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 29th March
Manchester United vs Aston Villa 12:45
Manchester United will feel they have a point to prove this weekend against Aston Villa after suffering their 6th home league defeat of the season to bitter rivals Manchester City on Tuesday evening. The Reds went down 1-0 within the first minute after Edin Džeko struck from close range before bagging a second early in the second half. Yaya Toure sealed the impressive win with the third as the match came to a close.
Despite the poor result, United will take some comfort in the effort and work rate of Wayne Rooney. Once again the England international was everywhere, making his presence felt at both ends of the pitch. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Rooney made 29 attacking contributions (shots on target, passes, dribbles and crosses) and had 100% shot accuracy, whilst in defense he made five interceptions. Rooney is 11/13 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Michael Carrick was once again an integral part of the Reds’ midfield. Carrick won 80% of his tackles whilst making 42 attacking contributions, more than any other Manchester United player on the night.
Phil Jones led the way in defense for United with 14 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, blocks and interceptions) but could do little to stop Manchester City’s attacking threat. United skipper Patrice Evra has made 242 defensive contributions so far this season and United Fans will be looking to the Frenchman to contain Villa’s attacking threats.
Aston Villa will have no doubts about their ability to create an upset at Old Trafford this weekend despite their disappointing 4-0 loss at home to Stoke. Lambert’s men started brightly with Benteke scoring early in the first half but down 3-1 by half time.
Christian Beneteke scored his 6th goal in 10 league games against Stoke last weekend after just five minutes. The Belgian has been an impressive presence for Villa and is the side’s top scorer. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Benteke has scored 10 goals so far this season and has a shot accuracy rating of 55%.
Fabian Delph was once again integral to Villa’s attack last time out. The Englishman played a vital role in Beneteke’s opener with a well weighted pass which cut back to find the Belgian front man. Villa fans will be hoping that the Englishman shows similar creativity against United this weekend. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Delph has made 665 attacking contributions (shots on target, passes, dribbles and crosses) so far this season, the most at the club. Delph is 14/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Lambert will be relying on Ciaran Clark to firm up Villa’s defense following their heavy defeat at home to Stoke. Clark has won an excellent 83% of tackles this season and has made 25 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances), the 2nd highest at the club.
Southampton vs Newcastle 15:00
Southampton will be looking forward to entertaining Newcastle this weekend following the Magpies’ mid week defeat, which saw them lose 3-0 to Everton. A win would see Pochettino’s men move into 8th place, moving 2 points clear of Newcastle. The Saints will also be hoping to put last week’s heartbreaking defeat to Tottenham behind them. Southampton started well, dominating the first half and were 2-0 after 29 minutes with England hopefuls Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana both finding the net. The second half however saw Spurs take control and seize all three points in the dying minutes.
Adam Lallana will have no doubt impressed England manager Roy Hodgson who watched from the stands. The England hopeful played an integral role in Southampton’s creativity and provided plenty of attacking impetus. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Lallana made 26 attacking contributions (shots on target, dribbles, crosses and passes) last weekend and had a shot accuracy rating of 75%. Lallana is an industry best 5/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Jay Rodriguez displayed his merciless attacking mentality, which has attracted the attention of England manager and fans alike, capitalising on Naughton’s defensive error to put the Saints ahead after just 18 minutes. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Rodriguez is the Saints’ leading scorer this season with 13 and he has a shot accuracy rating of 42%.
Jose Fonte has proved to be a bedrock in defense for the Saints this season. The Portuguese defender made 21 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, blocks and interceptions) last week against Spurs and has a total of 402 so far this season, the highest at the club. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Fonte has won 77% of his tackles so far this season.
Newcastle travel to Southampton this weekend in need of an impressive performance following their heavy defeat at home to Everton midweek. The Magpies will still be without the sideline presence of manager Alan Pardew who will watch from the stands having served his final stadium ban. Newcastle are currently one point above Southampton in 8th place.
Cheick Tioté came closest to scoring for Newcastle and featured heavily in their attempts at rallying their efforts. Magpie fans will look to Tioté this week to inspire an attacking mentality against the Saints. The Ivory Coast international has made 614 attacking contributions (shots on target, dribbles, crosses and passes) this season so far, the highest at the club.
Papiss Cissé has made his presence felt at both ends of the field this year for Newcastle. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Senegalese international has won an impressive 94% of his tackles so far this season and has a 53% shot accuracy rating in front of goals. Cisse is 13/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Defensive duties will rest on the shoulders of Michael Williamson this weekend against Southampton following his side’s heavy defeat at home to Everton. Williamson will feel confident that he can cope with the attacking threats of Lambert, Lallana and Rodriguez though as he has won 80% of his tackles this season and has made 307 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances).
Swansea vs Norwich 15:00
Swansea started strongly against Arsenal on Tuesday night with Wilfred Bony putting the visitors ahead after 11 minutes. Arsenal however staged an impressive comeback with two goals inside of 66 seconds. The Swans were rewarded for their efforts however when Arsenal defender Mathieu Flamini turned the ball into his own net to give the visitors a point.
Wilfred Bony scored his 12th goal of the season on Tuesday putting the Swans 1-0 up against Arsenal after just 11 minutes. Bony is currently Swansea’s top scorer this season and has a shot accuracy rating of 44%. Bony is 6/5 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Swans fans will look to Jonathan De Guzman to inspire their team in attack this weekend against struggling Norwich. The Dutchman made 23 attacking contributions (shots on target, crosses, passes and dribbles) against Arsenal midweek and may well have given Gary Monk’s men more to cheer about had the final whistle not been blown.
Ashley Williams was crucial to Swansea’s defensive performance against the Gunners on Tuesday. The Welshman won 100% of his tackles and made 20 clearances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Williams made a total of 29 defensive contributions during the match; bringing his season total to 366.
Norwich took a positive step towards Premier League survival last week as they comfortably breezed past Sunderland 2-0. The Canaries are now 13th in the table, 7 points clear of relegation and just 3 points behind 10th placed Aston Villa. As a result Chris Hughton’s men will be full of confidence ahead of their clash with Swansea this weekend.
Robert Snodgrass has continued to provide creativity in attack this season for the Canaries. The Scotsman made 31 attacking contributions (shots on target, passes, crosses and dribbles) against Sunderland, adding to his season total of 547, which is the highest at the club this season. Cannaries’ fans will be expecting to see a repeat performance from the former Leeds United player. Snodgrass is 9/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Alexander Tettey scored a spectacular goal from 30 yards to seal the win following Snodgrass’s opener after 20 minutes. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Norwegian had a shot accuracy rating of 100% and that he made 16 attacking contributions in addition to his goal.
Sebastian Bassong will be expected to set an example in defence this week against Swansea. The Norwich defender has made an impressive 275 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, clearances and interceptions) this season, and won 76% of his challenges.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea 15:00
Crystal Palace fell to a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park last time out thanks to a late Papiss Cisse header. The Eagles remain perched just above the relegation zone and face a tough test against the Blues to take anything away from this weekend.
Mile Jedinak has happily taken on the role of Palace’s midfielder enforcer this season. He would do well to mind his technique against a talent Chelsea midfield this weekend though given that he ranks first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls conceded with 55. The Blue possess the players to hurt Palace so their captain will have to be on his guard.
Although more noted for his ability with the ball at his feet, nonetheless Yannick Bolasie has been impressive when attempting to reclaim possession of the ball for his side. He so far has the best tackle success rate of any Palace player, winning 81% of his 42 attempted challenges this term.
Jason Puncheon remains one of the main driving attacking forces behind this Palace team, carving out chances with solid regularity. No Palace player has had more attempted shots on goal than Puncheon with 38. Puncheon is 7/1 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
A superb all-round performance from Chelsea saw them demolish Arsenal 6-0 at Stamford Bridge last weekend in what was a clear statement of intent as we approach the business end of the season.
Chelsea’s young Belgian winger Eden Hazard has been in rare form this season, developing into perhaps the most important attacking weapon at Jose Mourinho’s disposal at Stamford Bridge. He leads the league for dribbles this campaign with 116 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Imposing centre-half Branislav Ivanovic is always an intimidating proposition for any frontman but the Serbian doesn’t just rely on his physical presence to get the job done, his defensive technique is often outstanding as well. He currently has the best tackle success rate of any Chelsea player to have attempted more than five tackles, winning 80% of his 70 challenges this term.
Key to negating the destructive impact of the likes of Mile Jedinak this weekend for Chelsea could be the movement and interplay of their explosive front three, none more so than the dynamic Willian. He has reveled in the extra pressure placed on him by Jose Mourinho, utilising his athleticism and technique to great effect. Currently only Eden Hazard has a better minutes per pass ratio than Willian, the Brazilian racking up, on average, a pass in the opponent’s half every 2.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch this term. Willian is 56/19 to get himself on the scoresheet this weekend with 888sport.com.
Stoke vs Hull 15:00
Stoke rallied from behind to eventually run out 1-4 winners at Villa Park last time out. Mark Hughes’ side displayed some impressive attacking instincts on their way to a resounding win and he will be hoping they can replicate this type of form this weekend.
Erik Pieters has been one of Stoke’s standout defensive performers this season, racking up some impressive statistics to prove it. He leads the league for tackles attempted with 104, and remains one of only two players along with Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin to have moved into triple figures in this category according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Marko Arnautovic was once again pulling the strings for Stoke against Villa, his ability with the ball giving the Potters an extra dimension this season. It is unsurprising to see therefore that he leads the Stoke squad for assists this campaign with seven. Arnautovic is 18/5 with 888sport.com to turn scorer this weekend and get himself on the scoresheet.
Steven N’Zonzi turned in another classy display against Villa, the imposing midfielder possessing the guile to go along with his physical strength. He is the primary route through which so many of Stoke’s attack’s are launched, as we can see by the 704 completed passes in the opponent’s half he has to his name, a full 270 ahead of his nearest colleague in Geoff Cameron.
An unlucky own goal from James Chester denied Hull a point in midweek as they eventually fell 2-1 to West Ham after Nikica Jelavic’s second half equaliser.
Chester will hopefully not be too hard on himself when he reviews his own goal this week, having been in fine form for so much of the season. He has one of the best tackles success rates in the Hull squad according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, winning an excellent 72.6% of his 51 challenges to date.
Ahmed Elmohamady could have a key role to play against Stoke this weekend, his appetite for work a strong asset against what will no doubt be a typically physical Stoke defence. The Egyptian leads the Hull squad for dribbles this season with 36 and is their second highest rated player for average minutes per pass, his rate of one every 4.1 minutes second only to Tom Huddlestone. Elmohamady is an industry best 23/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
It may well fall to Curtis Davies to tackle an in-form Peter Crouch this weekend, but Davies’ defensive statistics show that he should be more than up to the task of shutting down the big man. He leads the Hull squad for defensive contributions (blocks, clearance, interceptions, tackles won) this term with 424, as well as having one of the best tackle success rates of any Hull player, winning 78% of his 77 attempted challenges.
West Bromwich Albion vs Cardiff 15:00
West Brom remain just above the relegation zone as they lost 2-0 to Hull at the KC Stadium last time out. They face a Cardiff side very dangerous on their day but Pepe Mel will be pushing to claim some vital points at the Hawthorns.
Midfielder Claudio Jacob has been a crucial part of the Baggies’ defensive structure this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Yacob has racked up the second highest total number of tackles attempted in the league with 144.
Youssuf Mulumbu will be keen to test out the Cardiff back four after seeing Liverpool be so effective last weekend. He is not short of confidence to take on defences either, leading the Baggies squad as he does for dribbles with 36 this season. Mulumbu is 6/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Cardiff do possess the quality to hurt teams on their day though, so Jonas Olsson will have to be on guard at the back. He has been a defensive rock for the Baggies for much of this season though as shown by the fact that he currently leads the squad for total defensive contributions with 323 (blocks, interceptions, clearances, tackles won).
Despite managing to rack up three goals, Cardiff could not contain a rampant Liverpool as they fell to a 3-6 defeat. Jordon Mutch grabbed a brace, with Frazier Campbell also back on the scoresheet and these two could well be vital this weekend.
Jordon Mutch will no doubt have been desperately disappointed that despite scoring twice against Liverpool, his side were still unable to go on and claim victory. It is unlikely this has dented his confidence though and he will be looking to add to his six goals and 33 shots on goal this season, the latter category in which he now sits only behind frontman Campbell (38). Mutch is 11/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Much as he has been for the majority of the season, expect Gary Medel to play a key role in the heart of the Cardiff midfield this season. Following the last round of fixtures, he remains the only Cardiff player to have moved into triple figures for both tackles attempted (108) and total defensive contributions (185)(blocks, tackles won, interceptions, clearances).
Craig Bellamy may not start in every game but he has lost none of his touch and ability when he does enter the fray and his experience is a great asset to Cardiff. He still knows how to take the right options, as we can see by the fact that he has the best average rate for passes completed in the opponent’s half of any Cardiff player. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has completed a pass on average once every 4.1 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.
Arsenal vs Manchester City 17:30
Arsenal could not fully bounce back from their heavy defeat at Stamford Bridge as they drew 2-2 with Swansea on Tuesday night. Two quick-fire goals from the Gunners after falling behind were not quite enough as a Mathieu Flamini own goal resigned Arsenal to a point.
Kieran Gibbs turned in yet another excellent display against Swansea, showcasing both his ability at the back and also to cause plenty of problems when he advances higher up the pitch. He is truly a modern fullback given the attacking impetus he brings to the game, as shown by the fact that the only Bacary Sagna can top his total of 441 completed passes in the opponent’s half according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index amongst fellow Gunner defenders.
Keeping with defenders, the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny has been of vital importance to Arsenal this season, providing a stable and continuous pairing of world class centre halves. Between them they have contributed an incredible 643 defensive contributions this season (blocks, interceptions, clearances, tackles won).
Santi Cazorla has been another valuable asset at Arsene Wenger’s disposal this season, the Spanish technician filling a variety of roles in differing formations this term. He has been as effective as ever though, with only Olivier Giroud ahead of him in the Arsenal squad for attacking contributions (assists, dribbles, crosses, shots on goal) this season, Cazorla registering 85 to the Frenchman’s 96. Cazorla is an industry best 4/1 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
A classy Manchester City display saw them ease to a 0-3 over fierce rivals Manchester Utd at Old Trafford. As if to emphasise the strength in depth they currently possess, Edin Dzeko grabbed a brace, with Yaya Toure rounding off the win.
Toure has once again been imperious for City this term, the big Ivorian being a key figure in both attack and defence for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s compiled a league-leading 1,107 passes in the opponent’s half.
David Silva was hailed in the wake of City’s win over Utd after a sublime performance filled with his usual excellent passing and technique. It’s unsurprising therefore to see that he still leads the City squad for assists with 10, and has clocked up a pass in the opponent’s half on average an incredible one every 1.8 minutes this season.
Such have been the exploits of the likes of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo this season, Edin Dzeko has been overlooked but the striker always has the ability to change matches on his day as was once again the case against Utd. He now leads the City squad for total attempts on goal with 60, a stat which shows his ability to create chances in and around the box when given the opportunity. Dzeko is 6/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Sunday 30th March
Fulham vs Everton 13:30
Fulham were the latest team to fall to a heavy defeat at the hands of Manchester City as they endured a tough afternoon at the Etihad. Yaya Toure was once again the star man with a hat trick, a thumping win finished off by goals from Fernandinho and Martin Demichelis.
Midfielder Scott Parker has brought a great attitude and dynamism to this Fulham side following his arrival from Tottenham. Characters with fight and grit are always of enormous value to any side and Parker has repeatedly put his body on the line for the cause, leading the squad for blocks as he does with 21 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Goals are vital for this Fulham side as the final few games of the season approach and in Darren Bent they have a proven poacher. When given his chance Bent has been in solid form since arriving at Craven Cottage, racking up a 62.5% shot accuracy rate from 16 attempts on goal. Bent is 27/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Steve Sidwell is never shy of a tackle and he will face on of the league’s best young midfielders in Ross Barkley this weekend. Sidwell will no doubt be up for the challenge though, given that he remains the only Fulham player to have moved into triple figures for tackles attempted with 139, winning a solid 67% of them.
A Barkley-inspired Everton turned in a fine performance at St James’ Park on Tuesday, securing a comfortable 0-3 win. Barkley was back to his dazzling best, epitomised by his spectacular opener, one which will have done his England chances for this summer no harm at all.
Barkley has been fearless in his attempts to drive Everton forward this term, something that will have no doubt delighted his manager. He is always asking for possession and confident in his ability use it well as showcased by the fact that he is youngest player in the league to have surpassed 500 passes in the opponents half with 588 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Unleashing another one of Everton’s youngsters in Romelu Lukaku could be key to Everton’s game plan this weekend, the Belgian striker showing himself to be too much to handle for many Premier League defences this season. He leads the Everton squad for attempts on goal with 53 this term, working the ‘keeper with an admirable 62.3% of them. Lukaku is 11/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
At the other end of the pitch Leighton Baines continues to turn in some exemplary statistics as he looks to cement his place in England’s starting XI ahead of the summer. He’s won a superb 87.5% of his 88 attempted challenges this season, the best total in the squad for any player to have surpassed 35 attempted tackles.
Liverpool vs Tottenham 16:00
Liverpool returned to second in the league as their title challenge continued apace, thanks to an edgy 2-1 victory over Sunderland after goals from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
No discussion around Liverpool’s fortunes this season can be separated from the incredible form of Luis Suarez. The Reds’ new talisman has spearheaded their attack in every sense this campaign and he has the statistics to show for his handiwork. He leads the league for total shots attempted according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 124, racking up an attempt on goal on average once every 18.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
The likes of Raheem Sterling can only have benefited from training and playing alongside a player of Suarez’s quality, something reflected in his own stellar form this season. Indeed, he ranks behind only Suarez for dribbles this term, with 62 to the Uruguayan’s 75. Sterling is 13/5 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Under Brendan Rodgers this Liverpool squad appear to have the work to match their flair, a vital attribute in any side who wishes to challenge for a Premier League title. They now have four midfield players who have broken through the 100-barrier for tackles attempted (Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson and Leiva), a sign of the desire and commitment instilled into this team.
Tottenham showed great resilience to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit to eventually come out on top in a fine 3-2 win over Southampton at White Hart Lane last weekend. Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed the winner but it was Christian Eriksen who inspired the hosts to victory, and, Tim Sherwood will be hoping, the start of a renewed push for a top four finish.
Eriksen is a player of wonderful ability and he appears to have found his feet at White Hart Lane is recent weeks, showcasing some of the form which brought him from Ajax with increasing consistency. He now has the best shot accuracy rate of any Tottenham player, working the ‘keeper with 72% of his 25 attempts this season, and no doubt Spurs fans will be looking to him to maintain their push for the top four as the season comes to it’s conclusion.
Emmanuel Adebayor is another who has appeared refreshed under Tim Sherwood, the Togolese striker once again proving he is a handful for any defence on his day. He now has 44 attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) to his name, a total many will be expecting him to add to dramatically in the final few games of the season. Adebayor is 7/3 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Stopping the flow of possession to Liverpool’s dangerous attacking line at it’s source could be an important factor in Tottenham’s gameplan this weekend, a task that may well fall to Moussa Dembele. He has the defensive ability to back up his attacking instincts though, winning a highly impressive 91.2% of his 68 attempted challenges this season.
Monday 31st March
Sunderland vs West Ham 20:00
Sunderland gave Liverpool an almighty scare at Anfield on Wednesday night as they pushed them all the way but couldn’t quite find the necessary finishing touch, eventually going down 2-1.
Stopping the impact of Andy Carroll will no doubt be at the forefront of Gus Poyet’s mind this weekend, the big striker able to cause problems for defences who allow him to dominate proceedings in the air. Jack Colback could well be the man assigned to negating his impact but he has proven himself more than up to the challenge of being a defensive leader for the Black Cats this term. He is one of only three Sunderland players (Bardsley, Brown) to have moved into triple figures for total defensive contributions (block, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) this season with 110.
Adam Johnson remains Sunderland’s most effective attacking outlet this season and he’ll most likely be their go-to man when they look to test out the Hammers’ defence this weekend. He leads the Sunderland squad for total attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) with 92 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Ki Sung-Yueng has been one of the key fulcrums of this Sunderland side this season, as seen by some of his solid passing statistics. He’s completed 552 passes in the opponent’s half this term, a squad best.
West Ham secured what could be another vital three points to move them nine points clear of the relegation zone as they beat Hull 2-1 thanks to a Kevin Nolan penalty and a disastrous own goal from the visitors.
Andy Carroll undoubtedly brings something unique to any side, providing a huge challenge for any defender to rein in. Despite injury ruling him out for a large part of the season, he is nonetheless one of Sam Allardyce’s primary weapons, as evidenced by the fact that on average he’s had an attempt on goal once every 29 minutes he’s been on the pitch for the Hammers, a squad high.
Midfielder Mohamed Diame has proved to be a vital piece of the puzzle at both ends of the pitch for West Ham this season, leading the squad for both attempts on goal (38) and overall tackle success for players to have attempted more than 50 challenges (80.5% from 77 challenges) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Expect Mark Noble to once again provide the platform from which so many of West Ham’s attacks will be launched this weekend. He continues to lead the Hammers’ squad for passes completed in the opponent’s half with a highly impressive 750 to his name to date.