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Outside the box: The Question Nobody Asked

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce

HOW MANY SHOTS HAVE WEST HAM'S OPPONENTS HAD IN THEIR 11 CLEAN SHEETS?

As he did after West Ham's 3-0 victory against Tottenham in October, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce (right) basked in the glory of having "out-tacticed" a manager when they held on for a point against Jose Mourinho and Chelsea last week.

West Ham's performance was committed, but it is difficult to imagine a planned tactic that allows the opposition to have 39 efforts on your goal.

After Saturday's win over Swansea, the Hammers now have 11 clean sheets in the Premier League this season – which is the biggest reason why they are not further in the relegation mire – but a glance at the stats of those games suggests the Chelsea escape wasn't a one-off.

That game followed on their last two clean sheets against Cardiff (when they won 2-0) and Sunderland (when they drew 0-0) in which both teams had 19 attempts on West Ham's goal. Only twice in those 11 games has an opponent been restricted to fewer than 10 attempts on target. The 0-0 draw against Aston Villa and Saturday's win against Swansea.

In total, Cardiff (twice), Newcastle, Southampton, Tottenham, Swansea (twice), Aston Villa, Fulham, Sunderland and Chelsea have managed 170 shots over the course of the 11 games, yet, thanks apparently to Allardyce's wizardry, they haven't managed to score.

Irish Independent