Santi Cazorla: Eating up the miles.

Want to be the pub/terrace know-all this weekend? Want to know who has committed the most fouls? Or who has covered the most ground? Which player has provided the most crosses and who last week put in a true captain’s performance? Then read on and let the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index arm you with enough stats to impress everyone but girly girls.

Saturday 10th November 2012

Arsenal v Fulham 15:00

Arsenal fell victim to the skills of their former star striker Robin van Persie as they were dominated in a 2-1 defeat away to Man Utd. The continued return to fitness of midfielder Jack Wilshere, despite his second-half dismissal, was one of the few bright spots in a poor showing from Arsenal, who grabbed a late consolation through Santi Carzola.

Cazola has been one of the Arsenal players to gain praise from the critics this season, and he teamed a technically good performance against Man Utd with a fantastic work ethic. He covered 7.05 miles against Man Utd, the 8th highest total from a player this season

Santi Cazola’s mileage was also the highest from any Arsenal player, while the 64.45 miles covered by Arsenal as a team was their best performance of the season.

Mikel Arteta could do with improving the consistency of his defensive duties. He’s been pulled up by the referee 22 times this season, more than any other Arsenal player.

Prior to his injury, Kieran Gibbs was doing more than enough to enhance his international credentials. He has a tackle success rate of 85%.

Much of Arsenal’s attacking threat in recent weeks appears to be going through the diminutive Spaniard as well. He’s had 20 shots on goal so far this season, his nearest rival being Olivier Giroud with 13.

Fulham denied Everton all three points last time out, as a last ditch equalizer gave them a point in a match where they were largely outclassed by the Merseyside opponents. Mark Schwarzer kept the Cottagers in the match for large parts of the game, with Martin Jol’s side showing a certain grit if lacking in quality on the day.

Schwarzer made 12 saves in the game in total, the most by a keeper in any single match this season.

Bryan Ruiz clocked up the most miles last time out against Everton, running for 6.28 miles.

Steve Sidwell has been excellent in defense for Martin Jol so far this campaign. His 22 successful tackles I the highest of any Fulham players according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

John Arne Riise showcased against Everton that he still has plenty of speed to deal with the best the Premiership has to offer. He was The Cottager’s quickest player on the day, being clocked at 20.45mph by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Everton v Sunderland 15:00

Everton will likely have been at a loss to explain how they left Craven Cottage with only a point after drawing with Fulham in a match which they dominated. Two goals from the hugely influential Marouane Fellaini propelled David Moyes’ side into a commanding position but unfortunately they could not prevent a last-gasp equalizer from Fulham.

Fellaini has been central to Everton’s excellent start to the season and is now ranked as the 12th best player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

The imposing Belgian has an excellent return of five goals from 31 shots at goal with 19 on target, making him a more prolific threat on goal than the likes of Carlos Tevez (4 goals from 16 shots), Juan Mata (4 goals from 19 shots), and Fernando Torres (4 goals from 16 shots).

Kevin Mirallas made an excellent contribution to Fellaini’s first goal for Everton, his third assist of the season having contributed 15 crosses, 9 dribbles, and 100 passes in his opponents half this season.

Leighton Baines continued to rampage up the flank for Everton against Fulham last timeout, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index clocking him as the Toffees’ fastets player on the day at 19.93mph.

Sunderland’s dire run of form continued at home to Aston Villa, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat last time out.  Whilst on paper they appear to possess no small amount of attacking talent, their midfield creativity has been stifled of late, leaving the like of Stephen Fletcher with a distinct lack of opportunities.

Fletcher has 5 goals from 14 shots at goal this season, with 10 shots on target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

The rest of the Sunderland team have amassed just 24 shots on target between them this season. Both Luis Suarez (26) and Jermain Defoe (25) have had more shots on target as individuals this season.

One bright point from the game against Villa was John O’Shea’s reading of the game. The former Man Utd player made 25 interceptions in the game, the third highest by a player in a single game all season.

Adam Johnson also continues to do his best to create opportunities for his team mates, and delivered 9 crosses against Villa, the third highest of a player in a single game this season. Overall he has delivered 22 crosses without being credited an assist, the second highest of any player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

“Get on the end of that….oh ffs!” A frustrated Nicky Shorey.

Reading v Norwich 15:00

Reading were once again left waiting for the first Premier League win of the campaign as they drew 1-1 with QPR at Loftus Road. Kaspar Gorkss impressive strike gave them an early first-half lead, but the Royals failed to impose any kind of dominance on the rest of the match and will have left manager Brian McDermott worried after being largely outplayed by a fellow struggling side in QPR.

Gorkss will appreciate the change in his fortunes with his first Premier League goal for Reading. The quality of his strike belies that fact that he was previously yet to register a single shot on target for Reading, having previously had eight efforts that missed the mark.

Nicky Shorey has now delivered 24 crosses this season, but is yet to be credited an assist, the most crosses without return in the Premier League this season.

Just days before their last league game, Reading were involved in one of the most dramatic games seen in the recent domestic calendar as Arsenal came back from 4-0 down to win 7-5 after extra time in the League Cup.

Norwich continued their fine run of recent form as Bradley Johnson’s header secured a 1-0 victory over Stoke for Chris Hughton’s side. Wes Hoolahan was once again involved in all things positive for the Canaries, his work rate and vision proving to be one of the deciding factors between the two sides.

Hoolahan has made just 7 appearances for Norwich this season, but has clocked up 36.15 miles of ground, the 7th highest among the Norwich team. That an incredible 121.9 yards covered for every minute he has been on the pitch. That trumps even Liverpool’s Joe Allen, who has covered the most ground all season with 63.7 miles at 116.3 yards per minute on the pitch.

Johnson’s goal was his first in the Premier League this season, having previously had 16 shots at goal with 9 on target.

Johnson has been key for Norwich this season, completing 143 passes in his opponent’s half, more than any other Norwich player

John Ruddy has producing some solid performances in goal for Norwich this season. Ruddy has made 53 saves in ten appearances, (the fourth highest in the Premier League) conceding 18 goals at a rate of approximately three saves per goal conceded.

Fans looking to striker Grant Holt for the goal scoring form of last season would do well to note that he currently has three goals from 16 shots at goal with 9 on target. At this same stage of the season last year Holt had the same number of goals, although he had had just 8 shots at goal to get them.

Comparing Holt’s return to other strikers who have had the same number of opportunities, Torres has also had 16 shots at goal with a return of 4 goals, while Bryan Ruiz has 1 goal for 16 shots and Lukas Podolski has 2 goals from 15 shots on target.

Southampton v Swansea 15:00

The torrid results endured in recent weeks by Southampton continued for yet another weekend as they couldn’t find a way back against Tottenham at St Marys. A solitary goal from Jay Rodriguez was all Nigel Adkins’ side could muster in a match where their defensive frailty, an unfortunate consistent on the return to the top flight so far, was once again exposed.

Rodriguez’s goal was his first in the Premier League this season, having come from 15 shots at goal 7 on target.

Despite their struggles, Southampton remain top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for their work rate, the Saints players have together covered 633.72 miles this season.

Rickie Lambert can also consider his transition to the Premier League a successful one so far. He has 4 goals from 22 shots at goal this season including 10 on target.

Swansea battled to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea last time out, a late equalizer from Pablo Hernandez rescuing a point for the Swans. Whilst Ashley Williams provided a bright spot by looking to have returned to top form,  Swansea will have felt lucky to come away from anything in this match though given their lack of invention and striking inability to work Petr Cech for larges swathes of the match.

Hernandez’s is Swansea’s record signing, and the Spanish midfielder has two goals in his Premier League account so far from 9 shots at goal with 5 on target.

Williams has displayed impeccable reading of the game so far this season, making 72 interceptions, the third highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and 13 blocks, the second highest in that category.

Swansea were facing one of the Premier League’s most dangerous midfields against Chelsea, and Jonathan de Guzman’s development into a Premier League midfielder of real quality was demonstrated as he won 8 tackles in the game, the second highest total by a player in a single game this season.

Dyer’s goal was in addition to his two Premier League goals so far this season, which have come from 12 shots at goal with an impressive 9 on target. Dyer also has two league assists to his name, having completed 165 passes in his opponent’s half this season.

Bale has obviously not read our stats on how solid Shawcross is.

Stoke v QPR 15:00

Stoke failed to take anything away from the last outing, as they lost 1-0 away to Norwich.  Whilst Tony Pulis’ side are often maligned with criticism over their supposed long-ball tactics, this game was most definitely evidence of a lack of ambition and creativity in the Potters’ side, with few chances being carved out.

Tony Pulis has recently stressed that Ryan Shawcross is not for sale in the January transfer window. In just 6 appearances this season the defender has won 19 out of 25 tackles, made 9 clearances, 38 interceptions and 7 blocks.

Charlie Adam matched his usual guile with a strong work rate against Norwich last time out, racking up 6.85 miles, the highest of any Stoke player on the day.

Incredible as it may seem, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was Stoke’s quickest player last time out against Norwich, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index having clocked the highly-rated stopper at 21.43 mph.

It was most certainly a game of two halves for QPR as they improved vastly after break in their last outing against Reading to battle to a 1-1 draw. However their were positive signs for Mark Hughes; side, as Adel Taarabt looked to be approaching his dangerous best once again, with Esteban Granero and Djibril Cisse also looking capable of providing some of the quality that has recently been lacking for the Rs.

Cisse bagged his first Premier League goal of the season against Reading, having previously had 18 shots at goal with just 8 on target.

Taarabt’s had 6 shots on target against Reading, a tally bettered only by Carlos Tevez v Southampton and Taarabt’s own 7 shots on target v Swansea this season.

Esteban Granero’s creativity has been a great addition to QPR however his discipline has left something to be desired. He’s already conceded 20 fouls and 3 bookings in his short time with the club.

Wigan v West Brom            15:00           

Following their surprise win at White Hart Lane last weekend, Wigan welcomed high flying West Brom to the DW Stadium. Last week’s win over a lacklustre Tottenham moved Roberto Martinez’s side up to 13th in the table, joining Liverpool on 11 points.

James McCarthy had his running boots on last time out against Tottenham, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index having clocked him at an impressive 22.10 mph.]

In 10 appearances, Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley have made a staggering 32 and 27 clearances respectively, the two highest in the league this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Combined the defenders also have 100 interceptions to their names and both are yet to receive a booking.

Shaun Maloney was Wigan’s biggest grafter against Tottenham last time out covering 6.45 miles. Last week’s game was the 4th time Maloney has covered the most ground in a game for Wigan this season.

Ali Al Habsi is second only to Mark Schwarzer for successful saves according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The Wigan stopper has made 62 saves, compared to 64 by Schwarzer and 55 by West Brom keeper Ben Foster.

West Brom have concerns over the fitness of star keeper Ben Foster. However following Monday night’s win over Southampton West Brom find themselves in fifth.

A Peter Odemwingie brace gave West Brom the points against Southampton. He now has 3 goals in 7 appearances a

Zoltan Gera covered the most ground for West Brom against Southampton, running for 6.32 miles.

He may not look it but Lowton is a tackling machine.

Aston Villa v Man Utd        17:30           

Ciaran Clark was dominant in breaking up play in Aston making 30 interceptions in the game, the most by a player in a single game all season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Ashley Westwood also displayed a fantastic work rate in covering 7.1 miles in the game, the most by a Villa player in a single game this season

Mathew Lowton and Ron Viaar have been standout performers lately and will need to be at their best to contain United. They have won 22 and 20 tackles respectively, compared to Robert Huth who has made 16 and 15 by Vincent Kompany.

With injury concerns over Darren Bent’s future, Villa fans will have been relieved to see Gabriel Agbonlahor end his run of 28 league games with a goal, by scoring last weekend’s winner vs. Sunderland.

Villa will hope Agbonlahor features more against United than in previous weeks. In 7 appearances he has just 4 shots on target, 4 dribbles, 6 crosses and 0 assists to his name.

United are starting to get into their stride and have enjoyed playing at Villa Park over the years. They are without Nani, Kagawa, Jones and Vidic but haven’t lost in the Premier League in their last 16 visits to Villa Park.

United will be hoping Robin van Persie continues the form he has shown in the first 10 weeks of this season. The Dutch striker has scored 8 goals from 15 shots on target, compared to Carlos Tevez’s 4 goals from 21 shots on target and Darren Bent’s 2 goals from 9 shots on target.

Wayne Rooney has showed signs of gelling with Van Persie after the new partnership was disrupted by Rooney’s injury. There appeared to be few questions over Rooney’s fitness against Arsenal though as he covered 7.03 miles against rivals Arsenal, the most by a United player in a single game this season.

Michael Carrick has made the 6th most successful passes in the Premier League this season, finding a team-mate 301 times according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Sunday 11th November 2012

Man City v Tottenham       13:30           

Manager Roberto Mancini continues to come under pressure for the Champion’s stuttering start to the season. Man City sit in 3rd position and could be 5 points off city rivals Manchester United by the time they kick off against Tottenham on Sunday.

Samir Nasri completed 62 passes in his opponent’s half in the game against West Ham, the most by a player in a single game this season.

As well as being one of City’s main attacking threats, the Frenchman has been showing greater work rate and has covered the most miles out of any City player in 4 of his 8 appearances.

Carlos Tevez has consistently been producing some fine performances this season for Roberto Mancini’s side. He ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 6.

Yaya Toure continues to be City’s driving force in midfield. The Ivorian has made 444 passes in the opponents half this season, second only to Arsenal’s Santi Carzorla (465).

Despite only playing 465 minutes this season, Mario Balotelli has racked up a disappointing 13 shots off target, the second highest in the City squad.

Sixth place Tottenham could move to within 2 points of City with a win at the Etihad. A poor home loss to Wigan last week will need to be forgotten if Spurs are to contain with City’s dangerous attacking line. Former City player Emmanuel Adebayor will be hoping to upset his former employees, however he may have to make do with bench duty once again after Jermain Defoe’s mid-week performance and Villas-Boas’ preference for playing with just one striker.

Clint Dempsey put in a strong performance last week against Wigan despite the loss, covering 6.58miles.

Sandro has been Tottenham’s defensive rock this season, successfully completing 23 tackles, the most of any Spurs’ player.

Gareth Bale continues to be the primary outlet for most of Tottenham’s attacking play this season. The destructive Welshman has delivered 35 crosses this season, placing him 3rd on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Whilst currently being deservedly lauded for his potent finishing this season, Jermain Defoe has also provided the most assists of any Spurs player this season with 3.

Ben Arfa. So good at dribbling even this picture is wet. Go on, touch it and see.

Newcastle v West Ham      15:00           

Yohan Cabaye scored with a fine finish for Newcastle in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend

Cabaye has two goals this season having had 15 shots on goal with 6 on target. He also has an assist to his name, but the influential French midfielder’s role in the team spreads further than just goals, having completed 145 passes in his opponent’s half this season, and made 16 interceptions this season

Hatem Ben Arfa provided the assist for Cabaye. Ben Arfa has two goals and two assists this season, having come from 19 shots at goal with 10 on target.

Ben Arfa has also completed 16 dribbles this season, the third highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and delivered 27 crosses.

The skillful Frenchman has also been trying to help out defensively, though he has lost out on 11 of the 16 tackles he has attempted this season and picked up 12 fouls along the way.

West Ham battled to earn a point in a 0-0 draw against league champions Man City in their last game. The Hammers could have taken all three points if a Kevin Nolan goal hadn’t been ruled offside, and a Yossi Benayoun volley hadn’t hit the bar from a Matt Jarvis cross

Nolan was hunting for his fifth goal of the season, having had an impressive 24 efforts at goal with 16 on target

Nolan also has two assists this season, which means he has had a hand in almost half of West Ham’s 13 goals this season, and Newcastle will be all to aware of his qualities as he returns to his former club this weekend

Newcastle will also know all about the danger of former striker Andy Carroll, who was idolised by fans before leaving for a difficult spell at Liverpool. However Carroll is yet to open his Premier League account for West Ham, and has had just 13 shots at goal with 8 on target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Carroll has however used his aerial ability to great effect at the other end of the pitch, assisting team mates with 13 clearances, more than any other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Chelsea v Liverpool           16:00           

Chelsea lost top spot in the Premier League to Manchester United last weekend with a 1-1 draw against Swansea. Victor Moses scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in that game and quickly followed up with a first Champions League goal in midweek

Moses has had just 7 attempts at goal in the Premier League prior to that first goal, showing he hasn’t needed many attempts to find his finishing boots for his new side.

Moses has played both on the wing and up front throughout his career, and his wide play instincts are clearly still sharp, having delivered 8 crosses averaging one every 32 minutes on the pitch (Leighton Baines is the most frequent crosser in the Premier League with one every 18 minutes).

Juan Mata has delivered the most crosses for Chelsea with 16, but his come at a rate of one every 42 minutes.

Despite two sensational Champions League strikes, Oscar continues to wait for his first Premier League goal. The Brazilian wonderkid has had 12 shots on target without scoring, the most of any player in the Premier League according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez scored a stunning goal in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle to earn the Reds a point. Brendan Rogers will have pleased with some of the football on display for his developing side though, with Raheem Sterling once again showing maturity and skill beyond his tender years.

Suarez’s goal was his 7th of the season, just one behind league top scorer Robin van Persie. However, even his impressive form has lacked the ruthlessness in front of goal of some of his rivals. Suarez has required 56 shots at goal to get 7 goals, with less than half his efforts on target.

Suarez’s goals outnumber his collective team mates by 7 to 4. Gerrard, Sterling, Sahin and Skrtel have all weighed in with a single goal each.

Overall Liverpool have had 165 shots at goal with 84 shots on target, returning just 11 goals as a team. Compare to league top scorers Manchester United who have scored 26 goals this season from 142 shots at goal with 80 on target. That gives Liverpool a chance conversion rate of just 6.67% compared to United’s 18.3%, and a shots on target rate of 51% compared to United’s 56%

Steven Gerrard made his 600th appearance for Liverpool in the game, moving him to tenth in their all time appearances ranking.

Gerrard has been Liverpool’s second biggest goal threat after Suarez this season, having 26 shots at goal with 16 on target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Gerrard has also won 85% of tackles he has attempted this season and completed 309 passes in his opponent’s half, the fifth highest among Premier League players this season.