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 18th January
Sunderland vs Southampton 12:45:
An Adam Johnson hat-trick saw Sunderland to a fine 1-4 win away to Fulham last time out. The win helps move Gus Poyet’s side off the bottom of the Premier League table and the Uruguayan will have no doubt been particularly pleased with Johnson’s display, the England international showing signs of returning to some of his best form.
Jozy Altidore would be well advised to curb his current defensive technique should he wish to be more effective whilst leading the line for the remainder of the season. He’s racked up 32 fouls this season, yet has only won 9 tackles, the worst ratio in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Adam Johnson’s performance last weekend was reminiscent of the player who made so much noise when he first burst on the scene, the winger appearing to be adapting well to Gus Poyet’s methods. He only had three attempts on goal against Fulham, but scored with each of them. Johnson is 15/4 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Abrasive midfielder Lee Cattermole has been known for straying over the line at times during his career, stockpiling an unwelcome number of red cards. However when on form he has the ability to be a powerful force in the Black Cats’ engine room, much as he was last weekend. He won the highest number of tackles of any player in the league during the last round with nine, representing an overall success rate of 81.8%.
No player in the Sunderland squad has been more committed to shutting down the opposition than Sebastian Larsson this term. He’s attempted more tackles than any other Sunderland player with 66 to his name.
Southampton claimed all three points against West Brom last weekend, with a 1-0 win over the Baggies at St Mary’s. A second half Adam Lallana strike earned the Saints the win in a back and forth affair.
Youngster James Ward-Prowse may not be featuring in every game but when he does get his chance he is certainly making the most of it. The 21-year old ranks third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered so far this term with 21.
Gaston Ramirez did not have the most distinguished of weekends by his own strong standards last time out. He lost the joint second highest number of tackles of any player in the league during the last round with 4. He’ll be seeking a chance to rectify this at the Stadium of Light so don’t be surprised to see him come out all guns blazing when he enters the field.
Adam Lallana continues to be the driving creative force behind the Saints this season, his full England call-up apparently giving him the confidence to kick on and raise his performances into another gear. He leads the Southampton squad for total attacking contributions (assists, shots on goal, dribbles, crosses) with 81.
Rickie Lambert continues to play an effective role when leading the Saints’ frontline this term. He’s attempted more shots on goal than any of his colleagues, letting fly with a squad-best 41. Lambert is 37/19 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Arsenal vs Fulham 15:00
The Gunners are sitting pretty at the top of the table, but they host Fulham who will be desperately looking to bounce back after their humbling defeat at home to Sunderland
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the importance of Arsenal centre half pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, with many pundits comparing the duo to Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ team. Both have been in fine form all season, and Koscielny maintained this level of performance on Monday as he made a total of 21 defensive contributions (based on blocks, clearances, interceptions and tackles won). No other player in the league made as many as the French international.
Pundits have also credited Arsenal’s midfield when analysing the factors behind their success. The strength of Wenger’s armoury was evident on Monday, as Mesut Ozil (67) and Santi Cazorla (61) were second and fourth respectively in the EA SPORTS Player Performance table for number of passes completed in the opposition half. You can find Cazorla at 6/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday
Arsenal fans will be praying to tie Bacary Sagna down to a long term deal, as he is arguably producing the best form of his career. His effectiveness was clear on Monday, as he completed a total of 50 passes in the opposition half – this was more than any other defender.
The injury to Theo Walcott was a blow to Arsenal, as the Englishman was producing the sort of performances that made him a shoe-in for the World Cup this summer. Walcott has reiterated his desire to play as a central striker and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index appears to back-up his claims that it is his natural position, as it shows that he has taken a shot at goal every 29 minutes. This is a better rate than Giroud (31), Podolski (34) and Bendtner (30).
Fulham travel the short distance across London desperately looking to follow up on their impressive 3-0 victory over Norwich in the FA Cup.
Despite a disappointing first half of the campaign, some sort of solace for Fulham fans has always come in the shape of Scott Parker. Parker has led from the front all campaign and continued his good form against the Black Cats, completing a total of 48 passes in the opposition half.
Rene Meulensteen voiced his obvious frustration at the performance of Adel Taarabt against Sunderland this week, claiming that he must start to deliver if the Cottagers are to stay in the Premier League. The Moroccan missed a glorious chance in the first half, but in the 63 minutes that he was on the pitch on Saturday, he did manage to demonstrate his outstanding dribbling ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that he made 5 dribbles – this was the most in the league. Taarabt is 18/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Clint Dempsey’s has made a welcome return to Fulham this season, arriving on loan from the Seattle Sounders. The American made a solid second debut for the club and impressed with his passing, completing a pass in the opposition half at a rate of a pass every 3.6 minutes.
Steve Sidwell has been a central figure for Fulham this term, featuring in every match of the campaign so far. One of his biggest assets is his ability to break up play and stifle attacks, and this has manifested itself in the fact that he has made 41 interceptions this term – the most in the league.
Manchester City vs Cardiff 15:00
Manchester City triumphed in an exhilarating game at St James’ Park, and the title contenders play host to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff.
Many saw Sergio Aguero’s injury last month as a catastrophic blow to Manchester City’s hopes of reclaiming the title as the Argentinean has been in scintillating form all season. However, in the absence of their talisman, Alvaro Negredo has stepped up to the mark, fully justifying the money that Pellegrini spent on bringing him to the Etihad. ‘The Beast’’s direct style of play has won over the doubters this term, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he was in the thick of the action again on Sunday as he took 8 shots – the most in the league. Negredo is 11/4 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Samir Nasri’s injury will be a bitter blow to the Citizens, with the Frenchman out for at least 6 weeks. However, in the form of David Silva, Manuel Pellegrini has an attacking midfielder who can offer the same threat as the former Arsenal man. Silva’s excellent offensive ability was showcased against Newcastle as he made a total of 40 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target). No other Manchester City player made more.
Martin Demichelis hasn’t managed to convince all of his doubters this term, with many claiming that he shouldn’t be considered first choice partner to Vincent Kompany. The Argentinean went some way to answering these criticisms on Sunday, however, as he made a total of 16 defensive contributions (based on clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles won). This was the most in the Manchester City squad and the fifth most in the league.
Pablo Zabaleta has earnt plaudits for his propensity to make rampaging runs down the flank, and he has done this to great effect this term, registering a total of 5 assists. No defender has made more than the Argentinean.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game at the helm of Cardiff didn’t go exactly to plan as the Bluebirds succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at home to West Ham.
One of the first moves that Solskjaer made was handing Mark Hudson his first Premier League start of the season at the expense of Ben Turner, and the former Charlton man fully vindicated his manager’s decision by producing a top quality performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made a total of 20 defensive contributions (based on tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks). This was the most in the Cardiff squad and the second most in the league.
Cardiff may consider themselves a tad unfortunate to have succumbed to defeat as they took 19 shots, and boasted 63% of possession. Peter Whittingham was essential to this ball retention effort, as he managed to complete a total of 46 passes in the opposition half – the most in the Cardiff squad.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem marked his arrival at the Cardiff City Stadium with a promising debut, which showcased his excellent passing ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that on entering the fray, the Norwegian completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 1.4 minutes.
Andreas Cornelius has struggled to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League since his arrival in England, but in the few minutes that he has appeared, he has shown his eagerness to take shots at goal. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that he has taken a shot every 27 minutes, which is a better rate than any other Cardiff player. Cornelius is 13/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
West Ham vs Newcastle 15:00
The return to fitness of Andy Carroll appeared to galvanise the West Ham squad at the weekend and he made a telling contribution to the cause, setting up Mark Noble’s late second half strike. They host Newcastle, desperate to build on that excellent win at the Cardiff City Stadium.
George McCartney replaced the injured Guy Demel in the 18th minute on Saturday and produced the sort of battling performance that West Ham need in order to propel themselves up the table. Despite featuring at his unfavoured position of right back, the former Sunderland man won an impressive 80% of his challenges.
Mark Noble scored the second goal on the stroke of full time to the jubilation of the West Ham supporters, and the goal encapsulated an impressive all-round performance. The West Ham academy graduate has excelled in his passing this campaign, and this outstanding ability of his was on show again on Saturday as he completed an impressive 26 passes in the opposition half.
Matt Jarvis was the provider again for West Ham on Saturday as his low cross picked out Carlton Cole who guided the ball home. The assist took Jarvis’ tally for the season to 4, putting him second in the West Ham assists table. You can find Jarvis at 16/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
West Ham’s match on Saturday had to be stopped for a full 10 minutes whilst right back Guy Demel received treatment for a serious head injury. Hammers fans will be hoping that the defender isn’t kept on the sidelines for too long as he has been arguably the most impressive of West Ham’s back four this campaign, winning a staggering 93% of his challenges.
Newcastle head to Upton Park, desperate to bring an end to their three-match losing streak.
Cheick Tiote has every reason to feel particular disappointed with the result after producing a barnstorming display against the Citizens. The Ivorian completed a total of 32 passes in the opposition half – more than any of his teammates.
Alan Pardew has previously lavished praise on Hatem Ben Arfa due to his capability to produce moments of magic. The Frenchman’s dribbling has always been a joy to behold and he demonstrated this excellent skill of his last weekend by completing more dribbles than any of his teammates (4), despite only being on the pitch for 8 minutes.
Mike Williamson has featured prominently this term, racking up a total of 16 appearances, and his partnership with Coloccini has been a key ingredient in Newcastle’s improvement on last campaign. The Englishman marshaled his defence to great effect again on Sunday as he made a total of 14 defensive contributions (based on blocks, clearances, tackles won and interceptions). This was more than any other player in the Newcastle squad.
Yohan Cabaye is an instrumental figure of the Newcastle squad, with his ability to dictate play and fashion chances for his teammates a vital cog in the Magpies machine. What is often overlooked, however, is his excellent shooting ability – something that has already brought him 5 goals this term (in only 18 appearances).
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates his eagerness to take shots at goal, as it shows that he has taken a shot every 30.9 minutes. No other Newcastle player betters that rate.
Crystal Palace vs Stoke 15:00
Crystal Palace fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham last weekend, with Tony Pulis’ side left to rue a number of missed opportunities. Most notable among these was Jason Puncheon’s missed penalty but his manager was quoted after the game saying that he was pleased with the team’s reaction after the miss. They will need all that character when they visit Pulis’ old side at the Britannia this weekend.
Captain fantastic Mile Jedinak has been the standout performer for Palace in what has been a difficult season to date for the Eagles. Jedinak passed a personal barrier last time out, becoming only the fifth player in the league this season to pass 100 or more attempted tackles. The Australian currently sits on exactly 100, winning 75% of them according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Jason Puncheon may suffer some ribbing in the dressing room for his penalty miss but he remains statistically the most likely Palace player to work the opposition ‘keeper. His 27 attempts on goal is the highest in the Eagles squad. Puncheon is 4/1 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Damien Delaney continues to be Palace’s most effective defender this term, the Irish centre half setting the tone for the rest of the back four. Tony Pulis knows a good central defender when he sees one as well and no doubt he’s been bolstering Delaney’s confidence even further. He leads the Palace squad for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) with 269.
Having the confidence to take on the opposition when you are collectively enduring a turbulent time is never easy, but Joel Ward has maintained his willingness to have a go this term. He places second in the Palace squad for dribbles with 21.
A thrilling encounter last weekend saw Stoke eventually succumb to a 3-5 loss at the hands of Liverpool. Despite goals from Peter Crouch, Charlie Adam and Jonathan Walters, the home side were unable to stem the flow of goals from the Reds but Potters fans will have taken heart from an impressive attacking performance of their own as they head into this weekend.
Erik Pieters remains one of the most effective defenders in the league this season. The Dutchman has won more tackles than any other defender with 70 to his name, placing him fourth overall on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
His defensive colleague Ryan Shawcross remains the most physically committed player in the Stoke squad this term, repeatedly throwing himself in front of the opposition’s attempts on goal. He ranks second in the league for blocks with 29.
Young though he may be, Jack Butland appears more than ready to make the step up to a consistent starting place in the Stoke XI. Displacing Asmir Begovic will be no mean feat though but if his performance last weekend is anything to go by he’s up capable of making a serious challenge. He made the second highest number of saves in the last round with 5.
Marko Arnautovic continues to showcase the talents which brought him to the attention of Stoke last summer. The Austrian has a great combination of strength and technical ability and he showcased this again against Liverpool, completing the second highest number of attacking contributions (crosses, dribbles, shots on goal, assists) of any player in the league with 8. Arnautovic is 7/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Norwich vs Hull 15:00
Norwich continued their winless run last weekend as they lost 2-0 at the hands of Roberto Martinez’s Everton. Chris Hughton conceded that they were up against a strong team in the Toffees but he will be hoping for more from their game this weekend.
Leroy Fer remains the most heavily penalised player in the league this term, the Dutchman’s abrasive style drawing the attention of officials probably a little too much for Chris Hughton’s liking. Fer has racked up 39 fouls this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Steven Whittaker was on strong form last time out, despite the eventual scoreline. He racked up the joint highest number of interceptions of any player in the league during the last round of fixtures with 7. Similar solidity from the rest of Norwich defense, along with more communication with the midfield, should see them start to plug the gaps that have lead to them to their current run of results.
Chris Hughton will know that his midfield needs to start contributing more goals to the cause to supplement the efforts of his front men if they are to maintain a challenge for survival this season. Both Bradley Johnson and Robert Snodgrass had 3 attempts each during the last round, yet neither of them managed to hit the target.
Gary Hooper has already registered five goals for the Canaries in the league since his arrival from Celtic, but if his ever-improving shots accuracy statistics are anything to go by, it won’t be long before he adds to that total. Hooper now has the best shot accuracy rate of any player in the Norwich squad, working the ‘keeper with 68.4% of his 19 attempts. Hooper is 2/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Hull are also coming of a loss coming into this weekend, following their 0-2 defeat to Chelsea last time out. Despite the scoreline suggesting the Blues won at something of a canter after two early goals, Steve Bruce’s men actually managed to starve Chelsea of too many scoring opportunities and they will need to do mindful of the same against Gary Hooper & co this weekend.
If Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies continue in their current defensive form, Hull will have a good chance of staying in the Premier League come May. The pair have 101 interceptions this term, the second highest club pairing in the league behind Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Tom Huddlestone is impressing in the midfield for Hull so far this season, but so is his former Tottenham colleague Jake Livermore. He’s hot on Huddlestone’s heels for the distinction of being Hull’s leading passer this term, with 411 completed passes in the opponent’s half to Huddlestone’s squad best 433.
More often than not, when Liam Rosenior has committed to winning the ball this season, he’s come out on top. He currently has the best tackle success rate of any Hull player, winning 85.3% of his 34 attempted challenges.
Robbie Brady has had to endure a difficult time of it this season, the Irish international struggling to get a consistent run of games due to injury. When he has played though, he’s certainly been effective. He may have only had 5 shots on goal but 80% of these have worked the ‘keeper.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa 17:45
A stunning attacking, if not defensive, display from Liverpool saw them keep pace at the top of the Premier League after a pulsating 3-5 win away to Stoke.
Luis Suarez grabbed a brace, and he will no doubt have been delighted, and every centre-half in the league dismayed, to see Daniel Sturridge back on the field again with enough time to get himself on the scoresheet.
It is little surprise that the Reds have been enjoying such spectacular form this season now that Brendan Rodgers has some of their best attacking talents flourishing. In Luis Suarez and Phillippe Coutinho, Liverpool have the first and fourth ranked players on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total attempts on goal. The Uruguayan and his Brazilian colleague have had 78 and 46 attempts respectively.
Lucas Leiva remains one of the most effective defensive forces in the league this season, providing the stability for the like of Suarez and Coutinho to thrive. The Brazilian has won more tackles than any other player in the league this term, with 76 to his name according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Defender Martin Skrtel continues to solidify his place amongst the league’s defensive elite with some standout performances this term. He may well have his hands full this weekend though with Christian Benteke showing flickers of coming back to his best against Arsenal. The Slovakian leads the league for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, clearances, tackles won) with 270 to his name.
Jordan Henderson’s influence continues to grow under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, the former Sunderland prodigy starting to fulfill some of his vast promise. He’s completed more passes in the opponent’s half than any other player with 590. Henderson is 31/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
A lacklustre first half performance from Aston Villa saw them go down 1-2 at home to Arsenal on Monday evening. Whilst Paul Lambert will have been relieved to see Christian Benteke back amongst the goals, he will need to get him team working much harder off the ball at Anfield this weekend.
Benteke may not be quite hitting the heights that he was last season, but his stats suggest how much Villa still rely on him regardless. The Belgian leads the Villa squad for total attempts on goal, with 34 in this campaign. Benteke is 33/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
The big front man will need to mind how he uses his imposing physique though, with a certain level of rustiness showing in his performance against Arsenal. He was picked up for the joint second highest number of fouls by any player in the last round with 4 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
The loss of Libor Kozak is another blow for Paul Lambert as he could have been an excellent foil for Benteke had a fractured calf and shinbone not ruled him out from the rest of the season. Despite only having 9 shots on goal, he still scored 4 goals, a superb return.
Ciaran Clark has identified himself as a possible permanent Villa captain after a string
of consistent performances this season. Clark currently has the best tackle success rate of any Villa player to have attempted more than 20 tackles, winning 87.2% of his 34 challenges this term.
Sunday 19th January
Swansea vs Tottenham 13:30
An inspired performance from Adnan Januzaj ensured that the Swans’ trip to Old Trafford proved unsuccessful, but Swansea should take heart from the fact that they dominated possession throughout the match and had the chances to inflict another defeat on David Moyes’ men.
This dominance of possession was aided by the efforts of Spanish youngster Alex Pozuelo. The 22-year old has made a positive start to life at the Liberty Stadium, with his wide array of passing ensuring that he’s slotted into the Swansea philosophy with ease. On Saturday, he used this skill to great effect, as he managed to complete a pass in the opposition half at a rate of a pass every 1.6 minutes. Pozuelo is 12/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Sunday.
Another Spanish youngster who’s made a major impact for Laudrup’s men this term is centre half Jordi Amat. The former Espanyol man arrived on South Wales for 2.5 million pounds this Summer, and his performances so far this term have made a mockery of the price tag. Slotting into an unfamiliar midfield position, the 21 year old shielded his back four to great effect, winning 8 tackles – the second most in the league.
Leon Britton hit the headlines a couple of years ago as he boasted a pass success rate of 99%, a higher percentage than both Xavi and Iniesta. The man affectionately known by the Swansea fans as ‘Little Britton’ demonstrated his excellent passing skills again on Saturday, as he completed a total of 41 passes in the opposition half.
Wilfried Bony has been impressive since being given a run in the first team by manager Michael Laudrup. This news will come as a relief to Swans fans as his arrival in the Summer was the most expensive deal in Swansea’s history. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates Bony’s natural predatory instincts, as it shows that he has taken a shot at an impressive rate of a shot every 25 minutes this campaign.
A goal from Toronto-bound Jermain Defoe helped Tottenham on their way to a 2-0 victory over fellow Londoners Crystal Palace.
Spurs boss Tim Sherwood hasn’t been afraid to take drastic actions since taking over the reins at the North London club. Firstly, he ditched AVB’s beloved 4-2-3-1 formation in favour of a more traditional 4-4-2, and he brought Emannuel Adebayor back into the reckoning after he had been shown the door by the former manager. But perhaps the most surprising, and biggest risk, of all Sherwood’s actions has been his decision to bring teenager Nabil Bentaleb into the first team; but the Frenchman has certainly not disappointed. Spurs fans have been delighted by the performances of the 18-year old and his display on Saturday was something of a passing master class. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index show that Bentaleb completed a staggering 69 passes in the opposition half – more than any other player in the league.
Moussa Dembele also impressed alongside his midfield partner. A more established member of the Tottenham midfield, the Belgian also demonstrated his excellent passing skills as he completed a pass in the opposition half at a mouthwatering rate of a pass every 1.4 minutes.
Critics have been quick to jump on the back of Roberto Soldado, with many citing their frustrations at his lack of goals in open play. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index goes some way to refute the opinions of the doubters though, as it shows that the former Valencia man has still been making a positive contribution to the Tottenham cause. Soldado has made a total of 9 goal scoring contributions this campaign (based on goals and assists), which is more than any of his teammates. Soldado is 11/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Sunday.
It would be a shame in Etienne Capoue was to leave Spurs as he undoubtedly has outstanding defensive ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has won an impressive 70% of his challenges this term, and also made a solid 22 interceptions.
Chelsea vs Manchester Utd 16:00
Chelsea eased to a 0-2 win over Hull last time out thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres. Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford to face Manchester Utd for the first time without his old nemesis in the opposing dugout, and will be feeling confident in his side’s form to take down the reigning champions.
Many column inches have been devoted to the form and development of Eden Hazard this season, the young Belgian starting to translate his enormous potential into on-pitch results. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Hazard has the second best shot accuracy rate of any player in the league to have had more than 25 shots, with 66.7% of his 27 attempts working the ‘keeper.
With the signing of Nemanja Matic, all of Chelsea’s midfielders will be on even higher alert but in particular Ramires. The defensive midfielder has been solid for Jose Mourinho’s side this term but Matic poses a direct threat to his starting berth. The Brazilian has lost the highest number of tackles in the Premier League this season with 43 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and this is one statistic he’ll be looking to improve on as the season progresses.
Jose Mourinho apparently still sees David Luiz’s future at centre-back for the Blues and the Brazilian certainly has his qualities in that position. He racked up the third highest number of clearances in the last round of fixtures with 16.
Willian certainly looks to be finding his feet in the league following his summer arrival at Stamford Bridge. Along with Eden Hazard he has been one of Chelsea’s standout performers this season, indeed he is just behind the young Belgian in terms of effectiveness in front of goal. He’s worked the goalkeeper with 63.7% of his 11 shots this term, second only in the Blues squad to Hazard with a 66.7% accuracy rate from 27 shots. Willian is 7/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck halted Manchester Utd’s slow run of recent form and sent them on their way to a 2-0 victory over Swansea. Key to this result though was the inspirational form of Adnan Januzaj, the youngster providing the technical and creative platform from which almost all of Utd’s attacks were launched.
Rightly lauded for his attacking abilities, it appears that Wayne Rooney’s noted competitive attitude has been getting the better of him somewhat this season. He ranks joint first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for yellow cards with 7.
Nemanja Vidic may not be able to complete a full 90 minutes on as regular basis as when he first arrived at Old Trafford, but the Serbian remains one of the most effectives defenders in the league when he is on the pitch. He has the best tackle success rate of any player to have completed more than 5 tackles, winning 94.7% of his 19 attempted challenges.
Midfielder Darren Fletcher maybe only just starting to make his full recovery from a debilitating illness but the early signs are positive for his continuing reintegration into this side. He may have only completed 81 passes in the opponent’s half, but this still represents one of the best minutes to passes ratios in the league. This total works out as an average of one every 2.2 minutes he’s been on the park.
Danny Welbeck is starting to translate his great potential into some consistent results this season, the end product of a lot of hard hours on his finishing on the training ground. He’s had 24 attempts on goal this season, but has scored 9 goals, giving him one of the best shot-to-goal ratios in the league. Welbeck is an industry best 13/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Monday 20th January 19:45
West Brom vs Everton
Pepe Mel watched from the stands as his new team slid to a 1-0 defeat away to Southampton.
Southampton’s victory could have been all the more convincing had they made the most of the outstanding amount of possession they had, and taken more of the chances that fell their way. Part of the reason that they were only restricted to one goal was down to the performance of Gareth McAuley. The Northern Irishman entered professional football at a fairly late stage, so it is something of a fairytale to see him plying his trade in the Premier League week-in, week-out. However, if he continues playing like he did on Saturday, he could extend his career for a while yet. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that he made a total of 16 defensive contributions (based on clearances, blocks, tackles won and interceptions) – no other West Brom player made more.
Morgan Amalfitano has impressed for West Brom this term with his classic wing play, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Baggies attempt to tie him down to a permanent deal. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has registered a total of 21 crosses and also 19 dribbles.
Youssuf Mulumbu has become an essential member of the West Brom engine room since he arrived in 2009. One of his key assets is his tackling, and this outstanding ability of his has been on show this term as he has won an impressive 73% of his challenges.
Saido Berahino has won plaudits this year after making an impressive start to the campaign, and many pundits have tipped him as a surprise package for this Summer’s World Cup. His natural eye for goal is evident in the fact that he has taken a shot at goal at an average of a shot every 25 minutes this term. Berahino is 17/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Everton’s impressive start to life under Roberto Martinez continued on Saturday as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Norwich.
Leighton Baines played a vital role in the victory, with his rampaging runs down the flank causing headaches for Norwich all game. His attacking intent is clear in the fact that he completed a total of 38 passes in Norwich’s half on Saturday, which was the second most of any defender in the league.
Seamus Coleman has been given a license to roam forward by Roberto Martinez, and the manager has set the Irishman a goal target of double figures this season. When looking at the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it is unsurprising to see why Martinez has viewed this as a realistic target for the full back, as he has registered a total of 19 shots so far this campaign – the second most in the league.
Compatriot James McCarthy has been another colossal figure for the Toffees this term, fully justifying the money that was spent on him in the Summer. He produced another impressive all-round midfield performance on Saturday completing 28 passes in the opposition half, and also making 4 interceptions – the most in the Everton squad.
Ross Barkley has been in scintillating form all campaign with many commentators taking delight in his passing, dribbling and general creative ability. What is frequently overlooked, however, is that he has shown great competency in defence. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that he has completed an impressive 68% of his challenges this term.