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Saturday 24th August

Fulham vs Arsenal 12:45

Patjim Kasami picked a good moment to score his first Fulham goal as his second half header earned Martin Jol’s side all three points on their opening day fixture.

Brede Hangeland’s presence in the centre of defence will clearly once again be crucial to Fulham’s chances this year. The giant Norwegian centre half already leads the Fulham squad for clearances with 13.

New signing Martin Stekelenburg will no doubt be hoping the relatively quiet introduction he got to Premier League life against Sunderland will continue this week. He only had to make two saves according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the second lowest of any keeper in the league and 3 less than the other keeper starting life with a new club in the Premier League, Simon Mignolet.

Derek Boateng has already earmarked himself as Fulham’s potential midfield enforcer for this season, racking up 4 fouls in his first appearance.

Arsenal’s season got off to the worst possible start as they fell to a 1-3 defeat to Aston Villa at The Emirates. Olivier Giroud’s well-taken goal had seemingly set the stage for the Gunners to dominate the match but a spirited fightback from Villa saw their afternoon end in disappointment and yet more pressure heaped on an embattled Arsene Wenger.

Despite his expertly taken goal, Olivier Giroud struggled to consistently test Brad Guzan last weekend. He scored with his only on-target attempt on goal, being off-target with the other 75%. Giroud is 9/5 with to get himself on the scoresheet again this weekend though.

Although Arsenal fans are desperate for Wenger to spend before the close of the window, one area where they do have relative strength in depth is in creative midfielders. Despite coming out on the wrong end of 1-3 home defeat last weekend, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey still placed 2nd and 4th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed inside the opponent’s half, with 54 and 52 respectively.

The loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the near future to a knee injury deprives Arsenal of one of their gamer-changers and Arsene Wenger will be concerned about losing the attacking purpose the Ox brings to the team. The young winger took on Villa with a joint squad-high 4 dribbles and the Gunners will miss his surges forward in the coming weeks.

Key in replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain’s attacking instincts will be Tomas Rosicky who already leads his colleagues for attacking contributions with 7 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance. This is despite being the oldest member of the Arsenal squad.

Everton vs West Brom 15:00

Only a stunning header from Norwich new boy Ricky van Wolfswinkel denied Everton all three points at Carrow Road last weekend. Roberto Martinez will be expecting more ruthlessness at the back this week but must have been impressed by the all-round performance of the effervescent Ross Barkley, who capped a top draw display with an expertly taken long-range finish.

Midfield enforcer Marouane Fellaini turned in yet another impressive all-round display against Norwich. The Belgian recorded the highest number of passes in the opponent’s half of any away player last weekend with 49.

Sylvain Distin is clearly looking to make an immediate impact this year, the oldest defender in the league already ranking joint third for interceptions last weekend with 4.

Indeed, only Jose Fonte of Southampton made more total defensive contributions than Distin. The Frenchman made 19 interventions against Norwich.

Leighton Baines picked up where he left off last season against Norwich, his trademark runs up the left flank still terrifying defenders. Baines is already dominating the EA SPORT Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with 5, tying for first with the Saints’ James Ward-Powse.

A last-minute Ricky Lambert penalty broke West Brom hearts as they fell to a 0-1 defeat after Youssouf Mulumbu brought down Luke Shaw in the area at the death.

Jonas Olsson’s defensive awareness and positional instincts were once again crucial to West Brom as they looked to repel a vibrant Southampton side last weekend. The Swede is tied for the most clearances recorded with 14 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Much of the defensive responsibilities through the middle of the field will also clearly be falling on the shoulders of Claudio Yacob. The Argentinian was West Brom’s most enthusiastic tackler last weekend, committing to 8 tackles and winning 62.5%.

Baggies fans will be expecting more from Nicolas Anelka this weekend, the French striker having been hailed as a strong replacement for Romelu Lukaku who returned to Chelsea in the summer. Against Southampton however, Anelka failed to register a single attempt on goal during his 83 minutes. Anelka is 10/3 to score at any time this weekend with

Ben Foster achieved the rare EA SPORTS Player Performance Index distinction for a goalkeeper of being credited with a dribble against Southampton, the England keeper showing his skills aren’t confine to just those between the sticks!

Hull vs Norwich 15:00

Hull struggled to contain a revitalised Chelsea side on their return to the Premier League, eventually falling to a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Steve Bruce did see his side rally impressively after the break though which will have raised spirits ahead of this weekend’s clash with Norwich.

Robbie Brady caught the eye of many with an impressive display on Sunday, a lack of fear when taking on the Blue juggernaut a pleasing sight for Steve Bruce no doubt. The 21 year old currently leads the Hull squad for attacking contributions with 6. Brady is a tempting 11/2 with to open his Premier League account and score any time this weekend.

Scottish keeper Allan McGregor’s brush with the newly installed goalline technology clearly didn’t hamper his ability to keep Chelsea’s array of attacking talents at bay. McGregor managed 4 saves at Stamford Bridge, keeping the scoreline to a respectable 2-0.

James Chester was as enthusiastic a defender as ayn in the league last weekend, the young Englishman committing to a joint 1st 4 blocks according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Steve Bruce will clearly be looking to turn to Ahmed Elmohamady as his general in the engine room this season, the Egyptian turning in an impressive display in a losing effort. Elmohamady racked up squad highs for both passes completed in the opponent’s half and interceptions, with 28 and 5 respectively.

A powerful Ricky van Wolfswinkel header gave Norwich a share of the spoils against against Everton at Carrow Road. ‘The Wolf’ will no doubt be seeking to give Norwich fans another taste of why Chris Hughton made him a club record signing against Hull this weekend.

Young midfielder Nathan Redmond was amongst Norwich’s most active attackers last weekend, taking it to the Everton defence with a league-high 6 dribbles. Canaries fans will be hoping his confidence with the ball at his feet continues in the coming weeks.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite what is being hailed as a solid debut capped by a fine goal, Van Wolfswinkel’s only attempt on goal throughout his 83 minutes on the field was his header to beat Tim Howard. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, along with Swansea’s Wilfried Bony, this was the lowest number of attempts on goal by a striker who scored last weekend. The wolf is 13/5 to score at any time this weekend with

Bradley Johnson’s last campaign was defined largely by his brushes with the officials, as he found his hard-tackling style drawing more attention that he would have liked. The combative midfielder looks to have worked on this over the summer though, conceding just two fouls against Everton and winning 60% of his 5 attempted challenges.

Sebastian Bassong was one of Norwich’s standout defenders last season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. However it was Michael Turner who stepped up to the plate against Everton, recording an excellent, squad-high 12 interceptions. This is a big jump from his figures last season where he averaged just 4.4 interceptions per game.

Newcastle vs West Ham 15:00

Newcastle fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of a refreshed Man City side brimming with energy and creativity. Alan Pardew was quick to point out the unsettling effect of a late bid for midfielder Yohan Cabaye from Arsenal though and will be hoping for less distractions in his side’s preparation for this weekend.

Unsurprising Tim Krul was amongst the most active keepers during last week’s round of fixtures, seeing his goal peppered by shots from the Man City forward line. The Dutchman ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for saves with 7.

In a game which saw City dominate possession for such lengthy spells, Moussa Sissoko still managed to get himself on the ball and completed a squad-high 19 passes in the opponent’s half at the Etihad.

Although Newcastle had their backs against the wall for much of the match against City, midfield hard man Cheik Tiote clearly didn’t give up the ghost. His 12 defensive contributions was the joint second highest of any midfielder on the losing side in the last round.

Bereft of possession and scoring opportunities, only Hatem Ben Arfa managed to carve out any chances against a dominant City defence. The elusive Frenchman got 2 attempts on goal away, although unfortunately both were off target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Ben Arfa is 12/5 with to find the back of the net at any time against the Hammers.

West Ham got their season off to a flying start against Premier League newcomers Cardiff. A 2-0 win thanks to goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan will have sent confidence rocketing and Sam Allardyce will be looking for his side to keep their newfound momentum going when they travel north this weekend.

Kevin Nolan will have been especially pleased to get on the scoresheet given his somewhat suspect accuracy in front of goal against the Gunners. Of all the players to score last weekend, he has the joint lowest percentage of shots on target (25%) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

However, Nolan does boast an impeccable defensive record after last weekend’s fixtures, being successful with both of his two attempted tackles and conceding no fouls. The former Newcastle man will have to be mindful of not letting his emotions get the best of him when he returns to his former club this weekend though, especially given his conceding an average of 1.8 fouls over his 35 appearance last season.

Winston Reid quietly established a reputation as one of the league’s most underrated defenders last season and the New Zealand international wasted no time in picking up where he left off in May. Reid’s 15 defensive contributions was the second highest of any fullback in the league last weekend.

Although he didn’t manage to have an attempt on goal, Modibo Maiga is certainly getting himself in all the right positions to make an impact. His 22 passes in the opponent’s half was the 3rd highest of any forward in the league last weekend according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Maiga is 13/5 to get himself on the scoresheet against Newcastle with

Southampton vs Sunderland 15:00

Southampton have started the new Premier League season on a high, with Rickie Lambert scoring the winner for both club and country in the last week. Lambert’s late penalty was just his second attempt at goal in the game, and his first on target. Lambert contributed to 24 goals last season (15 goals, 9 assists), second only to Theo Walcott among the Premier League’s English players. He’s 6/5 to score any time and 7/2 to score first with

James Ward-Prowse put in an impressive performance which suggests he may be the latest star to come out of Southampton’s youth system. The 20 year old winger delivered five crosses, the joint highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with Everton’s Leighton Baines

Jose Fonte ensured that the Saints started the season with a clean sheet by contributing 14 clearances in the game, the joint highest in the opening round of games. Those clearances contributed to 21 defensive interventions by Fonte in total, the most in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Saints are 33/20 with to win without conceding a goal against Sunderland.

Sunderland’s summer loan signing Ondřej Čelůstka announced his arrival in the Premier League by attempting the joint highest number of tackles in the first round of games. Čelůstka won just five of the tackles though, so while the intention was there he will want to improve on the frequency with which he comes away with the ball.

John O’Shea was also a key part of the Sunderland defence last season, and ended the season ranked third in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for defensive contributions with 367 across tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions

Despite Sunderland leaving the game against Fulham without scoring, Adam Johnson looked lively on the wing and delivered four crosses, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the opening fixtures. Johnson is 22/5 to score any time and 10/1 to score first with

New signing Cabral also threatened with four efforts at goal, a total bettered only by Frank Lampard among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s midfielders

Stoke vs Crystal Palace 15:00

Stoke put in an impressive defensive performance in their opening fixture against Liverpool, with Steven Nzonzi winning nine tackles, more than an other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Team mate Marc Wilson also signaled Stoke’s intentions for the new season by attempting 10 tackles, the most of the weekend, winning 7. That contributed to 20 defensive contributions by Wilson in the game, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index after the first round of game

Meanwhile Ryan Shawcross was one of four players to make three blocks in their first game of the season. Shawcross ended last season having won an impressive 62.8% of tackles attempted (49 out of 78) and made 179 interceptions, ending the season at the highest ranked Stoke player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Undoubtedly the hero of Stoke’s display was, however, Asmir Begovic who delivered a man of the match display to limit Liverpool to one goal. Begovic made ten saves in the game. Stoke are 23/4 with to win without conceding a goal against the Eagles.

Crystal Palace impressed on their first game since their return to the Premier League. Mile Jedinak in particular put in an impressive midfield display, making 14 defensive contributions overall across tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks, second only to Everton’s Marouane Fellaini in the opening round of games.

Dean Moxy will be disappointed to have conceded the penalty which ultimately gave Spurs victory, but after captain Jedinak Moxey did more defensively for the Eagles than any other player. Moxey attempted 6 tackles (winning 4), and also made 4 clearances and 2 interceptions.

Despite their defensive grit, Palace will need more quality in the attacking half to unlock Premier League defences. Owen Garvan was the only Palace player to complete more than 20 passes in the opposition half against Spurs, while no player attempted more than one shot at goal in the match against Spurs

Palace fans will be hoping that play-off hero Kevin Phillips can recreate his form in the Premier League this season. In his last season in the Premier League with Blackpool Phillips scored just one Premier League goal and contributed one assist in 555 minutes on the pitch. However, the veteran striker’s accuracy in front of goal suggests that some things never age. Phillips got 80% of shots on target in that campaign. Phillips is 13/4 with to score at any time and 7/1 to score first.

Aston Villa vs Liverpool 17:30

Christian Benteke continued where he left off last season with two goals in Villa’s stunning 3-1 win over Arsenal on the opening weekend. Benteke was one of three players to welcome in the new season with a brace, along with Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck

Benteke’s five shots at goal against Arsenal was the most by an away team player in the last round of games. Christian Benteke hit 19 Premier League goals last season, finishing fourth in the race for the golden boot. Most impressively, he had the best shots on target percentage of the Premier League’s top ten goal scorers with 69.5% of this efforts troubling the goalkeeper. His closest rival among the top ten goal scorers is Romelu Lukaku who hit 65.11% on target, while golden boot winner Robin van Persie got just 59.1% on target. Benteke is 33/20 to score at any time and 22/5 to score first with

Fabian Delph impressed with the ball at his feet, completing 6 dribbles against Arsenal, the highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Ron Vlaar was the Premier League’s cleanest tackler last season, averaging eleven tackles attempted for every foul conceded, the best in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Daniel Sturridge welcomed in the new Premier League season with its first goal, scoring the winner in Liverpool’s game against Stoke last weekend. That goal was one of six shots at goal by Sturridge in the game, a total bettered only by Edin Dzeko in the first round of fixtures

Steve Gerrard showed there’s no sign of him losing quality or drive as the 33 year completed more passes in the opposition half than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 55

Jordan Henderson has had his critics since joining Liverpool, but the midfielder looked like he is finding his feet in the game against Stoke. Henderson had three shots on target, only Frank Lampard had more among the Premier League’s midfielders

Simon Mignolet capped his Liverpool debut with a clean sheet, making five saves along the way, the third highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Liverpool are 5/2 with to win without conceding a goal.

Lucas Leiva won 8 tackles against Stoke, second only to his opponent last weekend Steven Nzoni, who won 9 in what was a fiercely contested match

Tottenham vs Swansea – Sunday, 16:00

As the Premier League’s sole representatives in the Europa League this year prepare to lock horns, it is likely that the Spanish strikers on either side will be the focus of attention.

Spanish sensation Michu made an instant impact in his first season in Britain, finding the net eighteen times. His ability to find the target was evident again on Saturday as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Swansea’s Spanish star had 3 shots on target after the first round of fixtures – the third most in the league.

Another Swansea Spaniard that Tottenham should be wary of is José Cañas. After coming off the bench in the thirteenth minute, the Spanish maestro completed 44 passes in the opposition half – the seventh most of any midfielder in the Premier League. The closest a Tottenham midfielder came to matching this was Aaron Lennon, who completed 31 passes – 26th in the last round of games.

Fresh from completing his move to the Swans, Jonjo Shelvey made an instant impression. Despite suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the champions, according to the EA Sports Player Performance Index, Shelvey swung in 4 crosses, the third most in the league.

Likewise, left-back Ben Davies finished fourth in the number of crosses category, as he crossed the ball a total of 3 times. This was the second highest by a defender, as only Leighton Baines crossed the ball more (5)

Wilfred Bony may have opened his Premier League account against Manchester United at the weekend, but he still proved to be fairly wasteful in front of goal. His total of 3 shots off target was third-equal highest in the league.

Swansea may have conceded four goals at the weekend, but it would be tough to put too much blame at the feet of Chico Flores. With a total of 11 clearances, the Spaniard made the sixth most at the weekend. think that Flores and Swansea are likely to have another bad day at the office, as they are offering odds of 5/1 for Swansea to keep a clean sheet.

Tottenham’s goal scoring feats are expected to rest heavily on Roberto Soldado’s shoulders, with the Spanish striker expected to operate as Andre Villas-Boas’ lone striker. Goals are expected to come from the midfield too and Nacer Chadil will be expected to improve his shooting accuracy, as, much like Wilfred Bony, he also had 3 shots off target in his first outing of the season.

Swansea won plaudits last season for their slick short-passing style of play, however they must be wary of Tottenham’s Etiene Capoue this weekend. Despite only featuring for 33 minutes, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has shown that the French defensive midfielder made 6 interceptions against Crystal Palace – the most in the league.

Tottenham made a habit of breaking up the play against Crystal Palace, as in addition to Capoue, both Paulinho and Jan Vertonghen were in the top 15 players who made interceptions, intercepting the ball 3 and 4 times respectively.

Since ousting Brad Friedel as Tottenham’s goalkeeper last season, Hugo Lloris has justified AVB’s faith in him with a number of top quality performances. This was no different on Saturday as by making 3 saves, he made the most saves in the league without conceding a goal.

Kyle Walker has earned a reputation as an attacking full back over the past couple of seasons. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates why this reputation was gained, as his 5 dribbles were the second highest number of dribbles in the league, and the highest of any defender.

Cardiff vs Manchester City 16:00

Cardiff City’s first game in the Premier League ended in a 2-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend, and they’ll have to pull out a special performance to get a result against Manchester City, who swept aside Newcastle 4-0 in their first fixture.

If Cardiff are going to threaten then midfielder Peter Whittingham may be the one to surprise City. Whittingham had four efforts at goal against West Ham, a total bettered only by Frank Lampard among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s midfielders. Although all 4 were off target, so Whittingham will want to pair the willingness to shoot with greater accuracy against a City team who don’t give away chances cheaply. Whittingham is 17/4 to score and 10/1 to score first against Man City with

The signing of Spurs defender Steven Caulker will boost Cardiff fans. Caulker had limited opportunities at Spurs last season but when he did play he impressed. Of all players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have attempted 25 or more tackles, Caulker won the fifth highest percentage with 82.7%

That’s no fluke either, as the previous season on loan at Swansea Caulker won 75.6% of the 33 tackles he attempted, while also making 117 interceptions, 33 blocks and 39 clearances

Manchester City announced their intention to reclaim the Premier League title with a comprehensive 4-0 win against Newcastle. City are 11/10 with to score in both halves against Cardiff.

Despite not scoring himself Edin Dzeko was on dangerous form with two assists and eights shots at goal, the most by any player in the opening round of fixtures. Dzeko got four of his eight attempts on target to again top the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for shots on target

David Silva also looked in imperious form, and was one of four players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to complete more than 50 passes in the opposition half in the first round of games

Manchester City had two of the top four players in the Premier League for passes completed in opposition territory last season. Yaya Toure was ranked second, having completed 1301 passes in the attacking half, and David Silva fourth with 1150

Man City showed they also have quality in defence, with Pablo Zabaleta winning all six of the tackles he attempted against Newcastle

Manchester United vs Chelsea

As David Moyes prepares for his first home game in charge, he has much to ponder ahead of the Special One’s visit to Old Trafford. The Glaswegian opted to leave England striker Wayne Rooney on the bench, but it will be hard for Moyes to do so again. As, following the opening weekend, Rooney leads the assist charts with 2 goal-scoring passes. According to the EA Sports Player Performance Index, only Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko matches Rooney. However he played the full 90 minutes rather than the 28 Rooney featured in.

On the other hand, Danny Welbeck has managed to double his Premier League goal-scoring tally from last season after only one game. He also appears to have upped his shooting accuracy as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he managed to hit the target with every one of his 3 shots.. This was in contrast to Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham who failed to find the target with every one of his 4 shots. think the youngster can continue in this rich vein of form, by offering 6/1 for him to score first at Old Trafford.

Michael Carrick has been widely regarded as one of England’s most underrated midfielders. His ability to sit in the middle of the park is demonstrated by the 6 interceptions he made against Swansea, only Tottenham’s Etience Capoue managed to match him in the first round of games.

He may have had his critics last year, but perhaps David De Gea is starting to fulfill his undoubted potential. The 5 saves he made were the most of any keeper who finished on the winning side.

Frank Lampard may have been close to leaving Stamford Bridge last year, but on the back of his performance at the weekend it seems that Chelsea will miss his ability to find the target. Both he and Edin Dezko hit the target 4 times, more than any other player.

Lampard also managed to swing in the third most crosses on the opening weekend. Inevitably, Leighton Baines topped the crosses category with 5.

Youngster Kevin de Bruyne could learn a lesson or two from the experienced Englishman, as despite having three attempts at goal, he failed to find the target once.

Jose Mourinho’s previous Chelsea team received criticism over their style of play – with many critics labeling them as a team based on pragmatism rather than attacking flair. However, according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Chelsea had four players in the top twenty passers in the league. Collectively, Oscar (37), Ramires (37), Hazard (36) and Lampard (35) sprayed the ball about in the opposition half, with only Everton matching the Europa League Champions.

Chelsea must be hoping that Eden Hazard maintains his fine form in- front of goal, as defensively he hasn’t had the best of luck. The EA SPORTS Player Performance index shows that of his 6 attempted challenges, he missed 4 of them.