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 24th November
Sunderland vs. West Brom (12:45)
Martin O’Neill has called for calm at Sunderland after a mediocre opening twelve league games, rightly pointing out that his side are playing at home in four of their next five outings. Fans will be hoping Sunday’s convincing win at Fulham will be a springboard to better form, with three points needed to put breathing distance between the Black Cats and the relegation dogfight:
Simon Mignolet is enjoying a superb season in the Sunderland goal, and is the League’s second top performing keeper having saved 84% of the shots on target he’s faced- the Belgian has only let in three at the Stadium of Light so far, and will be looking to put in another strong performance for his side.
Sunderland’s outfield will have to raise their game to fend off the Baggies however. Sebastian Larsson has made more successful passes than any of his teammates with 193 in 950 minutes, but the top players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index make this figure look modest- David Silva has notched 315 in just 650 minutes, for example, with 50 others completing 200 or more in less than 900 minutes.
The Black Cats’ poor passing record will only improve if they can rob opponents of time on the ball- making interceptions has been similarly problematic for the team though, and Larsson again leads the way with an average of one interception every 45 minutes 31 seconds.
Adam Johnson followed on from his first Sunderland goal in the previous fixture to lay on all three assists for his team mates against Fulham. Johnson has delivered 26 crosses for Sunderland and completed 126 passes in his opponent’s half this season
After an explosive start to the season Stephen Fletcher’s goals seemed to have dried up until his strike at Fulham. Fletcher hadn’t scored since Wigan at the end of September until he netted against Fulham. Despite that two month drought Fletcher still has the joint fourth highest goals scored tally this season with six to his name. To his credit, Fletcher has far fewer opportunities for his six goals than his fellow strikers on the same tally. Fletcher has had 18 shots for his 6 goals compared to Tevez’s 42, Fellaini’s 35, and Dzeko’s 23.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of West Brom. Fourth place in the Premier League table is the club’s reward for a strong start to the season, and confidence is riding high at The Hawthorns following their superb win against Chelsea last week. Get your calculator out and work out how the teams stand purely on away form however, and West Brom are in sixteenth place. Can they get it together on the road in Saturday’s early kick off?
Romelu Lukaku has been the League’s sharpest shooter by some margin so far. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights the Belgian as the only player with a 90% percentage of shots on target- Luis Suarez, Robin Van Persie and Demba Ba are just three who have failed to reach 50%, hitting strikes wide of the post more often than they’ve tested keepers despite some rave reviews.
Shane Long has been a handful for Premiership defences this season. West Brom’s Irish striker devastated Chelsea last week, and has four goals from just 17 attempts at goal with 53% of his shots on target.
Key to the Baggies win over Chelsea was sheer grit and determination, with Claudio Yacob, Liam Ridgewell and Youssouf Mulumbu the only men on the pitch to cover 10 kilometres over the course of the game.
Although impressive, West Brom’s work rate won’t help the side if it comes at the expense of fast, accurate passing. Manager Steve Clarke may want to remind the team to let the ball share the work- none of his players are among the 30 who have made 250 successful passes in the Premier League this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Jonas Olsson and Billy Jones are the only two West Brom players to have won 60% or more of the tackles they’ve put in over the course of this season. A step up in quality is a must if the Baggies are to stay in contention to bring European football to the Hawthorns, as QPR are the only other team with no players to maintain a 70% success rate.
Manchester United vs. QPR (15:00)
Manchester Unitedwill be keen to recapture the form that produced nine wins from ten Premier League games heading into last week’s loss at Carrow Road. The lack of midfield creativity on display will have worried Sir Alex Ferguson, who may view the prospect of a home fixture against the league’s bottom side as welcome relief:
Key to the Red Devils will be the return to the starting line-up of Wayne Rooney– he was sorely missed against Norwich, and recorded a faster average speed than any other United player for three consecutive games before being rested last weekend, including an average speed of 4.65 mph against Aston Villa
Bringing on Paul Scholes at Norwich was seen as a sign of United’s lack of depth in midfield by some pundits, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the veteran has played more successful passes per minute than any other league player this season, 277 in just under nine hours of pitch time.
Michael Carrick put in the passing performance of the season against Villa two weeks ago, completing 92 passes in the opponents half. Carrick wasn’t given the time on the ball to punish Norwich in the same way, and completed only 49 passes in the Canaries half
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also highlights a lack of solo on-the-ball talent at Old Trafford this season. Worryingly, just two Red Devils are among the league’s 100 players who have made the most successful dribbles this season- Antonio Valencia and Luis Nani
Hoops chairman Tony Fernandes reiterated his support for Mark Hughes this week, but the beleaguered manager is in urgent need of an upturn in form – four points from twelve opening games has thrust QPR into a battle for their Premier League lives, and the team can’t afford a repeat of last week’s poor performance against fellow strugglers Southampton:
The Hoops best hope of an upset will be Adel Taarabt. Almost without notice, the 23-year-old has hit 20 shots on target so far this season. Three more than Robin Van Persie has managed, Taarabt’s tally is even more impressive in light of the fact that he’s only been on the pitch for two thirds as many minutes as the Dutch striker this season.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Esteban Granero will be equally key to QPR’s afternoon. One of the few positives the team can take from the Southampton defeat was the tireless performance of Granero, who covered more miles than any of his teammates for the fourth league game in a row with a shift of 6.43 miles against Southampton.
If the Hoops are to take advantage of David De Gea’s uncertainty in the air, they’re going to have to start playing the ball into the Spaniard’s danger areas. Jose Bosingwa is the only QPR player to have put ten crosses into the box this season- the likes of Leighton Baines and Steven Gerrard, on the other hand, have chalked up 60 apiece according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Ji Sung Park returns to his former club this weekend. Despite not featuring in QPR’s last three games Park was one of their hardest workers earlier in the season. Park topped the charts for distance run in four of his eight games so far this season covering a total of 46.06 miles
Even if it goes pear-shaped for the league’s bottom club on Saturday, QPR’s fans should remember West Brom’s ‘Great Escape’ from relegation in the 2005-06 season. Eight points clear from safety at Christmas, the Baggies pipped Crystal Palace to seventeenth place on the final day of the season- all is not lost for QPR, who are only five points adrift less than a third of the way through proceedings.
Stoke City vs. Fulham (15:00)
Stoke City’s current form (one win in six) is hardly inspiring, and they remain one of only five Premier League sides yet to win away from home. At the Brittania Stadium, it’s a different story however- only Manchester City, Everton and Stoke are yet to lose at home, and the Potters will be looking to protect that record against Fulham:
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index doesn’t lie, and shows Stoke’s Asmir Begovic to be number one among the number ones. Having played the full 90 minutes in every game so far, the Bosnian has saved 85.1% of the shots on target he’s faced- a reason to be cheerful for Stoke fans heading into the weekend, with the likes of Joe Hart currently on 76.2%.
Stoke could have got more out of their draw at Upton Park on Monday had it been for better first-half finishing. The players’ work rate was superb though, with 66.44 miles being covered, this was the second biggest total of any team during last week’s Premier League games, and bodes particularly well ahead of a clash against the team that recorded the second smallest figure in the same round of fixtures. This was the second highest total posted by Stoke all season, after their 66.68 miles against Man Utd
Off the back of a disappointing loss at home to Sunderland last week, Fulham will be looking to their leaky defence to step up to the plate this weekend. Having conceded eleven times in their last four games, a clean sheet will be more than welcome for the Cottagers in preparation for a tough fixture run against Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle in the coming weeks:
Despite conceding three goals to Sunderland in midweek, Mark Schwarzer remains one of the league’s top performing keepers. He’s made more saves than any other keeper with 72 this season, and only trails Petr Cech for the percentage of shots on target he’s kept out.
Dimitar Berbatov may be the man to win the points for Fulham. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index places the Bulgarian as the second best away performer in the whole league this season- with an average performance score of 27 on the road, the Bulgarian trails only Juan Mata’s 30.
Berbatov is Fulham’s top goal scorer and has five goals this season, having had 25 shots at goal with 14 on target.
Berbatov’s goals will be even more important after Bryan Ruiz suffered an injury in the game against Sunderland. Mladen Petric replaced Ruiz and scored Fulham’s goal. Petric’s scoring return has been impressive this season with four goals from 375 minutes on the pitch, a return of a goal every 93 minutes 45 seconds. That’s behind only recognized super subs Edin Dzeko and Javier Henandez in the minutes per goal rankings
Petric has had a similarly impressive shooting accuracy this season getting 80% of his 15 shots at goal on target, suggesting that the summer signing may shine in Ruiz’s absence
Everton vs. Norwich City (15:00)
Everton have had an impressive start to the season and are in the race for a European place. Manager David Moyes will be pleased that his side remain unbeaten at Goodison Park, but has expressed his displeasure at the fact that nine other teams have scored more goals than the Toffees in home games this season. Fans will be hoping for some much needed action in front of goal this weekend.
Marouane Fellaini has committed more fouls per minute than any other player this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (28 in 1049 minutes, or an average of 2.4 per game). Even playing from midfield, he’s also the Toffees top scorer with six goals, averaging one every 174 minutes 50 seconds. Fellaini also has four assists to his name, meaning he contributes directly to an Everton goal once every 104 minutes 54 seconds and he has had a direct hand in 45% of their goals this season.
Phil Jagielka will be an equally important ingredient for what Everton hope will be a straight forward win. Statistically he’s the Premier League’s best tackler, having won 86% of the 29 challenges he’s gone in for this season- his record is particularly impressive in light of the fact that no player has made more than 35 successful tackles.
Everton may well be able to tire the Norwich outfield before pressing for a winner late on. For four rounds of fixtures on the trot, the Toffees have covered a greater total distance than the Canaries- work rate is always key, and Moyes will be happy with the effort his men have been putting in lately. That included a team distance of 65.84 miles against Reading, the most ground covered by an Everton team so far this season. That data is at odds with pundits who claimed that Everton’s players ran out of steam after half the squad were involved in mid week internationals.
Steven Naismith scored Everton’s consolation goal in their 2-1 defeat to Reading in their last game. Naismith has had limited opportunities this season, making eleven appearances but totaling just 472 minutes of pitch time from them. His goal against Reading was his second of the season though, and he has hit all five of his efforts at goal on target.
Norwich are on a massive high at the moment, with millions across Britain enjoying their defeat of Manchester United last week. The Canaries need to keep their feet on the ground and grind out results as a pair of away fixtures four days apart begins with a visit to Everton on Saturday.
Simply getting onto the score sheet will be seen by Norwich as a challenge. Three goals in six games for the travelling Canaries to celebrate is the poorest away scoring record in the league apart from Aston Villa’s three from seven.
Everton will need to be wary of the strength of a rejuvenated Sebastien Bassong, who has the best minutes per clearance ratio in the league with one every 31 minutes 31 seconds
The Canaries are also the cleanest team in the league so far according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index- eight cautions and no red cards is an admirable record from twelve games.
Anthony Pilkington scored the winner against Man Utd, his first goal of the season despite 14 efforts at goal with exactly half on target. Pilkington has also delivered 29 crosses for his team mates, enough to put him tenth in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and second among Norwich City players after Robert Snodgrass, who has delivered 39
Wigan Athletic vs. Reading (15:00)
The 3-0 defeat at Liverpool last weekend was disheartening for many Wigan Athletic fans. A home game against one of the league’s strugglers will be a good chance to recover though, and the Latics will be well up for this one.
Gary Caldwell (one every 10 minutes on average), Ivan Ramis (one every 12.2 minutes) and Maynor Figueroa (one every 12.9 minutes) are three of the league’s six most prolific interceptors according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Pressuring teams into giving away the ball has worked well for the Latics this season, and will be effective against a team that have only had more than 50% of possession in two league games so far.
The Latics appeared to get frustrated towards the end of their defeat to Liverpool last week however, collecting three bookings. With 23 so far this season, the fifth highest Premier League total, Roberto Martinez will reminding his team to keep their heads this time around.
Arouna Kone (4) and Franco Di Santo (3) are looking to add to their impressive goal scoring tallies this season, and will be confident based on the fact that two-thirds of Wigan’s goals have come at home so far this season. Kone’s goals have come from 26 shots at goal with 62% on target while di Santo’s have come from 24 with 54% on target.
Reading carved out a vital win last week to escape the relegation zone. Staying above the safety line will be a tough task against a Wigan side looking to bounce back from a disastrous defeat last weekend.
Midfielder Jay Tabb was the outstanding workhorse of the Premier League last week. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals him to be the man who covered more distance on the pitch than any other from the ten games with 7.23 miles, the 7th highest from an individual player in a game this season – he’ll be looking to put in another impressive shift this weekend.
Further evidence of Reading’s stamina comes from the fact that they also covered more distance as a team than any of their rivals last week. Their tally of 67.2 miles was the third highest total posted by a team all season, and was 8% greater than that of Arsenal and a massive 21% more than Tottenham put in, two teams that sit well above the Royals in the table.
Reading’s two points from a possible fifteen is among the worst away totals in the entire league, but travelling to a team which has only won once at home this season may provide the Royals with a chance to improve this record.
Adam le Fondre was Reading’s goal scoring hero en route to the Premier League last season and scored twice against Everton to take his tally in the Premier League to three. Le Fondre may need to sharpen up his shooting accuracy to improve that record, however, as his shots on target percentage is less than half, with 46% on target from 13 shots.
Le Fondre also has an assist to his name this season, meaning he has directly contributed to a Reading goal every 108 minutes 15 seconds on the pitch this season, an impressive return for a team who have scored a goal every 75 minutes 32 seconds as a team this season
Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (17:30)
Aston Villa dropped in to the relegation zone last weekend after a 5-0 defeat from Manchester City increased the pressure on Paul Lambert. Villa frustrated Manchester City for long periods, but once the dead lock was broken the defending champions ran riot.
That result may have been softened slightly for Villa’s Brett Holman as he was named Australian footballer of the year this week. That may give Holman the lift he needs to break his Premier League duck, with the striker yet to score despite 787 minutes of play and 12 shots at goal.
In fact, the striker has had more joy with defensive duties this season than in front of goal, winning 52% of 31 tackles attempted compared to getting just 33% of 12 shots on target.
Lambert has recently defended his policy of buying young players to invest in the club’s future. While fans may feel that experience is needed after a bad run of results the performances of the likes of 23 year old Matthew Lowton will give them heart. Lowton has won 84% of tackles so far this season, winning 31 and losing out on just 6. That record is comparable with Everton defender Phil Jagielka who has won 86% of tackles to boast the best tackling record in the league.
21 year old striker Christian Benteke was another summer signing for Lambert, and has proved a hit with fans. While Benteke has just two goals to his name this season his shooting record suggests more will come, as he has had 28 shots at goal with an impressive 68% of those on target – a ratio comparable with the Premier League’s best strikers
Arsenal fans got the result they’ve wanted all season with an incredible 5-2 victory over Spurs last weekend. Five different goal scorers including three from new summer signings lifted spirits at the Emirates.
After struggling in front of goal initially Giroud seems to have found his shooting boots at Arsenal. He now has four goals to his name having had 36 attempts at goal with 19 on target, a ratio of 52.8%. Fellow striker Podolski also has four goals now this season, coming from a more efficient 17 efforts at goal with 64.7% on target.
Santi Cazorla looks increasingly comfortable in Arsenal’s crucial midfield play maker role. Cazorla also has four goals to his name with the attacking minded Spaniard having had 38 efforts at goal with 57.9% on target. Cazorla also remains within touching distance of Yaya Toure in the rankings for the Premier League’s top passer, having completed 531 passes in the opponent’s half compared to Youre’s 536.
The future of Theo Walcott has been debated around the Emirates this season, and Walcott added to his tally for the season with his third goal. Walcott has also laid on an impressive 4 assists for his team mates, That means Walcott has contributed to or scored a goal for Arsenal every 65 minutes 42 seconds this season, the third most dangerous player in the league after Dzeko and Hernandez
Sunday 25th November
Swansea City vs. Liverpool (13:30)
Swansea City are flourishing under new boss Michael Laudrup, and beat Newcastle for the first time in 32 years last Saturday. Tenth place in the table is satisfactory for now, but is very fragile with just three points separating Tottenham in eighth and Norwich in thirteenth- the Swans’ next few games, therefore, could dictate their target for May.
Miguel Michu will be looking for goals to add to his tally of seven this season, and his goals scored column could be even more healthy if he hit more of his shots on target. With just 50% of his shots having been on target so far (14), he is outside the top 50 most accurate finishers in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
The Swans may be performing well, but are the worst team in the whole league when it comes to discipline. 25 yellow and 2 red cards is a big haul from just twelve games, and they will be keen to avoid picking up suspensions for upcoming matches West Brom and Arsenal to follow Sunday’s test.
Jonathan de Guzman scored what proved to be the winning goal against Newcastle last week, and perhaps even more impressively covered more distance on the pitch than anyone else on the field.
Only Reading’s Jay Tabb bettered the Canadian’s total of 7.02 miles in last weekend’s games, and a repeat performance will be of great use against a hungry Liverpool side.
During both of the team’s previous two games, de Guzman and Wayne Routledge have been the two fastest men on the pitch, having recorded greater average speeds with the ball in play than anyone else according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. In the last game the pair recorded an average speed of 4.79 miles per hour and 4.65 miles per hour respectively
Liverpool have escaped the early season form that saw them drop perilously close to the Premier League relegation zone, and have put in some solid performances in recent weeks. Manager Brendan Rodgers will be looking for a strong result to follow on from last week’s impressive 3-0 win against Wigan at Anfield:
Luis Suarez remains the Premier League’s overall top goal scorer but is only fifth in terms of minutes per goal averaging one every 115 minutes and 24 seconds. A worrying thought for his Premier League opponents is that that goals scored tally could be even healthier if Suarez fine tunes his accuracy in front of goal. Suarez’s ten goals have come from 65 efforts at goal with 47.7% on target, and a conversion rate of 6.5 shots per goal. In comparison, his golden boot rival Robin van Persie has 8 goals from just 33 shots at goal, needing just 4.13 shots per goal scored.
Steven Gerrard will be looking to control the game from midfield as the only man on the pitch ranked in the league’s twenty most successful passers per hour of pitch time. With a current figure of 18.7, the England star should be far more effective than any of Swansea’s players (none of whom are ranked in the top thirty for the same statistic).
If Liverpool can come away from the Liberty Stadium with a point, they will stretch their unbeaten league run to eight games. Although they haven’t stolen the headlines, Rodgers’ men are on a solid run and are one of only two sides to have avoided a loss since September (Manchester City remain unbeaten throughout the entire season).
Liverpool must improve their away form, having only won one of five matches on the road this season. Even so, Suarez has performed particularly strongly in these games. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index suggests that frequent hostility from opposing fans doesn’t intimidate the Uruguayan, who holds an average rating of 25 from away performances- this puts him third overall, trailing Juan Mata (30) and Dimitar Berbatov (27)
Jose Enrique scored Liverpool’s third goal against Wigan with his first of the season. The Spanish full back has impressed defensively this season, winning 86% of tackles so far while also delivering 15 crosses to gain 2 assists.
Southampton vs. Newcastle United (15:00)
Southampton got a much needed victory at the expense of QPR in their last league game, with Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon both scoring while Morgan Schneiderlin forced an Anton Ferdinand own goal
Lambert’s goal was his fifth of the season, coming from 26 efforts at goal with exactly half on target. Lambert also has three assists to his name, meaning he has directly contributed to 8 of Southampton’s 18 goals this season
Jason Puncheon has consistently delivered the tasks requested of him as a midfielder, Puncheon has netted twice, getting 55% of 20 efforts at goal on target. He has also won 65% of tackles and completed 136 passes in the opposition half averaging one every 5 minutes and 15 seconds
Southampton followed on that result with the good news that 18 year old midfielder James Ward-Prowse has signed a new five year contract. Ward-Prowse has been a regular for the Saints making 7 appearances and covering more ground than any of his team mates in three of those, no mean feat considering Southampton top the charts for most distance covered this season.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s cross which led to Saints’ third goal was just his fourth of the season, so the resulting own goal may encourage the French midfielder to deliver more crosses. Schneiderlin has preferred to move the ball around on the floor this season, completing 211 passes in the opposition half, averaging around one every 5 minutes
Newcastle will be looking to bounce back from back to back defeats against Southampton after falling to a 2-1 defeat against Swansea in their last league outing
Demba Ba scored for Newcastle in that game, and while Newcastle haven’t necessarily had the results to show for it Ba has been in lethal form this season. His 8th goal means he is tied with Manchester United’s Robin van Persie in second place in the race for the golden boot. The goals scored column could be looking even healthier, however, if Ba sharpened up his shooting accuracy. Ba has hit just 44% of his shots on target this season
Steven Taylor has talked this week of bringing the ‘fear factor’ back to Newcastle’s opponents. After missing much of last season through injury Taylor has been on fantastic form so far this season making 17 clearances, 41 interceptions and 5 blocks
Yohan Cabaye has been a talisman for Newcastle since joining last season, but the Magpies face several weeks without him as he is due a groin operation. Cabaye has completed 178 passes in the opposition half this season and has delivered 37 crosses, joint fourth in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with Spurs winger Gareth Bale, showing the absence that Newcastle will feel
Cheick Tiote will be expected to step up in Cabaye’s absence and improve on his current passing rate of one every 6 minutes and 3 seconds to take on play making responsibilities from Cabaye, who averaged one every 5 minutes 2 seconds so far this season
Chelsea vs. Manchester City (16:00)
After a stunning start Chelsea have struggled in recent games, and a tough game against the in-form champions may well be a baptism of fire should a new manager be in place by Saturday:
Only four players have recorded more than five assists so far in the Premier League season, and two of them are based at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard leads the way with nine while his Spanish teammate Juan Mata is close behind on six. It’s no wonder as both are in the top ten for passes completed in the opposition half, with Hazard ranked fifth after completing 379 passes in enemy territory and Mata ninth with 351
Mata’s deadly range of passing is also evident in that he is 8th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with 30. Steven Gerrard and Leighton Baines are the only top other players to appear in the top ten for both passes and crosses.
Chelsea are reportedly considering a loan move to bring Dider Drogba back to Stamford Bridge. Juan Mata and Fernando Torres are Chelsea’s joint top scorers this season with four goals a piece. Torres has had 19 efforts at goal for his four goals, with 74% on target, while Mata has had 21 with 62% on target.
With Lampard, Hazard, and Ivanovic all also on three goals Chelsea have one of the top scoring overall squads in the top flight, but clearly feel they are missing the goal scoring presence of a Suarez, van Persie, or Tevez that their top four rivals have
Based purely on the last four rounds of fixtures, Chelsea would be nineteenth with just two points from a possible twelve- a defeat against the champions on Sunday would be a severe blow to the Blues’ title chances, leaving them seven points adrift.
Speculation over the future of Roberto Mancini seems a little harsh on the Italian given the relentless league form of Manchester City. The champions are unbeaten and top the table for the first time since May’s dramatic final day of action. Next up, Stamford Bridge:
Statistically, City have been the league’s outstanding passing side. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index will frighten Chelsea, as it shows two of the top ten passers in the league are City players Yaya Toure, who is top having completed 536 passes in the opposition half, and Samir Nasri who is 8th with 361 passes
City also have a wealth of talent in the area that Chelsea so sorely need – the lethal goal scoring striker. Tevez and Dzeko each have six goals to their name this season while Aguero has 5, all in the league’s top 12 goal scorers. City’s goal scorers talent lies in their ruthlessness in converting the chances that come to them. Dzeko has needed just 23 shots at goal for his six goals, 3.8 shots per goal, and Aguero 24 shots for 5 goals, averaging 4.8 shots per goal.
All three also boast shooting accuracy percentages of more than 50%, with Dzeko on 60.8%, Aguero 62.5% and Tevez 60%.
Despite recent turmoil at Stamford Bridge, City will find it tough playing there based on their away record this season. With a superb eighteen goals and six wins in seven home games, just seven strikes and two wins from five on the road is made to look patchy- top of the table for the first time this season, a win here could launch City towards a second league title.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (16:00)
Spurs suffered a heavy North London derby defeat in their last Premier League outing, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Bale both on target in a 5-2 defeat. Despite the result, Andre Villas Boas remained positive about his side’s attacking mentality even after losing Emmanuel Adebayor to a red card.
Adebayor’s goal was his first in the league this season, and amazingly the striker had previously had just five opportunities at goal in 256 minutes of play. In contrast, strike partner Jermain Defoe has had 45 efforts at goal including 26 on target.
Gareth Bale was this week included on FIFA’s shortlist for defender of the year, a move that raised eye brows as Bale has been playing predominantly as a winger this season. Bale has four goals to his name now this season, from 38 efforts at goal with 68.4% on target
Bale has also won 10 out of 14 tackles, and contributed 11 dribbles (10th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index) and 37 crosses (enough to rank him 3rd)
Despite conceding five last weekend William Gallas remains the 12th ranked defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Gallas has made 19 clearances and 42 interceptions. New signing Jan Verthonghen also has impressive defensive stats, having made 20 clearances and 26 interceptions and having attempted 39 tackles, winning 26 of them.
West Ham secured a point against Stoke in their last game thanks to a second half strike from Joey O’Brien.
O’Brien’s goal was his first in the Premiership, as the defender has focused more on his duties in preventing opposition goals rather than attacking. O’Brien has contributed 10 clearances and 14 interceptions and 4 blocks, while winning 50% of 18 attempted tackles, a good return for 615 minutes on the pitch this season
Sam Allardyce has spoken of Andy Carroll’s frustrations as he finds goals as hard to come by at West Ham as he did at Liverpool
Carroll has now played 670 minutes for West Ham without a goal, and had 17 efforts at goal including 71% on target, and impressive level of accuracy and one which suggests it won’t be long before he breaks his duck. In fact, Carroll’s 12 shots on target without scoring is the highest in the league.
Carroll’s frustration is clearly showing as he fights to get the ball back and create opportunities for himself, but the striker should be wary of diving in, having won just 2 of 19 tackles attempted this season
That suggests that West Ham’s impressive start to the season may become even more so given a change in Carroll’s fortunes in front of goal. Another West Ham player who has scope to impress even more this season is Mark Noble. Noble has delivered 25 crosses but is yet to be credited an assist, the highest in the league. The stats suggest that Carroll and Noble’s fortunes may be linked, and that if Carroll can start converting Noble’s crosses both may see healthier numbers in their goals and assists columns.