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 1st March
Hull vs Newcastle 15:00
Steve Bruce’s men took a huge step towards safety in the last round of Premier League fixtures, inflicting a humbling 4-0 defeat on Cardiff. They host Newcastle, who will have been buoyed by a victory over Aston Villa in their last Premier League fixture.
Nikica Jelavic opened his Hull account at the weekend, scoring two vital goals to compound more misery on Cardiff. The Croatian has been a constant menace since arriving on Humberside, causing headaches for defenders throughout matches, and it was unsurprising to see him open his account for the Tigers when looking at his eagerness to take shots at goal. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Jelavic took more shots than any other player in the league (7), at an impressive rate of a shot every 12.8 minutes. Jelavic is 11/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Ahmed Elmohamady registered his second assist of the season on Saturday when he squared the ball in for Livermore to guide home. It was a just reward for the Egyptian’s efforts, as he was a creative force on Saturday, completing an impressive 28 passes in the opposition half – more than any other Hull player.
The scoreline may have been incredibly convincing on Saturday, but for all of Hull’s offensive efforts they still needed a solid defensive platform from which to build their attacks on, and to nullify Cardiff’s forays forward. Curtis Davies marshaled his defence to great effect to ensure that this happened, making a total of 18 defensve contributions (based on clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles won). This was more than any other Hull player and the third most in the league.
Tom Huddlestone is one man who will be looking to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s squad in the forthcoming months, particularly as he has been inspirational for Hull so far this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index underlines his importance to Steve Bruce’s men as it shows that he has featured in 2342 minutes for The Tigers, second only behind Ahmed Elmohammady.
Loic Remy scored a last minute winner to hand Newcastle the win over Aston Villa, and end their poor run of form.
Alan Pardew joked that he may not field Loic Remy for the rest of the season in order to detract the huge list of potential suitors that are likely to come after his services. Remy’s goal could prove critical in Newcastle’s stagnating season, but it was no surprise to see him hit the back of the net as he proved to be a menace throughout the game, taking a total of 7 shots – the most in the league. Remy is 11/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal this weekend.
Vurnon Anita has had his fair share of critics since arriving in the North East, but he showcased his excellent passing ability on Sunday, spraying the ball around the park at will. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Dutchman completed 29 passes in the opposition half, the most in the Newcastle squad.
Fabricio Coloccini has become something of a Newcastle stalwart since arriving at St James’ Park in 2008, with the former Deportivo man establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s most consistent defenders. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows precisely why he’s held in such high regard, as it shows that he made a total of 15 defensive contributions on Sunday (based on blocks, clearances, interceptions and tackles won), which was the most in the Newcastle squad.
Alan Pardew praised Paul Dummett’s performance against Aston Villa, as despite a nervy start, the local lad produced an awesome performance to cement his status as the club’s number one left back. In addition to his excellent set pieces, Dummett made a total of 23 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target), the ninth most of any defender in the league.
Fulham vs Chelsea 15:00
A last minute equaliser from West Brom denied Felix Magath a winning start as Fulham manager, but in hindsight, a 1-1 draw can be considered a solid result. They host local rivals Chelsea, looking to pick up on any momentum that they may have gained from the Hawthorns.
One of the last moves that Rene Meulensteen made as Fulham manager was to bring in Johnny Heitinga from Everton, and the Dutch international produced a barnstorming display at the heart of the Cottagers’ defence that Magath will be hoping is a sign of things to come. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Heitinga made a total of 19 defensive contributions (based on blocks, clearances, tackles won and interceptions), which was the second most in the league.
Another January signing proved to be a menace at the opposite end of the pitch, with Lewis Holtby pulling the offensive strings for Magath’s men. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the former Schalke man made a total of 21 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target), which was more than any other player in the Fulham squad. Holtby is 16/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the match on Saturday.
West Brom may have boasted the lion’s share of possession on Saturday, but the excellent defensive work of Scott Parker and Steve Sidwell meant that the West Brom midfield’s opportunities were extremely limited. The duo won 100% and 85% of their tackles respectively.
Fernando Amorebieta has made a solid start to life at Craven Cottage, proving himself to be a more than capable central defender. This is probably best demonstrated by the fact that he’s made a total of 139 clearances, which is more than any other player in the Fulham squad.
A last minute winner from John Terry ensured that Chelsea retained their position at the top of the Premier League table, and they travel the short distance to Craven Cottage looking to maintain their impressive run of form.
Chelsea may have been slightly lacklustre in attack against the Toffees, but the ever-reliable centre half pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill ensured that Everton’s attacking threats were thwarted. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that they made 16 and 13 defensive contributions respectively, ensuring that the Blues kept yet another clean sheet.
Nemanja Matic has been something of a revelation since arriving at Stamford Bridge, with his ability to shield the back four utilised to great effect by manager Jose Mourinho. On Saturday, however, the Serb showed his creative side too – completing a total of 31 passes in the opposition half. You can find Matic at 15/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Pundits have quite rightly lavished high praise on Eden Hazard, as the Belgian has established himself as a key match-winner for the Blues this season. Hazard has excelled in a number of areas this term and his passing has been a joy to behold, with the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index showing that he has completed a total of 820 passes in the opposition half.
Branislav Ivanovic has established himself as an integral player in the Chelsea lineup over recent years, with his ability to operate extremely effectively at right back or centre half a key asset. Ivanovic’s excellent all-round game is probably best demonstrated by the fact that he has made a total of 31 interceptions, the most in the Chelsea squad, but also swung in 15 crosses, again more than any other Chelsea player.
Southampton vs Liverpool 17:30
Southampton were left to rue their inability to convert their chances as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to West Ham at Upton Park last weekend. Maya Yoshida headed the visitors in front but the Saints were unable to capitalise on several chances and eventually returned to the south coast empty handed.
Maya Yoshida may have found first team appearances difficult to come by this season, but this hasn’t stopped him from being effective when his chance has come. He’s won 90% of his 10 challenges to date this season.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin continues to be a vital lynchpin in the Saints engine room this season, often doing the dirty and unglamorous work that allows those around him to shine. He ranks third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles completed this season with 123 to his name, and an impressive 71.1% overall success rate.
Jose Fonte has been a rock at the back for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this term, racking up a huge number of defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, tackles won, interceptions). With 330 to his name, expect him to be vital in containing the potent Liverpool strike force this weekend.
Steven Davis will potentially be another key factor in disrupting Liverpool’s passing game and forcing them onto the back foot in their own half. No Saints player completed more passes in the opponent’s half in the last round than Davis, his 49 passes coming at an impressive average rate of one every 1.59 minutes. Davis is 8/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
An incredible game at Anfield last weekend saw Liverpool eventually come out on top as they emerged as 4-3 winners over Swansea. Former midfielder Jonjo Shelvey scored on his return to Anfield, but braces from both Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson eventually saw Brendan Rodgers to victory over his former side.
Luis Suarez may not have been as prolific in recent games as he has been for the rest of the season, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not incredibly effective up front for the Reds. Not only does he continue to lead the league for total on-target attempts with 57, he’s also just become the first player to have surpassed 100 attempts on goal according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (103).
His strike partner Daniel Sturridge has certainly not be struggling to find the net though, picking his red hot goal-scoring form right up where he left off prior to injury. He’s racked up an attempt on goal on average once every 24.9 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season, second behind only Suarez in this category for for players who have had 60 shots or more. Sturridge is 15/13 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Expect Phillippe Coutinho to be the key conduit through which Liverpool’s attacking play will flow and the main supplier of chances for SAS from midfield. Unsurprisingly given the young Brazilian’s vision and ability, he completed more passes in the opponent’s half than any other Liverpool player in the last round, with 37 to his name.
Young defender Jon Flanagan has been earning plenty of plaudits this season for some increasingly assured performances. His stats back up this recognition, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index showing Flanagan as winning 38 of his 60 attempted challenges this term, the sixth highest total in the Liverpool squad.
Everton vs West Ham
Following an agonising injury time defeat to Chelsea in which the Toffees looked to be the sharper side despite losing star man Lacina Traore to an injury in the warm up, Everton will be hoping to take back the 6th spot from struggling Manchester United this weekend when they face West Ham.
Despite the loss of firepower following Traore’s unexpected absence, Roberto Martinez’s men still looked to be dangerous in attack. The closest they came before the break was when Leon Osman forced an impressive fingertip save from Cech with a powerful strike from 20-yards. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows he was Everton’s most accurate player in front of goal with 100% shot accuracy. Osman is 18/5 to score at anytime against the Hammers with 888sport.com
Leighton Baines was central to the sharpness shown by the Toffees, demonstrating his worth to both Martinez and Roy Hodgson as a playmaker. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Baines made 33 attacking contributions (Passes, dribbles, crosses and shots on target) and completed 31 passes in the opposition half; more than any other player on the pitch.
In defense, Everton looked to be comfortable with the threats posed by Hazard, Willian and Eto’o. Sylvain Distin and Gareth Barry both looked solid in their defense with an impressive 80% and 75% tackle win percentage respectively. In addition, The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that England international Phil Jagielka made 31 defensive contributions (Interceptions, Tackles won, Blocks and interceptions) for Everton, adding to his season total of 318 defensive contributions so far.
Following their fourth consecutive league victory after coming from behind to defeat Southampton, In-form West Ham will be looking forward to travelling to Goodison Park this weekend. The Hammers, who until their recent renaissance looked to be at the heart of the relegation battle, are now 10th in the league with 31 points.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that captain Kevin Nolan was the Hammers’ biggest attacking threat with a shot accuracy rating of 100%. Following a dangerous cross from Stuart Downing, The Skipper netted his fifth goal of the month with a volley in the 6-yard box. Nolan is 22/5 to score against Everton with 888sport.com
Playing a vital role in two of West Ham’s goals, Stuart Downing looked to be a constant menace to the Southampton defence, especially when crossing the ball. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index show that Downing made 20 attacking contributions (passes, dribbles, crosses and shots on target) and completed 18 passes in the opposition half; more than any of his teammates.
West Ham’s defence has received praise for its solidity from manager Sam Allardyce in recent weeks. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that central to the bedrock of the Hammer’s defence are James Collins and James Tomkins who have made 291 and 253 defensive contributions (tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances) this season respectively; making 9 each in their victory over Southampton
Stoke City vs Arsenal 15:00
Stoke City travelled to the Etihad last week with the hope of capitalising on Manchester City’s recent defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League. The visitors, defending deep, coped well with the considerable attacking power of Man City and were unlucky not to take the lead when Charlie Adam had a shot palmed wide by keeper Joe Hart. The Potters will be hoping to return to the form, which had seen them go 3 games unbeaten before their trip to the Etihad.
With 12 Attacking contributions (crosses, passes, shots on target and dribbles) The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Peter Crouch proved to be Stokes most dangerous player at the Etihad. Crouch completed 12 passes in the opposition half; more than any other Stoke player.
Marko Arnautovic played an integral role in containing City’s firepower upfront. With a tackle win percentage of 100%, equally important to the Potter’s stubborn defensive display was Ryan Shawcross. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made 12 defensive contributions during his sides defeat and has the highest number of defensive contributions at the club with 307.
Following his double strike which gave Stoke a rare win at Old Trafford, Charlie Adam will be hoping to build on his recent form and add to his current season which has seen him become Stoke’s top striker with a total of 6 goals. Charlie Adam is 5/1 to score at any time against the Gunners with 888sport.com
Arsenal will be hoping to put their disappointing defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League behind them this week as they welcome Stoke to The Emirates. The Gunners currently sit 1 point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and will be looking to continue the form they showed in their 4-1 rout of Sunderland last week.
Despite the defeat at the hands of European Champions Bayern Munich, Arsène Wenger will be buoyed by the form of Olivier Giroud; who netted twice against Sunderland and looked threatening throughout the fixture. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Giroud had a shot accuracy rating of 100%.
England international Jack Wilshere also demonstrated his worth, playing a vital part in both of Giroud’s goals. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made 72 attacking contributions (shots on target, dribbles, passes and crosses) and completed a staggering 70 passes in the opposition half.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that Mesut Özil can put his midweek penalty miss behind him this weekend and return to the form which has seen him become the Premier League’s leader in passes made in the opposition half and attacking contributions in which he has made 1074 and 1012 respectively. Özil is 3/1 to score at any time against the Potters with 888sport.com.
Sunday 2nd March
Swansea vs Crystal Palace 16:30
What looked like a potential rout eventually turned into a great fightback from Swansea as they pushed Liverpool all the way an Anfield but eventually went down 4-3 to the Reds thanks to Daniel Sturridges’ 74th minute goal.
Wilfried Bony has been a crucial addition to the Swansea squad this term, his power and technique up front causing problems for defences all season. He’s had an attempt on goal on average once every 25.5 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season. Bony is an industry best 16/11 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Midfielder Leon Britton was a crucial part of the Swans’ plan of attack in the middle of the park against Liverpool, making a number of crucial interventions. He completed the highest number of passes in the opponent’s half of any Swansea player with 22 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Although he has won the highest number of challenges of any Swansea player this season (63), Chico Flores will no doubt be looking to limit how often he is drawing himself to the attention of the officials for the remainder of the season. He has racked up more fouls than any other Swans player this term with 30.
No Swansea player has been as physically committed to the cause as Ashley Williams this term, the Welsh defender throwing himself into challenges with abandon. He’s compiled a squad-high 27 blocks this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Crystal Palace could not capitalise on a Manchester Utd side low on confidence as they fell to a 0-2 defeat at Selhurst Park last time out. Tony Pulis will be looking for an immediate reaction from his players this weekend though as they remain perched just above the relegation zone.
Marouane Chamakh was at fault for last weekend’s penalty but he has still had a solid season since arriving at Selhurst Park. So far he’s worked the ‘keeper with 60% of his 15 attempts on goal, a respectable total. Chamakh is 19/5 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Mile Jedinak has been perhaps the standout player of Palace’s first season back in the Premier League, the Australian midfielder clearly not struggling to compete amongst league’s elite. As if to underline his huge importance to Palace, he currently leads the Palace squad in attacking contributions with 429, and is second only to Damien Delaney for defensive contributions with 272 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Winger Yannick Bolasie has retained his willingness to take the game to the opposition this season. He ranks second behind only Jason Puncheon the Palace squad for total dribbles with 30 according to the EA SPORTS Player performance Index.
Puncheon himself has been a smart acquisition for Palace, providing extra impetus to their attacks this term. He is joint first amongst his teammates for crosses with 17, as well leading the Palace squad for assists with two.
Aston Villa vs Norwich 16:30
Paul Lambert faces his former club desperately looking to win to avoid the Villains being dragged into a relegation scrap.
Villa will have been disappointed to leave St James’ park with only a draw, after managing to keep Pardew’s men at bay for practically the whole game. Central to this rearguard effort was Spanish left back Leandro Bacuna, who demonstrated his excellent tackling ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he attempted 7 tackles last Sunday, and won every single one of them.
With all the talk of Roy Hodgson’s selection for the World Cup this year one name that hasn’t been mentioned is Villa defender Nathan Baker, who has made 20 appearances for Villa this season. A defender who can slot in at centre half or left back, he could make a useful squad player, particularly because of has excellent defensive ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made a total of 16 defensive contributions at the weekend (based on blocks, clearances, tackles won and interceptions) – the fifth most in the league.
Paul Lambert’s men have struggled at points this season, and this is in no small part down to their lack of goals. Villa have only managed to hit the back of the net 27 times this year, which should come as no shock when one considers that Marc Albrighton has the best record in the squad of minutes per shot, averaging a shot every 41 minutes. Albrighton is 23/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Sunday.
It must be promising for Villa fans that despite the influx of foreign players into the Premier League, they still have a solid British core, with Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Westwood all featuring on a regular basis for Lambert’s men. The latter, in particular, might feel slightly hard-done by that he hasn’t been considered for the England squad, particularly as he undoubtedly has excellent ability when it comes to stroking the ball around the park. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Westwood has completed an impressive 550 passes in the opposition half this season, at a rate of a pass every 3.8 minutes.
An outstanding victory over Champions League hopefuls Tottenham has relieved some of the pressure on Chris Hughton, with the back four producing an excellent defensive display to keep Tim Sherwood’s men at bay.
Robert Snodgrass scored the winner on Sunday, taking his goal tally for the season to 3. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he was a constant offensive threat for the Canaries against Spurs as he made a total of 26 attacking contributions, the most in the Norwich squad (based on shots on target, passes in the opposition half, crosses and dribbles).
Nathan Redmond’s 3 dribbles on Sunday took his overall total to 41 for the season, an impressive number for the talented youngster. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that this is the fifth most dribbles of any Englishman, and interestingly ahead of World Cup selection, the third most of England’s out and out wingers (behind only Townsend and Sterling). The two who are ahead of him are strong contenders for Brazil this year, but if Redmond continues this fine form he could be set to join them on the plane. You can find Redmond at 15/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the game on Sunday.
Jamie Redknapp claimed that Joseph Yobo could be one of the signings of the Transfer Window, as he arrived at Carrow Road from Turkish side Fenerbahce. The Nigerian has made an impressive start to life at Norwich, with his form earning him a recall to the national team squad, and he continued his impressive run against Spurs making a total of 15 defensive contributions (based on tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks).
Bradley Johnson registered his first assist of the season on Sunday, as he played the killer through ball from which Snodgrass scored the winner. The fact that it was Johnson’s first assist could be considered something of a surprise, particularly when one considers that Johnson has completed 409 passes in the opposition half this season.
Tottenham vs Cardiff 16:30
Spurs will be looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track this weekend as they host strugglers Cardiff, still seething after their disappointing home defeat to Hull.
Tottenham will have been disappointed to lose against Norwich in their last Premier League match, particularly after they boasted the lion’s share of possession throughout the game. Central to this effort was Nacer Chadli, who although hasn’t always been at his best in his time in North London, showcased his excellent array of passing. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he completed an impressive 27 passes in the opposition half at a rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes.
Mousa Dembele is another Spurs player who has every right to feel aggrieved by the result last weekend. He was a thorn in the Canaries side all game, making a total of 39 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, shots on target, dribbles and crosses) – more than any other Spurs player and the fifteenth most in the league. Dembele is an industry best 9/2 with 888sport.com to score at any point on Sunday.
French captain Hugo Lloris has established himself as the first name on the Spurs teamsheet over the past couple of years, with the shotstopper producing a number of barnstorming displays to keep opposing attackers at bay. Part of the reason for his success is his excellent sprint speed, which has enabled him to operate as a ‘sweeper keeper’ by rushing out to clear the ball and reach it before the opposition strikers. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Lloris has used this skill to great effect this term, as he has made 34 clearances – more than any other ‘keeper in the league.
Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker have been competing for the right back position since they were youngsters, with the duo both members of the Sheffield United youth setup prior to joining Spurs. Kyle W appears to have the edge over Kyle N, with the former featuring regularly for both Spurs and England over the last year, but interestingly it is the latter who has a better tackle success rate. So far this season Naughton has won 78% of the tackles he has attempted vis-à-vis Walker’s 66%.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that his side improve dramatically on their abject performance at home to Hull last weekend, and following Spurs’ disappointing result against Norwich, he might feel that the Bluebirds have a great chance to get at the North London side this weekend.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem has every right to feel particularly aggrieved with the result at the weekend, as he produced an excellent all-round offensive display. The former Manchester United youngster made a total of 52 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles, and shots on target), completing a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 1.8 minutes in the process.
Steven Caulker will have been disappointed by his defensive effort at the weekend, particularly as he has been such an impressive performer throughout the majority of the campaign. His tackling has been a particular highlight, as he has won 82% of the challenges that he has attempted this term.
If Cardiff are to survive this term, they will need holding midfielder Gary Medel to maintain his level of performance in shielding the back four. The Chilean was a notable absentee on Saturday, and it was clear to see that Cardiff missed his excellent marshaling ability. So far this season, he has shielded the defence to great effect, completing more tackles than any of his teammates (94), and also making 51 interceptions.
He may have only featured in 263 minutes this term, but in this short space of time, Wilfried Zaha has demonstrated his excellent ability to beat a man, completing 11 dribbles. This excellent skill to run with pace at defenders could prove critical in Cardiff’s fight to beat the drop. You can find Zaha at an industry best 8/1 to score at any time with 888sport.com.