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 9th March
Norwich v Southampton 15:00
Norwich found themselves on the end of a heavy defeat at Old Trafford last weekend, as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Man Utd. It was a dominant display by the Red Devils but Norwich’s industry and attitude will have given their manager plenty of hope ahead of Southampton’s visit this weekend.
Robert Snodgrass continues to be Norwich’s main creative fulcrum this season, completing a squad-high 595 passes in the opponent’s half, at a rate of one every 3.9 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Some of Norwich’s more defensive-minded players have certainly had plenty to occupy their thoughts this season, but they have been stepping up to the challenge. The Norwich squad now boasts 7 players who have made more than 100 defensive contributions (Snodgrass, Bassong, Garrido, Johnson, Martin, Turner, Tettey)
Bradley Johnson unfortunately continues to concede fouls at a higher rate than Chris Hughton will likely be happy with. He currently sits 5th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 48 fouls.
Grant Holt remains one of Norwich’s most consistent threats on goal this season, the imposing frontman boasting the lowest minutes per shot rate in the Norwich squad for players with more than 5 attempts. Holt has had a shot on target once every 86.2 minutes this season.
Southampton’s survival prospects were dealt a blow as they could not prevent QPR taking all three points back to London in a 1-2 defeat. Gaston Ramirez’s solitary goal will have provided scant consolation and the Saints will be desperate to claim a win this weekend.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been garnering rave reviews for his all action performances this season, and has the stats to back them up. His 13 successful tackles last weekend was the highest by any player in a single match this season.
Scheneiderlin can also boast a record of 533 successful passes in the opponent’s half, the highest in the Southampton squad, at a rate of 4.8 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Portuguese defender Jose Fonte has been once of the defensive lynchpins in the Southampton side this season and has continued this form as we approach the run-in. He’s made a squad-leading 226 defensive contributions including an exceptional 150 interceptions
Southampton will be looking to Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana to be the providers from the flanks this weekend. Between the two of them they have combined for 85 crosses this season.
West Brom v Swansea 15:00
West Brom fell victim to a resurgent Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend, falling to a 1-0 defeat thanks to Demba Ba’s first half goal. Manager Steve Clarke praised the exceptional performance of Ben Foster in keeping the scoreline at 1-0 and he will be looking from similar performances from the rest of his players against Swansea this weekend.
Swansea might be famed for the flowing attacking football but in Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson they will be coming up against two of the most intimidating defenders in the Premier League. Between the two of the them they have racked up an outstanding 312 defensive contributions this season.
Striker Romelu Lukaku continues to impress whilst on loan at West Brom, admirably leading the line for Steve Clarke’s side. The teenager still has an excellent shot accuracy rate even at this stage of the season, with 68.3% of his 60 attempts testing the goalkeeper.
Chris Brunt has clearly noted the usefulness of having a physical specimen like Lukaku playing up front for the Baggies and has delivered a squad-high 50 crosses this season, most of which were no doubt intended for the Belgian striker.
Youssouf Mulumbu may have attempted more tackles than any other West Brom player this season (85) but he could still work harder on the accuracy of those challenges. He’s only been successful with 50.6% of them, conceding 25 fouls.
Luke Moore’s first goal in the Premier League gave Swansea all three points in a back and forth encounter at home to Newcastle. The 1-0 win saw Swansea go to 8th in the Premier League and continued their strong run of recent form.
Despite not registering last weekend, Michu remains the undoubted star of the Swansea attacking line this season. The Spaniard has had 74 attempts on goal this season, with one being on target once every 57.4 minutes.
Ben Davies continues to admirably step up the to the plate after his supposedly premature call up to the first team at the beginning of the season. He currently boasts the best tackle success rate in the Swansea squad, completing 70.7% of his 59 attempted challenges.
Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge play with very similar styles and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index rates them as performing almost identically this season. Both have made 22 dribbles and 17 crosses this season and are within one of each other for assists provided (5 & 6 respectively).
No Swansea player has been more willing than Ashley Williams to physically impose himself on opponents this season. He leads the Swans’ squad for blocks with 36.
QPR v Sunderland 15:00
QPR secured a vital win in their relegation fight, as they beat Southampton 2-1 last weekend. Jay Bothroyd was brought back from loan early by Redknapp last month, while Loic Remy was a January purchase, with both players scoring on Saturday to repay Redknapp’s faith.
Bothroyd has needed just 122 minutes to get his first QPR goal, while Remy has averaged 161 minutes for each of his two goals.
Those strike rates already compare well with fellow QPR striker Jamie Mackie has scored twice in 1732 minutes on the pitch this season, while Dijbril Cisse took 1199 minutes to score three goals before leaving QPR in January.
Sunderland came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Fulham in their last game, thanks to goals from Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon.
Gardner’s goal was his fifth of the season, having come from 45 efforts at goal with 57.8% on target.
Sessegnon has also scored five goals this season, coming from a marginally more efficient 43 efforts with a significantly more accurate on target percentage of 67.4%.
The game will see two of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s best players with the ball at their feet. Sessegnon is ranked third for dribbles completed with 38, four behind today’s opponent and league leader Adel Taarabt with 42.
Adam Johnson set up Sessegnon’s goal, his 7th assist of the season coming from 76 crosses, the 6th most frequent crosser of the ball in the Barclays Premier League.
Gardner’s goal came from a penalty won by January signing Danny Graham. Graham is yet to score his first goal for Sunderland, despite playing 233 minutes for the Black Cats. In that time Graham has hit four shots on target and one off target. Graham’s shots per goal ratio this season at Swansea was 9 shots per goal, but an on target percentage improved from 62.9% to 80% suggests it won’t be long before he’s firing for the Black Cats.
Carlos Cuellar has now got the best tackles won percentage in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 86.8% of his 53 tackles won, over taking Everton’s Phil Jagielka who’s tackles won percentage is 85.2%.
Reading v Aston Villa 15:00
A late consolation goal from Hal Robson-Kanu wasn’t enough to prevent Reading falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Everton in their last outing
Robson Kanu’s goal was his fourth of the season, coming from an efficient 19 shots at goal, averaging 4.75 shots per goal with 68.4% on target.
Despite Reading’s position in the relegation zone, they have the 8th best striker in the Premier League for minutes per goal in Adam le Fondre. Le Fondre has averaged 129 minutes 42 seconds per goal this season.
Evergreen left back Nicky Shorey has also been performing well this season. Only Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson have delivered more crosses from the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s full backs than Shorey’s 53.
At the other end of the pitch, they also have one of the most effective defenders in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in Adrian Mariappa. Mariappa has made 250 defensive contributions across tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks, averaging one every 7 minutes 40 seconds.
Both clubs are in the relegation zone after Aston Villa fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of league champions Manchester City in their last game.
Aston Villa will miss Fabian Delph against Reading, as the midfielder will serve a two game suspension after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season against Manchester City.
Ciaran Clark may have made a mistake against City, but his form has been excellent this season. Clark has made 143 interceptions this season, enough to rank 9th overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He has also made the 9th highest number of clearances, with 45, and the third highest number of blocks with 30.
Bradley Guzan made ten saves in the game against Manchester City to be the busiest goalkeeper in the Premier League’s last round of matches. That takes his total for the season to 172 saves, 16 more than any of his rival goalkeepers.
While Reading have one of the best minutes per goal strikers in the league, Villa have one of the most accurate shooters. Christian Benteke has hit 70.8% of his 79 shots on target this season, the best rating of any player who’s had more than 50 shots this season.
The game will also see two of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top tackles go head to head. Matt Lowton of Aston Villa has won 70 tackles this season, the second highest in the league, while Reading’s Mikele Leigertwood has won the fourth highest with 66. Villa’s Brett Holman has also won the second highest number of tackles among the strikers in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 29.
Sunday 10th March
Newcastle v Stoke 15:00
Despite a valiant effort over 90 minutes, Newcastle fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Swansea last weekend.
Jonas Gutierrez has been in typically all-action form this season, racking up 102 defensive contributions as well as a 68.6% tackle success rate according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko continues to waste no time in introducing himself to Newcastle fans renowned for their love of goalscorers. Despite only arriving in January he’s been averaging a shot on target once every 58.4 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse has certainly been doing the business in front of goal in recent weeks for Alan Pardew’s side, however it will be his defensive misdemeanours which might have his manager slightly concerned. He’s committed 37 fouls this season, second highest in the Newcastle squad and sixth amongst Premier League strikers.
Given the level of talent in the Newcastle midfield it might come as something of a surprise that fullback Davide Santon leads the squad for successful completed passes in the opponent’s half. The Italian has clearly been consistently finding himself in advanced positions higher up the pitch on his way to compiling 333 passes there.
Stoke’s disappointing run of form continued last weekend as they were beaten 1-0 by West Ham. It was a performance which suggested that more goals willing be on the way for Stoke, having gone close on plenty of occasions here.
American defender Geoff Cameron has been continuing the fine tradition of players from across the pond and adapting to the rigours of the Premier League. He currently boasts the highest tackle success rate of any Stoke player, successfully completing 68.8% of his 77 attempted challenges.
Pace over the ground might not be defensive pairing’s Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth’s greatest strength but they more than make up for it with their instinctive reading of the game. Between them they’ve compiled a highly impressive 281 interceptions this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Getting Charlie Adam involved as often as possible will be key for Tony Pulis’ side should they wish to turn around their current slump in form. He’s currently average a successful pass in the opponent’s half once every 5.9 minutes, the lowest in the Potters’ squad.
Despite a couple of slip ups this season, Jonathan Walters’ confidence has certainly not been dented, he leads the Stoke squad for attempts on goal this season with 37.
Liverpool v Tottenham 16:00
The ever-impressive Luis Suarez bagged a hattrick as Liverpool demolished Wigan 0-4 away from home. Stewart Downing continued his return to form by heading in from close range inside the second minute to start what turned out to be a fantastic all-round performance by Brendan Rogers’ side.
Jose Enrique has had a dramatic turn around in form since the beginning of the season. He’s emphatically silenced his critics and now has the best tackle success rate in the entire Liverpool squad, 83.3% from 36 attempted challenges.
Steven Gerrard continues to cement his status as a Kop legend with his consistently excellent performances over his Liverpool career and this season has been no different. He’s racked up a superb 13 assists and a successful pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.14 minutes this season.
However, the star of the Liverpool show this year has undoubtedly been Luis Suarez. He’s had an incredible 142 shots on goal this season, 59.1% of which have been on target, at a rate of one every 30.5 minutes.
Speculation is rife that Martin Skrtel could be on his way out of Anfield this summer, however the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that it could be a mistake to let him leave. He’s made the second highest number of defensive contributions (106) to the Liverpool cause this season.
Tottenham secured what could well be a power-shifting win by beating arch rivals 2-1 at White Hart Lane. The effervescent Gareth Bale and his wing partner in crime Aaron Lennon both scored on a day that could well go down in history as the day when the balance of power in North London may have begun to veer Spurs’ way.
Neutralising the attacking gifts of Bale will likely be high on Liverpool’s priority list on Sunday, the electric Welshman enjoying a particularly rich vein of form in recent weeks. Stopping him will always be easier on paper though, with Bale having an on target attempt on goal once every 30.1 minutes this season. With his wand of a left foot don’t count against it just taking one of those to tilt the balance in Spurs’ favour.
You’ll find many of teammates arguing that Aaron Lennon has made just as much of an impact as Bale this season and the EA SPORTS Player Performance certainly seems to back this up. He’s delivered 42 crosses this season and racked up a squad high 7 assists along the way.
Jan Vertonghen was in superb form against Arsenal last weekend, showcasing his ability to be equally effective at centre-half or full-back. The technical Belgian has an excellent tackle success rate this season, successfully completing 76.7% of his 73 attempted challenges.
Kyle Walker is another who has been in top form at the back for AVB this season, with only three defenders in the Premier League (Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson and Patrice Evra) able to surpass his total of 531 completed passes in the opponent’s half according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.