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 and put in a true captain’s performance? Then read on and let the welcome return of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index arm you with enough stats to impress everyone but girly girls.
Saturday 26th October
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal 12:45
Two stunning goals from Fulham saw Crystal Palace continue their slow start to the season as they fell to a 1-4 defeat at Selhurst Park. Palace looked to have control thanks to Adrian Mariappa’s goal inside 7 minutes but a wonder strike from Pajtim Kasami changed the complexion of the game and Palace struggled to regain a foothold. With Ian Holloway resigning on Wednesday evening, this weekend’s match-up with Arsenal could be a chance for the club to start this season afresh.
Palace supporters knew they were in for a tough task upon promotion to the Premier League, with some of the world’s most vaunted attacking players coming to Selhurst Park to test the Eagles’ mettle. So far though Palace’s players seem to be standing up well to the challenge, with 7 players have tackle success rates of 75% or above according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Captain Mile Jedinak’s reading of the game continues to be superb this season, his defensive contributions in the Palace vital to his side. Only Manchester United’s Michael Carrick can better his 31 interceptions to date according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Jason Puncheon’s shooting has been somewhat wayward of late. The winger has only managed to get 14.3% of his 7 shots on-target, a disappointing stat for one of Southampton’s most consistent players last season.
Whoever takes over the hotseat at Selhurst Park will have to address an inability to fashion a serious number of chances in front of goal so far this season. So far only Dwight Gayle numbers in double figures for the season (10) and even he has a shot accuracy rate of just 30%.
Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Barclay’s Premier League with a solid 4-1 win over Norwich last weekend. Mesut Ozil grabbed a brace in a game graced by one the finest goals seen at the Emirates by Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey grabbing what is becoming his almost obligatory goal to give the scoresheet some extra polish.
Ramsey’s well-taken goal against Norwich was a strike by a player brimming with confidence, something that is coming from the standard of his all-round play this season. No other player has successfully completed more tackles than him (39) and to top it off, his 31 attacking contributions (total shots, assists, dribbles, crosses) is more than the next 13 players behind him in the tackle stats.
Frontman Olivier Giroud has been praised from almost every corner for his much improved play this season, the Frenchman displaying the confidence in his ability to let fly much more often this term. He currently sits joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total attempts on goal with 22.
Unsurprisingly in Giroud and Mesut Ozil, Arsenal also have two of the league’s most consistent assist providers. Both are ranked joint first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 4. You can find Giroud at an industry best 9/4 at 888sport.com to score at any time with 888sport.com.
While Mikel Arteta may not have been the most noticeable member of the Arsenal squad so far this season, he is apparently their most effective distributor of the ball. For player to have completed more than 100 passes in the opponent’s half, only Manchester City’s David Silva has done so at a better rate than Arteta’s average of 1.87 per minute.
Aston Villa vs Everton 15:00
It is almost a month to the day since Aston Villa beat big-spending Manchester City, but they haven’t managed to register a win since that fantastic victory.
Andreas Weimann was rewarded for his promising return of 12 goals last season, with a bumper new contract this Summer, The Austrian, however, was less prolific against Spurs, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he took 5 shots but failed to hit the target once. You can find Weimann at 7/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the match on Saturday.
Aston Villa fans will be delighted that they are finally starting to see the best of Fabian Delph. The former Leeds man has been plagued by injuries since his arrival in the West Midlands, and his resurgence this season was evident in the fact he completed 22 passes in Tottenham’s half on Sunday – more than any other Villa player.
In an era where it is frequently asserted that English players are technically inferior to their foreign counterparts, it is reassuring to see that the two players in the Villa team who have completed most passes in the opposition half this season are Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood. The duo have completed 164, and 115 respectively this term – a fact that Roy Hodgson would do well to notice.
A big hole was left at Villa Park when former skipper Stiliyan Petrov was forced to retire, but new captain Ron Vlaar cannot be accused of failing to lead from the front. In his 8 matches so far this season, the centre half has completed an impressive 87.5% of his tackles.
Everton’s impressive start to the season continued last week, with Steven Piennar coming off the bench to inspire them to a 2-1 victory over Hull.
Gareth Barry has certainly settled into life well since his loan move across Lancashire, with the former Villa man saying he feels like he’s part of the Everton Family already. Everton fans will certainly be maintaining their levels of affection if he continues to perform like he did last Saturday. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that Barry completed a pass in West Brom’s half every 1.9 minutes – this was a better rate than any other player on the pitch.
Roberto Martinez was always going to have a tough job replacing David Moyes, but his preferred passing style of play has proved to be a success so far, with players and fans alike warming to the Spaniard’s philosophy. One particularly outspoken advocate has been Kevin Miralles, who has claimed that his form has seen a remarkable upturn since Martinez took the reins. When examining the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it appears that Miralles has weight behind his argument, as he has swung in 7 crosses this term – the third most in the Everton squad. Miralles is 6/1 with 888sport.com to score the last goal of the game on Saturday.
Interestingly, the two players who better Miralles are full backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. The pair have swung in 9 and 8 crosses respectively, with Patrice Evra the only defender who has bettered them.
Sylvain Distin, ‘Buzz’, as he has become affectionately known by Evertonians, has been a mainstay of the Toffee’s defence since his arrival in 2009. He may be the eldest player in Martinez’s squad, but his ageing legs don’t appear to have affected his performances too much as he has made 109 defensive contributions this season (based on headers, clearances, blocks and interceptions). This is more than any other Everton player.
Man Utd vs Stoke
A last minute equaliser from Adam Lallana denied Manchester United all three points in their fixture last week.
In Manchester United’s early fixtures this season, David Moyes appeared reluctant to separate stalwarts Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand from the heart of his defence. However, he partnered Phil Jones with Jonny Evans on Saturday, and other than the last few minutes, it appeared to work pretty well. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Jonny Evans made the most clearances with 16 clearances, and Phil Jones the second most with 13.
It is an old adage that a strong defence relies on a good goalkeeper behind them, and David de Gea produced a performance on Saturday which demonstrates exactly why Sir Alex Ferguson invested so much money in him. The Spanish shot-stopper made 6 saves against Southampton, with only John Ruddy of Norwich making more.
The signing of Marouane Fellaini produced a mixed reaction from Manchester United fans, with many believing that a creative playmaker was more urgent. As well as hitting the bar on Saturday, the Belgian produced a strong all-round performance that should reassure the sceptics. In addition to making 5 interceptions, the most in the Manchester United squad, the former Everton man showcased his creative ability by completing 25 passes in the opposition half – more than any other Manchester United player. Fellaini is 6/1 with 888sport.com to score the last goal of the match on Saturday.
Nani is a player who certainly polarizes opinion, but what cannot be questioned is his fantastic dribbling ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that of the top 20 players who have completed the most dribbles, Nani has played the least minutes. Despite only featuring for 263 of Manchester United’s 720 minutes this season, the Portugese international has compleyed 14 dribbles – more than any other Manchester United player.
Wayne Rooney has continuously expressed his desire to play up-front for both club and country, as he feels that is where he is most effective. Granting his wish, however, would prevent him from utilizing his fantastic range of passing, as so far this term Rooney has completed 176 passes in the opposition half – the second highest number by any striker.
Mark Hughes returns to his former club with a Stoke side who were held to a draw by West Brom last weekend.
A major incentive for Peter Coates when appointing Mark Hughes, was his pledge that he would dramatically alter Stoke’s style play, but one area of continuity has been Hughes’ decision not to change captain, with Ryan Shawcross retaining the armband. Shawcross was in inspirational form on Saturday, making 5 interceptions against West Brom – the third most in the league.
One of the main beneficiaries of Stoke’s alteration in play has been midfielder Steven N’Zonzi. The Frenchman has recently stated that he is happy to stay at Stoke, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights how important this could be to the future of Mark Hughes’ team. The former Blackburn man has completed a pass in the opposition half at an incredible rate of every 2.6 minutes.
Marko Arnautovic may not have hit the back of the net yet this season, but he has certainly been creating chances for his teammates. The Austrian has swung in 6 crosses this term, which is more than any other striker in the league. Arnautovic is 23/2 to score the last goal of the match with 888sport.com.
Following the Potters draw to West Brom, Mark Hughes claimed that his team lacks a killer touch, and this is probably most evident in the fact they have only hit the back of the net 4 times this campaign. However, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Charlie Adam shouldn’t shoulder too much of the blame for this. The Scottish midfielder has taken 9 shots this term, hitting the target with an impressive 88.9% of them.
Mark Hughes will be hoping that his decision to bring Stephen Ireland in on loan will provide his team with slightly more guile and creativity – and so far this season his decision appears to be vindicated. The Irishman has completed a pass in the opposition half at a respectable rate of a pass every 3.4 minutes.
Southampton vs Fulham
Both teams come into this fixture on the back of impressive results in the last round of Premier League fixtures.
A last minute equalizer from skipper Adam Lallana handed the Saints a draw against champions Manchester United.
Lallana produced another impressive performance to continue knocking on the door of England manager Roy Hodgson. The Saints academy graduate completed a pass in Manchester United’s half every 3.3 minutes. Lallana is an industry best 8/1 with 888sport.com to score the last goal of the match on Saturday.
Without looking at the statistics, one would be forgiven for presuming that Saints were clinging on against the Red Devils, and a resolute defensive performance kept the champions at bay. However, the statistics tell a totally different story. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Morgan Schneiderlin totally bossed the game – completing more passes in the opposition half than any other player on the pitch (30). To emphasise the Saints dominance, Adam Lallana was the player who completed the second most (27)
Southampton invested a lot of money in the signature of Croatian Dejan Lovren this Summer, but he is certainly proving to be worth the investment. The centre half has attempted 21 challenges this season, and completed a staggering 95% of them.
Pablo Osvaldo may have only scored once so far this season, but he certainly hasn’t been afraid to get stuck in. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that he has completed an impressive 88.9% of his challenges this term.
Strike partner Rickie Lambert may have been dropped to the bench against Manchester United, but his offensive worth to the Southampton team should not be overlooked. The England international has made 135 attacking contributions this season (based on shots, crosses, dribbles and passes in the opposition half). This is more than any other Saints player.
A wonder-goal from Pajtim Kasami helped Fulham on their way to an impressive 4-1 victory over strugglers Crystal Palace.
Steve Sidwell may feel slightly aggrieved that his exquisite volley has been practically ignored, due to the quality of Kasami’s strike. However, Sidwell should at least be comforted by the fact that he produced a solid defensive display to help Fulham on their way to victory. The ex-Reading man completed 7 of his 8 challenges against Crystal Palace. Head to 888sport.com if you think that Sidwell is likely to repeat his goalscoring heroics, as he’s 23/1 to score the last goal of the match.
A challenge for Martin Jol will be attempting to work out how to get the best out of Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov. Thus far, it seems that Jol will look to play Berbatov in a slightly withdrawn role, allowing him to thread passes into the channels for Bent to run on to. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that berbatov appeared to warm to this new role, as he completed 37 passes in Crystal Palace’s half. This was more than any of his teammates.
Bryan Ruiz was a creative lynchpin against Crystal Palace, registering 3 assists. These were Ruiz’ first assists of the season, which is surprising considering he has completed a pass in the opposition half every 4 minutes so far this term.
Scott Parker may prove to be the catalyst in Fulham’s push for a comfortable top half finish this season, as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that he has been effective at both ends of the pitch. Not only has Parker won an impressive 82% of his tackles this campaign, he has also completed more passes in the opposition half than any other Fulham player (156).
Liverpool vs West Brom 15:00
In a fixture which is rarely short on fireworks, Liverpool twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw away to Newcastle in the last rounds early kick off. Captain Steven Gerrard struck from the penalty spot, whilst Daniel Sturridge yet again got himself on the scoresheet, in a result which now leaves them just two points adrift of the summit of the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard is backing up comments made by Jordan Henderson this week, stating the Liverpool captain could go on playing for another ten years. His stats certainly support this argument, with Gerrard so far successfully completing 291 passes in the opponent’s half. At 33, this makes Gerrard the oldest player in the top 40 in the league in this category.
Striker Daniel Sturridge has continued his fine form as the season progresses, registering the most on-target attempts of any player in the league with 14 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Suarez is 13/18 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
The second part of ‘SAS’, Luis Suarez, has been in similarly effervescent form after returning from his early-season ban. The Uruguayan ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the average time it has taken for him to get a shot on target away, with only Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko able to better his average rate of one every 38.6 minutes for players with 10 attempts or more.
Victor Moses is apparently enjoying something of a new lease of life under Brendan Rodgers, turning in some excellent performances as of late. The Nigerian international has now passed into triple figures for passes completed in the opponent’s half (102), at a solid average rate of one every 3.94 minutes.
Steve Clarke will be rueing a penalty decision which should have gone his side’s way during their 0-0 draw at home to Stoke. His side will face an even greater challenge at Anfield this weekend.
Stephane Sessegnon has apparently lost none of the zip which made him such an effective attacker for Sunderland since moving to The Hawthorns. His 5 dribbles last weekend was the joint highest of any player in the last round of fixtures.
No player in the league has cleared danger more effectively than Jonas Olsson this season, the imposing centre-half placing first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 82.
Billy Jones has been equally impressive at times at the back this season. No player in the Baggies squad who has made more than 5 attempted challenges can boast a better tackle success rate than his 73.3% from 15 tackles.
Morgan Amalfitano continues to be impressive for Steve Clarke’s side, leading the squad for total crosses delivered with 13 and providing 3 assists along the way. Amalfitano is an industry best 9/1 with 888sport.com to get himself on the scoresheet this weekend and score at any time.
Norwich vs Cardiff 15:00
Despite Jonny Howson’s second-half strike, Norwich were unable to contain high-flying Arsenal last weekend as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates. Chris Hughton will be looking for his side to bounce back when Cardiff visit Carrow Road this weekend.
Jonny Howson’s goal last weekend was just reward for a player contributing so much in the Norwich engine room this season. No Norwich player has completed more passes in the opponent’s half than Howson, his total of 187 so far setting the benchmark. Howson is 6/1 with 888sport.com to repeat the feat this weekend and score at any time.
Whilst Nathan Redmond can so far only boast a relatively solid shot accuracy rate of 45.4% from 11 shots, he is still managing to be effective for the time he has spent on the pitch this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Redmond has managed to fashion a shot on target on average once every 83 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season, the best rate in the Canaries squad.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel still bears the unwelcome distinction of having committed more fouls than any other striker in the league this season, with 22 to his name so far according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Like their opponent’s this weekend, in the last round Cardiff also saw themselves slip to a 4-1 defeat to one of the Premier League’s strongest attacking sides in Chelsea. Despite a well-taken goal from Jordan Mutch to put them ahead, Malkay Mackay’s side were unable to stop Chelsea from striking back to claim all 3 points.
Bo-Kyung Kim looked dangerous against Chelsea on his return from international duty with South Korea, as he has done for much of the season to date. The attacking midfielder has made more attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) than any other Cardiff player so far with 24. Kim is 13/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Peter Whittingham has so far been the fulcrum in the Cardiff midfield, helping to provide the platform for much of their attacking efforts. He’s racked up more successful passes in the opponent’s half than any of his colleagues with 153, at an average rate of one every 4.7 minutes.
Steven Caulker once again tops this list for most committed defender so far this term, racking up 14 blocks to place him top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Ben Turner continues to turn in the impressive performances alongside Caulker at the back this season, so far compiling the most defensive contributions (92) (tackles won, blocks, interceptions, clearances) of any Cardiff player.
Sunday 27th October
Sunderland vs Newcastle 13:30
Gus Poyet’s first game in charge of Sunderland ended in a heavy defeat as they lost 4-0 to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. There is plenty on the line this weekend, not least the support of the Sunderland fans, as they take on fierce local rivals Newcastle.
Sunderland had their hands full defensively all over the pitch last weekend, none more so than Lee Cattermole. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he made more interceptions than any other player in the league last round with 7.
Adam Johnson has been quietly going about his work this season and has established some impressive statistics to show he may not be far away from some of his best form. He leads the Black Cats squad across a number of fields, including attacking contributions (33) and successful passes in the opponent’s half (122). Johnson is 18/5 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Emanuele Giaccherini is apparently keen to start shouldering some of the attacking burden for Sunderland this season, last weekend becoming only the second player in the squad, after Craig Gardner, to have moved into double-figures for attempts on goal (10).
Physical striker Jozy Altidore is always going to be a handful for any defender and his style is well-suited to the demands of the Premier League. However he may looking to be a bit cannier in the way he combats defenders moving forward, leading the Sunderland squad as he does for fouls with 16 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
10-man Newcastle battled to a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at St James’ Park last weekend, with goals from Yohan Cabaye and debutant Paul Dummett seeing Alan Pardew’s side grabbing a deserved point in a testing encounter.
Local lad Paul Dummett achieved a boyhood dream by scoring at the Gallowgate end on his debut for Newcastle Utd. A defender by trade, Dummett did well in his normal territory at the back as well, successfully completing a very solid 75% of his 4 attempted challenges.
It’s easy to see why Hatem Ben Arfa continues to be such a prized asset on Tyneside, his ability to influence a game shining through in the early part of this season. He currently still leads the Newcastle squad for attacking contributions (shots on goal, dribbles, assists, crosses) with 40 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. You can find Ben Arfa at an industry best 14/5 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Mathieu Debuchy has been in fine defensive form for Newcastle so far this term, completing 81.3% of his 32 attempted challenges, as well as 90 overall defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, clearances, interceptions).
Cheick Tiote certainly put himself about against Liverpool, showcasing his importance as the rock in the Newcastle midfield. He attempted 9 tackles against the Reds, the most of any player in the last round of fixtures according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, winning 66.6% of them.
Chelsea vs Manchester City
Manchester City travel to Chelsea in arguably the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend.
John Terry’s contract situation is becoming a hotly discussed topic down at Stamford Bridge, but if the skipper continues to perform at the level he did on Saturday, an extension will be a no-brainer. Terry cleared the ball 11 times against Cardiff – the third most clearances in the league. No other player in the Chelsea squad has made more clearances than Terry’s 59 this season.
It must be reassuring for Chelsea fans that they have a like-for-like replacement for Ashley Cole, once the left back decides to call it a day. Young Ryan Bertrand has proved his worth for Chelsea time and time again, including in their 2012 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, and he was impressive again on Saturday completing a pass in Cardiff’s half every 1.8 minutes.
Eden Hazard’s contentious first goal against the Bluebirds should take nothing away from his overall impressive performance. In addition to his two goals, the Belgian completed 4 dribbles – the second most in the league. So far this season, no Chelsea player has completed more dribbles than the former Lille man. Hazard is 15/2 with 888sport.com to score the last goal of the game on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho will be relieved that both Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres are rediscovering their goalscoring touch, with Eto’o registering his first goal for the club against Cardiff, and Torres scoring two in the Champions League. This will be music to Chelsea fan’s ears as prior to these goals, the duo had only hit the target with 60% and 50% of their shots.
Chelsea fans will be pleased to see that Juan Mata has been brought back into the fold be Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea manager has praised Mata’s work ethic, and it appears that Mourinho’s faith has been rewarded as the Spaniard has completed a pass in the opposition half every 2.4 minutes this season.
An inspired performance from Sergio Aguero guided Manchester City to victory over West Ham on Saturday.
The Argentinean is a player that Chelsea should be wary of, as it appears that he is back to his imperious best. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Argentinean has either scored or assisted 10 goals this season. This is more than any other player in the league. Aguero is 5/1 with 888sport.com to open the scoring on Saturday.
Another player who wasn’t quite at the races last term, but also appears to be finding form again is midfield maestro David Silva. The Spanish playmaker completed 56 passes in West Ham’s half on Saturday, with only Steven Gerrard completing more.
Some critics have been skeptical of Pellegrini’s releuctance to depart from his 4-4-2 formation, with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho pulling the strings in the centre of the park. However, by examining the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index passing statistics, it appears that Yaya has thrived in the current setup. No other player has completed as many passes in the opposition half as the 335 completed by Toure.
Joleon Lescott was an essential component in Roberto Mancini’s title winning team of 2011/2012, but since the arrival of Matija Nastasic at the Etihad, the English centre half has struggled to get a game. However, when examining their relative tackling statistics this season, it isn’t hard to see why. Nastasic has a far superior success rate, completing 75% of his challenges in comparison to Lescott’s 60%.
Fernandinho has made a solid, if not spectacular start to life in Manchester, but one area in which he has thrived is in the interception department. No other Manchester City player has completed as many interceptions as Fernandindo’s 15.
Sunday 20th October
Tottenham vs. Hull
Tottenham bounced back from their disappointing defeat to West Ham with an impressive victory against Aston Villa, and host a Hull side who have made a good start to the season.
Fresh from his impressive performances for England, Andros Townsend continued to demonstrate his excellent dribbling ability. The winger completed 5 dribbles against Aston Villa – the most in the league. Townsend is 15/2 with 888sport.com to open the scoring on Sunday.
Jan Vertonghen has established himself as a real fan favourite since his arrival in North London, as in addition to producing stellar defensive performances, his ability on the ball has added some composure to the Tottenham back four. Vertonghen demonstrated this passing ability against Aston Villa as he completed 27 passes in the opposition half – the fourth most of any defender.
Another favourite amongst the Tottenham faithful is Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele. The Belgian has become a mainstay in the centre of the park for Spurs, and this is evident in his tackling ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that he has completed a staggering 90% of his tackles so far this campaign.
Andre Villas-Boas has a tough decision to make when deciding who to play in the coveted number 10 role, with both Lewis Holtby and Christian Eriksen making compelling cases for inclusion. The duo have completed an impressive pass in the opposition half every 2.2 and 2.9 minutes respectively.
Yannick Sagbo’s strike wasn’t enough to secure a positive result for Hull against Everton.
Curtis Davies was once talked about as a potential international, and if he continues to perform like he did on Saturday people may start talking again. The Hull centre back completed 7 tackles at the weekend – more than any other defender in the league.
Fellow defender James Chester’s excellent tackling ability has also been evident so far this term, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he has been successful in 93% of his challenges
Tom Huddlestone’s passing ability will be central to Hull’s chances of staying the division this season, and so far he hasn’t disappointed as he has completed 150 passes in the opposition half.
Sone Aluko has been a real star for Hull so far this season, and this is in part due to his excellent dribbling ability. The striker has completed 13 dribbles so far this camapaign – more than any of his teammates. You can find Aluko at 13/1 with 888sport.com to open the scoring on Sunday.
Swansea vs West Ham
Swansea completed a 4-0 rout over Sunderland last time out, helped by two own-goals from their opposition.
Jonjo Shelvey is finally getting the first team football he so craved at Liverpool and Michael Laudrup is reaping the benefits from giving the youngster an extended run in the team. He so far leads a very talented, technical Swansea squad for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 205 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and is so far the only Swans player to have broken the 200-pass barrier.
Look no further than Chico Flores for the man who adds the steel to Swansea’s usual silky attacking football. He leads the Swansea squad for defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions, clearances) so far this campaign with 94.
Michu will be looking to get some of his accuracy in front of goal back up to the standards of his stellar first season in English football after some wayward attempts so far this term. He boasts a shot accuracy rate of 55.5% from 18 attempts on goal so far this season. Michu is 13/12 with 888sport.com to score at any time against the Hammers.
Young defender Ben Davies has continued to make an impression this season following his first-team breakthrough last term. The Welsh international will be hoping from a swift return from his recent ankle sprain so he can continue to build on his impressive stats. He’s compiled a solid tackle success rate of 66.6% from 27 attempted challenges, as well as completing a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 3.91 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.
West Ham were undone last weekend by a Man City side back to their imperious best and found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-3 defeat at the Boleyn Ground. They face another potentially exacting encounter this weekend when they travel to South Wales.
Highly touted in recent weeks, Ravel Morrison would have been riding high heading into the Hammers’ match with City last weekend. His usual accurate shooting deserted him somewhat though, with Morrison managing 3 attempts on goal but none of them finding the target. He’ll be looking for a swift return to form this weekend. Morrison is an industry best 23/4 to score at any time against the Swans with 888sport.com.
Although noted particularly for his defensive capabilities, Mohamed Diame has been showcasing why he is so highly prized by the Hammers with his intent going forward as well this season. Diame currently ranks joint 5th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles with 19.
James Collins has continued his fine defensive start to the season, recording some of the best statistics in the league at the back for the Hammers. The Welsh centre-half has successfully completed 93.3% of his attempted challenges this season, placing him 3rd on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Collins’ colleague at the back Winston Reid is another who has been in strong form so far this season, have completed 113 total defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, blocks, interceptions) so far this term, making him one of only six players to have moved into triple figures in this category.