Sebastien Haller joined Ajax in the summer of 2021 from West Ham. The Ivorian’s time with the Hammers isn’t particularly a memorable one. Haller found the net just 14 times in 53 appearances. While it’s easy to point out that he wasn’t clinical enough for the Premier League, a closer examination might suggest otherwise.
Although his time with the Hammers came to an end rather abruptly, he has since made a promising start with his new team. Just last week he made his Champions League debut for Ajax scoring four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Sporting Lisbon. Ajax are currently top of the league with thirteen points from five matches. So far, Haller has five goals and one assist in the Eredivisie, making him the top scorer in the league currently. All the signs so far point towards the fact that Erik Ten Hag is the man responsible for this revival of form.
Haller is a tall forward who can be used efficiently as a target man. Despite his tall physique, he drops deep in the midfield to link up with his midfielders in the build-up phases of the match.
Let’s take a look at some stats to see just what exactly is the difference between his time under Moyes and currently under Ten Hag.
Haller’s heatmap from last season further reinforces he likes to look drop deep to link up to his midfielders. His work rate is commendable as well. He covers mostly the entire pitch.
Haller is a tall forward who can create spaces in between the defenders. His shot map shows that he likes to shoot from inside the box. His highest xG coming from his shots near the opponents’ penalty area. His tall physique means that he can be an ideal target man as well.
His passing map shows multiple partnerships with his midfielders. Following a similar suit as his heatmap, his passing metric further demonstrates his huge contribution in the build-up phases of the attack.
Now let’s take a look at his recent match from Ajax
Haller’s heatmap in the recent game in the Champions League suggest that he occupied areas in the opponent half. This heat map also suggest that he is occupying spaces in the opposition half more often than his time at West Ham.
His shot map from the recent game in the Champions League, follow the similar suit to his shot map in the last season. In the recent game he score all his four goals from inside the opposition box. His high xG can be attributed to his shots that were taken near the opposition penalty area.
His heatmap and shot map suggest that he is being used more effectively in the forward areas by Eric ten Hag.
Haller’s current form in Eredivisie and Champions League suggest that perhaps what he needed was right management and mentorship. Erik ten Hag seems to have unlocked Haller’s potential. West Ham might have missed out on a promising forward.