerino, who promptly finished past Cagliari keeper Michael Agazzi.

The departure of Ibrahimovic has coincided with Nocerino's fall from grace, but a valid explanation is opposing teams figured him out. 

He had never scored 10 goals in a season and he was not a reputed goalscorer, so the surprise factor helped him briefly scale the heights of the Serie A goalscoring charts. 

Allardyce may feel Nocerino can emulate his first season for Milan in the Premier League as West Ham have 6'3" No. 9s in Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll

Nocerino is a hoof and hope signing.

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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