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 16th March
Everton v Manchester City 12:45
Everton’s last outing in the Premier League was a dominant 3-1 victory at Goodison Park over Reading. Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas all chipped in a result which boosted their hopes of European qualification come the end of the season.
Leighton Baines shows no sigs of slowing down as we approach the run-in to the end of the season, consistently turning in world class performances on Everton’s left flank. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, such has been his contribution that he is only player in the Premier League to now be in triple figures for both defensive contributions (156) and crosses delivered (101)
Look for the touch and pace of Steven Pienaar to potentially play a pivotal role in the middle of the park on Saturday. He has the ability to trouble any side, including the reigning champions, as demonstrated by the fact that he has now completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.2 minutes this season.
One can see why Marouane Fellaini is coveted by so many clubs, given his evolution from midfield enforcer into a consistent goal threat. He’s been the Everton player most willing to have a crack on goal this season, with a squad-high 66 attempts, 66.7% of which have been on target.
It has been a few week’s away from the league for the reigning champions, their last outing seeing them defeat Chelsea 2-0 at the Etihad thanks to goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez.
Carlos Tevez has been steadily having more and more influence as games in recent weeks, his hattrick in the last round of the FA Cup the latest sign he is approaching top form. Look to see him add to his combined total of 22 goals and assists this weekend.
The importance of Yaya Toure to Manchester City truly cannot be understated. The Ivorian midfielder has now completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average an astonishing once every 2.31 minutes.
Gael Clichy continues to transform into the kind of player Manchester City hoped he would become following his arrival from Arsenal. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him as having the strongest tackle success rate of any player in the City squad, the Frenchman being successful with 78.9% of his 57 attempted challenges.
Southampton v Liverpool 15:00
Southampton would have felt hard done by to have a lost a match they dominated last weekend, their fixture with Norwich ending in a 0-0 draw after Luke Shaw conceded a late penalty.
The tenacity of Morgan Schneiderlin has been something to behold at times this season, the Frenchman providing no small amount of bite and work ethic to the Saints midfield. He tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles attempted with 123, winning a solid 60.9% of them.
Despite his foul leading to an eventual penalty last weekend, Luke Shaw continues to show all the signs of developing into a top class left back. He’s made 150 defensive contributions this season, with his reading of the game being particularly impressive, 100 of those contributions being from interceptions by the young defender.
Southampton will be keen to keep Adam Lallana fit for as long as they can given the influence he has been exerting on games this season. The technical midfielder has delivered more crosses than any other Saints player (46) as well as chipping in with 5 assists.
Liverpool secured a vital 3-2 over Tottenham at Anfield last Sunday to keep their hopes of making it into the top four alive this season. Luis Suarez got his obligatory goal, and saw his strike added to by efforts from Stewart Downing and Steven Gerrard.
The irrepressible Luis Suarez continue to cement himself as a Liverpool legend with the incredible run of form he is currently enjoying. He now tops the league for goals scored with 22, no surprise given that he has had an enormous 143 attempts on goal according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Despite impending shoulder surgery, Joe Allen’s arrival in the game against Tottenham last weekend gave his side the stability and calm demeanour required at the time. The Welshman has now completed a pass in the opponents half once every 4.1 minutes this season, playing a pivotal role in the Reds’ midfield.
Stewart Downing is starting to show Liverpool fans the kind of form that has so far won him 34 England caps. The winger has been highly effective on the flank for Brendan Rogers and has so far delivered 37 crosses and compiled 4 assists.
Swansea v Arsenal 15:00
A tight affair saw Swansea fall to a 2-1 defeat away to West Brom. Luke Moore’s first half-goal gave Swansea the lead but Michael Laudrup’s side left The Hawthorns frustrated not to have picked up at least a point after seeing a goal disallowed for offside.
While Michu has been grabbing the headlines for Swansea this season, Wayne Routledge has also been enjoying something of a renaissance. He is the owner of the best shot accuracy rate of any player in the Swans squad, with 86.4% of his 22 efforts testing the goalkeeper according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
While Ashley Williams has been deservedly praised this season for his leadership of the Swansea defence, the accuracy of his tackling could actually use some improvement. He’s only been successful with 48% of his 50 challenges this season.
Jonathan de Guzman is tied for highest squad assists for Swansea this season with 6, unsurprising given he has so far whipped in a squad-leading 47 crosses with the imposing figure of Michu to aim at.
Arsenal’s last foray into the league saw them lose a thrilling London derby 2-1 away to bitter rival Tottenham. Another Per Mertesacker gave the Gunners some hope of a comeback but Arsene Wenger’s side could not quite muster enough clear chances to take something from the game.
The inspired Santi Cazorla continues to lead the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half, his nearest rival, Yaya Toure, now 77 passes behind him.
Lukas Podolski may not have been as deadly in front of goal this season as some people might have hoped, but he is consistently finding ways to test the opposition goalkeeper. His shot accuracy rate is one of the best in the Gunners’ squad, with 69.2% of his 39 efforts testing the goalkeeper.
Ask any Arsenal fan for their most improved player this season and the majority will likely say right back Carl Jenkinson. The 21 year old showcased he can handle some of the best attackers in the world against Bayern Munich in midweek and has been in similarly impressive form in the league, racking up a 69% tackles success rate from 42 challenges.
Aston Villa v QPR 15:00
Villa face another crucial relegation battle on Saturday after last weekend beating Reading 2-1. Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor were on target then in what could be a vital result come the end of the season
Benteke’s goal was his 12th of the season. With 83 shots on target Benteke has been the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s 7th most prolific shooter this season, and with 71.1% of shots on target he is the most accurate of the Premier League’s top 30 shooters.
Agbonlahor’s goal was his fourth of the season, but coming from just 20 shots at goal. That surprisingly low figure, averaging a shot every 80 minutes compared to Benteke’s one every 27 minutes. That demonstrates Agbonlahor’s recent assertion that this season he has sacrificed his own goal scoring return to work harder for the team overall.
Bradley Guzan also continued to do his utmost to save Villa from the drop with 11 saves against Reading, the joint highest in the Premier League last weekend.
However, QPR are also coming to this match with confidence after beating Sunderland 3-1 in their last outing. Goals from Loic Remy, Andros Townsend and Jermain Jenas gave them a much needed three points, and brought them level on points with Reading.
Loic Remy now has three goals in the Premier League for QPR, averaging one every 134 minutes, and having got 9 of his 11 shots at goal on target..
Andros Townsend has reveled in playing regular football with QPR, and now averages a pass completed in the opponent’s half every four minutes 55 seconds, and a defensive contribution every 13 minutes 41 seconds.
Stephane Mbia did as much as any of the goalscorers to earn that result for QPR. He made 9 tackles in the game, winning 8, a figure bettered only by Bradley Johnson in the last round of games. While across all defensive contributions Clint Hill did more than any other player, contributing 36 times across tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances
Stoke v West Brom 15:00
Stoke were leading Newcastle 1-0 right up until the 72nd minute last weekend, before going on to lose the game 2-1.
Jonathan Walters won a penalty and then scored from the spot to put the Potters ahead. Walters has six goals in the Premier League this season and is now Stoke’s top goal scorer after over taking Peter Crouch who has five.
Walters’ goals have come from 39 shots at goal, although he has got just 43.6% of shots on target. Crouch, meanwhile, may consider himself unlucky as he has the better on target percentage of 63.2%, and has had just one fewer shot, with 38, but has scored just five goals compared to Walters’ six.
The one thing Walters and Crouch do have in common is the urgency to try and win the ball back. The two are ranked third and fourth in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s strikers for tackles attempted, with 63 and 62 respectively.
Matt Etherington must be hoping either will start converting his crosses this season. Only two player’s in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (Angel Rangel and Luke Shaw) have delivered more crosses than Etherington’s 31 without being credited an assist
Asmir Begovic once more excelled to keep Stoke in the game, making 11 saves in total, the joint highest of any keeper in the Premier League last weekend.
West Brom come into the game on the back of the same scoreline as Stoke, but were on the happier end after goals from Romelu Lukaku and a Jonathan de Guzman own goal saw off Swansea in their last game.
Lukaku’s strike means he has now over taken Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko to have the second best minutes per goal rating in the league. Lukaku has scored 13 times in the Premier League this season, averaging 112 minutes 28 seconds. Only Chicarito has a better minutes per goal rating with a goal every 93 minutes 30 seconds.
Graham Dorrans enjoyed a fantastic game in midfield for West Brom, completing 50 passes in the opposition half, more than any other player in the last round of games, while James Morrison ranked 3rd with 41.
Meanwhile, Gareth McAuley is ranked fourth overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for defensive contributions across tackles won, blocks, clearances and interceptions with 262 overall.
McAuley has excelled in particular in clearances, where he is ranked third with 69 so far this season, while his team mate Jonas Olsson is ranked first with 77, making for a fascinating battle in the penalty area between McAuley and Olsson and Walters and Crouch.
Man Utd v Reading 17:30
United were leading 2-0 against Chelsea last weekend but ending up conceding twice to draw 2-2 with Chelsea. Chicarito Hernandez and Wayne Rooney were on target in that game.
Hernandez continues to top the minutes per goal rating in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index having scored 8 times in the Barclays Premier League this season averaging a goal every 93 minutes and 30 seconds.
Rooney’s goal was his 11th of the season, coming from 64 shots at goal with 67.2% on target and an average of 145 minutes per goal.
As importantly, Rooney has worked tirelessly for his team mates this season, averaging a pass completed in opposition territory every 3 minutes and contributing 9 assists to add to his 11 assists.
Rio Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad this week, and the stats suggest he could still do a job for the Three Lions. Ferdinand has made 133 defensive contribution this season across tackles, clearances, blocks and interceptions. That averages as one every 14 minutes 15 seconds, a good rate for a player used to playing in a team that dominates possession.
Ferdinand has always been comfortable on the ball, and has demonstrated that again this season, completing 208 passes in the opposition half, an average of one every 9 minutes 8 seconds.
Reading suffered a heavy blow in their relegation battle in their last game, losing 2-1 to Aston Villa. Jobi McAnuff forced an own goal from Nathan Baker in that game, but it wasn’t enough and Reading are now level on points at the bottom of the league with QPR.
That forced own goal is the closest McAnuff’s name has come to the score sheet this season, having had 27 shots at goal including 10 on target without scoring. Only Swansea’s Sung Yeung Ki has had more shots without scoring.
McAnuff has, however, contributed 7 assists and delivered 64 crosses, the 8th highest among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Reading’s wide play has been a feature this season, and Nicky Shorey is also ranked highly for crosses delivered with 53, the fourth highest from a defender this season. Gareth McCleary, meanwhile, is second only to Robin van Persie among the Index’s strikers for crosses delivered with 37.
Mikele Leigertwood became one of six players to have attempted 100 or more tackles this season against Villa. He has now attempted 103 tackles. Of those six players, Leigertwood has the best tackles won percentage, coming away with the ball after 64.1% of his tackles.
Sunday 17th March
Sunderland v Norwich 13:30
Sunderland fell to 3-1 defeat away to a rejuvenated QPR last time out, another Steven Fletcher goal proving not enough to knock the will from their opponents who battled back after falling behind. It was a result that put pressure on Sunderland to avoid being drawn into a relegation battle and they will looking to recover quickly at home this weekend.
Steven Fletcher continues to be Sunderland primary threat of goal, despite increasing help from midfield from the like of Stephane Sessegnon and Adam Johnson. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has an excellent shot accuracy rate of 75.5% from 49 attempts on goal, converting that sharp shooting into 11 goals so far this season.
Some of Carlos Cuellars’ defensive work has been outstanding this season. The imposing Spaniard has an excellent tackle success rate of 86.8% from 53 attempted challenges.
Pacy winger Stephane Sessegnon has been more than happy to test out opposition defences this season and Norwich’s back four will have to be aware of the threat he poses. He currently sits third on the EA SPORTS for dribbles with 39.
Norwich battled to a 0-0 draw against Southampton last weekend, after Grant Holt saw a late penalty saved by Artur Boruc. Chris Hughton will be looking to see his side try and grind out another result this weekend to help ease any lingering fears of relegation around the club.
Robert Snodgrass has been vital as a creative force for Norwich this season, consistently moving forward with purpose into dangerous attacking positions. He’s also found space to plays others into those positions, having completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 4 minutes he’s been on the field this season.
Look for defender Russell Martin to potentially be crucial to preventing the at times dangerous Sunderland attack from gaining any kind of momentum. He has one of the best tackle success rates in the Norwich squad, completing 68.2% of his 44 attempted challenges, conceding only 10 fouls.
Grant Holt will likely lead the line for Norwich this weekend, having done so to great effect for much of the season to date. His 5 goals represents the highest total in the Canaries squad, bolstered by his solid on-target accuracy of 62.2% from 37 shots.
Tottenham v Fulham 15:00
Spurs run of incredible form was brought to an end by the Premier League’s other form team Liverpool last weekend. Two goals from Jan Vertonghen, both supplied by Gareth Bale crosses, wasn’t enough to earn a point for Spurs in that game.
Verthonghen now has three goals in the Premier League this season, a healthier return than the one he had prior to the game based on the number of efforts he has had on goal. Only David Luiz has had more efforts at goal from the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s centre backs than Vertonghen, and he has also played in central midfield. Vertonghen has had 28 efforts at goal with an impressive 19 on target (67.8%), compared to Luiz’s 37 shots with just 51.3% on target.
Vertonghen has also impressed defensively, winning 76.6% of the 77 tackles he has attempted. That’s the fourth highest among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s defenders who have attempted 50 tackles or more.
As well as supplying both assists, Bale had six efforts at goal himself against Liverpool, a figure bettered only by Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez in the last round of games.
Moussa Dembele has quickly established himself as a key part of this successful Spurs team, complimenting the flair of Bale by closing down opposition defenders. No other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has won as many tackles as Dembele, who has won 48 tackles, 21 more than the next ranked striker.
Fulham’s last game was a 2-2 draw with Sunderland, thanks to goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Sascha Riether
Berbatov’s goal was his tenth of the season, making him one of 19 players to have hit that milestone, while he has taken the 6th fewest efforts at goal to get there with 57.
Riether has impressed getting forward this season, and has completed 436 passes in the opposition half, averaging one every 5 minutes 42 seconds, while also delivering 49 crosses and contributing 4 assists.
Riether has also won an impressive 75.4% of his 61 attempted tackles this season, the 5th best tackles won percentage among players attempting 50 tackles or more this season.
Brede Hangeland has also enjoyed a dominant season in defence for Fulham, making 232 defensive contributions in total including 25 blocks and 122 interceptions
Chelsea v West Ham 16:00
Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Manchester United in their last game, thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Ramires.
Hazard has been a revelation in his first season in the Premier League, scoring 7 and contributing 12 assists, contributing to a goal every 112 minutes
He has also completed 691 passes in the opposition half, averaging one every 3 minutes, one of 11 players to have maintained that passing rate for over 500 passes.
Ramires has enjoyed a regular role in the Chelsea midfield this season, playing 2062 minutes and scoring four goals. He’s also attempted 84 tackles, but will need to focus on coming away with the ball more often as he wins just 52.4% of those tackles attempted.
Cesar Azpilicueta has been quietly establishing himself in Chelsea’s right back role this season. Only four full backs in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index have delivered more crosses than the Spaniard’s 51, and he has also contributed 6 assists. That’s the same number of assists as Leighton Baines but from half as many crosses.
Jack Collison scored the winner for West Ham against Stoke in their last game.
Collison had been ruled out for much of the season with injury, but has scored twice in just 357 minutes from midfield since returning and averaged a pass completed in the opposition half every 7 minutes 27 seconds.
Ricardo Vaz Te provided the assist for the goal, his third of the season, having competed 160 passes in the opposition half and delivered 17 crosses.
Jussi Jaaskelainen once again produced an impressive performance to keep a clean sheet against Stoke, taking his tally of saves for the season to 137, the 7th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
Mark Noble remains West Ham’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and should join the select group of six players who have attempted 100 tackles or more this season against Chelsea. Noble has attempted 94 tackles this season, winning 64.9%.
Wigan v Newcastle 16:00
Wigan’s last effort in the league was a 0-4 defeat at home to Liverpool, a result they will be keen to banish from memory with the arrival of another dangerous outfit in Newcastle this weekend.
Maynor Figueroa continues to be a bastion of strength in defence for Roberto Martinez’s side this season. He now leads the Wigan squad for defensive contributions with 261.
Scottish midfielder James McCarthy’s influence on Wigan’s performances this season has been enormous, as evidenced by the fact that he has completed more passes in the opponent’s half than any other Wigan player (702) at an average rate of one every 3.8 minutes.
Franco di Santo may not have been at his most accurate in front of goal at times this season, but it has not diminished his willingness to let fly when he finds himself in promising positions. He has had 54 attempts on goal this season (55% of which have been on target), second only to Arouna Kone with 56.
Newcastle showed good grit to overcome a Stoke 2-1 at St James Park last weekend, with goals from Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse helping them to come from behind and deservedly claim all three points.
Yoan Gouffran has showed some promising touches in the early stages of his Newcastle career, another in a line of talented Frenchmen to join the Magpies’ squad. He’s already registered 2 assists and 12 efforts on goal since arriving on Tyneside.
Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse continues to fill the sizeable void left by Demba Ba’s departure. His well taken goal last time out in the league is something we all know him to be capable of and he is steadily improving his general shot accuracy, now sitting at 51.9% from 52 attempts.
Despite struggling to nail down a regular place in the starting XI at times this season, it has proven difficult for any other Newcastle player to replicate Hatem Ben Arfa’s ability to take the game to opposition defences. The gifted midfielder still leads the Newcastle squad for dribbles with 27.