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.
Southampton v Cardiff
Southampton will seize every opportunity when they entertain Cardiff this weekend. The Saints, who are currently 8th with 48 points, were convincingly beaten by title contenders Manchester City at the Etihad last weekend 4-1; their biggest away defeat of the season. Southampton fans will feel hard done by after the referee missed an obvious offside in the build up to a City goal before halftime. The days unfortunate score line was however overshadowed by Jay Rodriguez’s injury which will now force him to miss this years World Cup in Brazil. Saints fans will hope that the absence of Rodriguez, who has scored 17 times in 45 appearances for the Saints, too much this weekend.
In a disappointing day for the Saints, Ricky Lambert certainly gave the fans something to cheer about. The England international maintained his 100% penalty record for Southampton, netting his 31st spot kick for the Saints; briefly levelling the scoreboard. Lamberts impressive spot kick ability will certainly work in his favour when Hodgson announces the squad for Brazil. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Lambert has scored 11 times in 33 appearances and has a shot accuracy of 50%; finding the target 34 times. He is 11/10 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Morgan Schneiderlin created plenty of attacking opportunities for the Saints against City. The Frenchman completed 41 passes in the opposition half. The 24 year old has completed the most passes in the opposition half this season at Southampton with an impressive 793. Saints fans will be hoping that Schneiderlin can create plenty of attacking play to compensate for Rodriguez’s absence.
Despite giving away a penalty within 3 minutes, Jose Fonte played a vital role in Southampton’s defence. Fonte made 12 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks) including 8 clearances and 3 interceptions. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has won 62 out of a possible 82 tackles this season; giving him a tackle accuracy of 76%. He currently leads the way in defensive contributions this season for the Saints with 418.
Cardiff’s Premier League survival hangs in the balance this weekend when they travel to Southampton with the Bluebirds currently 19th with 26 points. Cardiff’s hopes of survival were severely damaged when they were convincingly beaten at home by Crystal Palace last weekend. Cardiff now have 5 games in which to prevent a return to the Championship after just 1 year in the top flight.
Jordon Mutch will hope he can give his side a much needed win whilst adding to his haul of 7 goals this season. The 22 year old is Cardiff’s top scorer with 7 goals in 30 Premier League appearances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has found the target 18 times out of a possible 35, giving him an accuracy of 51%.
Steve Caulker will be integral to Cardiff’s survival hopes this week. The defender has won 35 out of a possible 45 tackles this season, that’s a 78% accuracy rating. In addition to his defensive influence, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows he is also the 3rd highest scoring defender this season 5 goals. Bluebird fans will expect Caulker to provide a game changing influence at both ends of the field. He is 15/11 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Ben Turner will feel himself capable of dealing with the attacking threat of Lallana and Lambert. The Englishman made 12 defensive contributions (tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks) last week against Palace. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has made 369 defensive contributions this season.
Stoke v Newcastle
Stoke City will be confident ahead of their fixture with Newcastle this weekend despite their 3-0 loss to Chelsea last week. The Potters are currently on course for their best ever Premier League finish as they sit in 10th with 40 points. Mark Hughes’ men will be keen to exploit Newcastle’s recent poor form, which saw them lose 4-0 at home to Manchester United last weekend. A win for the Potters would see them go within 3 points of 9th place which is currently occupied by Newcastle.
Arguably Stoke’s best chance of the match was when N’zonzi’s through ball found Marko Arnautovic one on one with Czech; but the Austrian failed to control the ball. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has only scored 2 times this season in 25 appearances and has a shot accuracy of 25% with 9 shots on target but leads the way in assists, with 7 to his name.
The return of Charlie Adam as a substitute, following his ban, failed to spark a Stoke comeback. The Scot did make an impact however with Stoke’s only registered shot on target coming from his boot. Adam will play an integral role against Newcastle this weekend. He is 7/2 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Steven N’Zonzi will provide the creative foundation for the Potters in attack this week. N’zonzi set up Stoke’s best chance of the game and looked to be the foundation from which Stoke could launch an attack. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Frenchman completed 33 passes in the Chelsea half and has a completed an impressive 769 passes in the opposition half this season.
Newcastle will be hoping that they can put last weeks embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Manchester United behind them as they travel to Stoke this weekend. A United without first choice frontmen Rooney and Van Persie dominated the Magpies and thoroughly deserved the win which was Newcastle’s 10th top-flight defeat in 15 matches. Newcastle are currently 9th in the table with 46 points. Alan Pardew, who is still banned from the touchline, blamed Newcastle’s poor recent form on the absence of key players.
Alan Pardew has told the media that Newcastle star-man Loic Remy might be fit for Saturdays match with Stoke. Newcastle have missed the Frenchman’s prowess in front of goal recently. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has scored 13 goals in 23 appearances and has a shot accuracy of 51% with 31 out a possible 61 shots finding the target. He is 40/17 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Michael Williamson has been the go-to man for Newcastle this season in defence. The Englishman has won 45 out of a possible 57 tackles, that’s a win percentage of 79%. He also leads the way in defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances) this season with 321.
On the day, Papiss Demba Cissé came closest to scoring for Newcastle. The Senegalese international came close with a powerful early header which Manchester United keeper Anders Lindegaard tipped over the bar. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Cissé has found the target 22 times out of a possible 40 attempts in 22 appearances; that’s an accuracy of 55%.
WBA v Tottenham
West Brom’s victory over Norwich last weekend saw them move to 16th in the Premier League; equal on points with 17th place Norwich. The victory at Norwich was the Baggies’ 3rd away win of the season and just their 6th league win. West Brom have a tough run in to the end of the season with fixtures against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal. Pepe Mel’s men will want to seize every opportunity against Spurs this weekend if they are to guarantee Premier League survival.
Morgan Amalfitano opened the scoring for the Baggies after 15 minutes with a superb strike. The Frenchman has scored 4 times in 23 appearances placing him as the Baggies joint top scorer with Saido Berahino. Amalfitano has had 10 shots on target this season out of a possible 19; that’s a shot accuracy of 53%.
West Brom certainly looked the better side against Norwich, with their defence solid and Stephane Sessegnon and Matej Vydra threatening in attack. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Sessegnon provided the foundation for West Brom’s attacking moves, successfully completing 22 passes in the Norwich half. He has completed 430 passes in the opposition half this season and has 69 attacking contributions (shots on target, assists, dribbles and crosses) to his name. He is 15/4 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Jonas Olsson will be fundamental in West Brom’s attempts to stop the attacking threats of Adebayor and Eriksen. The Swedish defender has made an impressive 345 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks) of which 22 were made against Norwich last weekend.
Tottenham will be confident ahead of their trip to West Brom after their 5-1 demolition of Sunderland. Tim Sherwood’s men came from behind to convincingly beat the Black Cats who are rooted at the bottom of the table. Tottenham are currently in 6th place with 59 points and will want to take make every game count in their quest for European football next year.
Once again, Adebayor looked lethal in front of goal; bagging himself a brace in his sides 5-1 rout of struggling Sunderland. Adebayor has found impressive form under Spurs boss Sherwood with 10 goals in 16 Premier League appearances; making him Tottenham’s top scorer. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has had 19 shots on target this season out of a possible 28; that’s an accuracy of 68%. He is 6/4 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Christian Eriksen has frequently provided Tottenham with a creative spark this season. The Dane was integral to his sides fightback against the Black Cats, providing 9 attacking contributions (shots on target, assists, crosses and dribbles) including 2 assists. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has made 65 attacking contributions this season and has provided an impressive 7 assists.
Younes Kaboul looked impressive in defence last week. Winning 100% of the 3 tackles he made, Kaboul also made 13 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, blocks and interceptions); more than any of his teammates. Fans will hope that he is similarly impressive in defence against the Baggies.
Swansea v Chelsea
Swansea will be eager to put last weeks 1-0 defeat at the hands of Hull City behind them this weekend when they face title contenders Chelsea. The Swans are currently in 15th place with 33 points and will be desperate to put distance between themselves and the drop zone. Gary Monk will want his team to start the game how they played in the second half against Hull and capitalise on Chelsea star Eden Hazard’s absence.
Wayne Routledge registered his sides only shot on target last weekend in their frustrating loss to Hull. In addition to his shot on target, Routledge made 6 attacking contributions (Shots on target, dribbling, crosses and assists). The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has 2 goals to his name this season with 11 out of a possible 17 shots on target. He is 11/4 to score at anytime with 888sport.com
Swansea fans will be hoping that top scorer Wilfred Bony has a better game this week when his side take on Chelsea. Bony has impressed this season with 12 goals in 29 Premier League appearances so far this season.
Even without the threat of Eden Hazard, Swansea will have their work cut out in defence. Gary Monk will be confident however that Ashley Williams can contain Chelsea’s firepower. Williams has won an impressive 80% of his 60 tackles made in the Premier League this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also shows that he has made 410 defensive contributions (tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances); more than any other Swansea player.
Chelsea will be full of confidence following their 2-0 defeat of PSG in the Champions League quarterfinals. The Blues also kept their hopes of the Premier League title alive at the weekend when they dominated Stoke City at home to win 3-0. Chelsea fans and manager alike will be hoping that the absence of the incredibly influential Hazard will not limit the Blues attacking creativity.
Chelsea fans will be hoping that Mohamed Salah puts in another impressive performance this week against Swansea. Salah made 5 attacking contributions (shots on target, dribbles, assists and crosses) last week against Stoke as well as scoring his second goal in Chelsea colours.
Willian curled in a powerful shot to seal the game for Chelsea with little over 15 minutes left on the clock last weekend. The Brazilian has now scored 3 times for Chelsea in 21 Premier League appearances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has had 13 shots on target this season out of a possible 25; that’s an accuracy of 52%. He is 37/10 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
With John Terry looking doubtful for this weekends fixture with Swansea, defensive duties will rest of the capable shoulders of Gary Cahill. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has made 267 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks) and has won 82% of his 38 tackles made this season.
Fulham vs Norwich
Hugo Rodallega’s late header kept alive Fulham’s slim hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation last weekend when they beat Aston Villa 2-1. Fulham are currently 18th in the Premier League with 27 points; 5 points behind 17th placed Norwich.
Lewish Holtby provided the foundations for Fulham’s creative attacking play last weekend. Holtby made 11 attacking contributions (shots on target, assists, dribbles and clearances) bringing his season total to 49.
Steve Sidwell has scored 6 goals this season making him Fulham’s top scorer. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has had 12 shots on target from a possible 30 in 33 appearances; that’s an accuracy of 40%. He is 19/4 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Brede Hangeland will be crucial to Fulham’s defensive play this weekend. Hangeland was instrumental last weekend against Villa with 24 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks); bringing his season total to 210.
Norwich travel to Fulham this weekend in search of their first win without former manager Chris Hughton. Norwich are currently 17th in the Premier League with 32 points; 5 points clear of Fulham. Norwich can go 13th if they win and other results go their way.
Robert Snodgrass will play a vital role in Norwich’s campaign to stay in top flight football. The Scot made 4 attacking contributions (shots on target, assists, dribbles and crosses) last weekend and is currently the Canaries’ top scorer with 5 to his name. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has a shot accuracy of 48% this season. He is 7/2 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Nathan Redmond has also showed attacking promise this season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the 20 year old has made the most attacking contributions this season with 117. In addition, Redmond has completed 345 passes in the opposition half this season.
Sebastien Bassong will be called upon to contain Fulham’s attacking threats this weekend as the Londoners attempt to pile the pressure on 17th placed Norwich. Bassong has won 29 out of a possible 38 tackles this season and has made 288 defensive contributions (tackles won, clearances, blocks and interceptions).
Sunderland vs Everton
Sunderland are currently at the bottom of the Premier League with just 25 points. With 2 games in hand on both Fulham and Cardiff however, a win against Everton could still see the Black Cats escape the drop.
Sunderland star man Adam Johnson will be expected to ignite his sides campaign to escape the drop zone. Johnson is the Black Cat’s top scorer with 8 goals in 29 Premier League appearances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has had 14 out of a possible 33 shots on target. He has also made 98 attacking contributions (shots on target, crosses, assists and dribbles); the highest at the club. He is 9/2 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
John O’Shea will be expected to use his experience to sure up the Sunderland defence following their embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Spurs. The 32 year-old has made 228 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances) this season.
Marco Alonso won 100% of the 4 tackles he made last week against Spurs. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Spaniard also made 12 defensive contributions more than any of his team mates. Alonso, will be have his work cut out against the likes of Everton’s Lukaku this weekend.
With a game in hand against 4th placed Arsenal and only 1 point behind them in 5th place, Everton will be looking to take the dream of Champions League football one step closer to reality this weekend when they take on struggling Sunderland. The Toffees will be full of confidence following their convincing victory over the Gunners.
Romelu Lukaku once again featured on the score sheet for Everton as he took his season total to 13; the highest at the club. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has had 37 out of a possible 58 shots on target this season; that’s an accuracy of 64%.
Ross Barkley will feel that he is giving Roy Hodgson something to think about as he considers the squad selection for England’s trip to Brazil this summer. Barkley had 2 shots on target against Arsenal as well as completing 27 passes in the Gunners’ half. He is 11/4 to score at anytime with 888sport.com.
Sylvain Distin will be charged with keeping Adam Johnson under control when Everton travel to Sunderland this weekend. Distin leads the way at Everton this season in defence with 357 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances).
Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa 15:07
Crystal Palace’s last outing in the league saw them win in emphatic fashion with a 0-3 victory away to Cardiff thanks to a brace from Jason Puncheon and a Joe Ledley strike.
In Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward, Crystal Palace have two of the most dominant defensive forces in the league this season. The pair have won a superb combined total 204 tackles this term and rank 3rd and 4th respectively on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (Jedinak – 104; Ward – 100).
In addition it’s worth noting that Jedinak has been exceptional for the Eagles all over the park this season, leading by example during what has been an up and down campaign. He leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions with 115 and is the only player in the league to have moved into triple figures for both this category and clearances with 113.
Jason Puncheon’s brace last weekend took his goal-tally for this season to five, and he will likely once again be one of Palace’s main attacking threats against Villa. He now sits on a squad-high 47 shots on goal, 53% of which have been on target. Puncheon is 3/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
A late goal from Fulham saw Aston Villa go down 1-2 despite Grant Holt’s second-half goal. The result leaves Villa not quite out of trouble and Paul Lambert will be keen to see his side pick up a vital three points against a side level with them in the table.
The loss of Christian Benteke to a ruptured Achilles means that even more of the goal-scoring burden will fall on the pairing of Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Between them they have combined for 69 attempts on goal and six goals and Paul Lambert will no doubt be looking for a way for them to combine effectively for the remainder of the season. Weimann is 15/4 whilst Agbonlahor is 7/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
The all-round play of Fabian Delph has been one of the major pluses for Villa this season, the dynamic midfielder being effective both with and without the ball. He’s racked up an impressive 630 completed passes in the opponent’s half to complement his 186 defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Captain Ron Vlaar has continued to post some excellent statistics this season. The imposing centre-half is currently the only player in the league with a tackle success rate of 81% or higher, after more than 55 attempted tackles, to have committed fewer then 10 fouls (9).
Liverpool vs Manchester City 13:37
Two coolly dispatched penalties from captain Steven Gerrard maintained Liverpool’s title challenge as they beat West Ham 1-2 in spite of an solid performance from the Hammers.
Phillippe Coutinho may be renowned for his sublime skill with the ball at his feet but Brendan Rodgers has also instilled an excellent work ethic and team mindset to complement his talent. He is one of only four Liverpool players, along with Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva to have moved into triple figures for tackles attempted, with Coutinho currently having an excellent 107 to his name.
Although the Reds have been prone to the odd defensive error this season, Martin Skrtel’s overall form has been outstanding. Not only has he chipped in with six goals, the Slovakian also leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 355, as well as winning 78% of his 51 attempted tackles.
Of all the exceptional qualities that define Luis Suarez, perhaps first among them is his work ethic. He is constantly on the move, making it incredibly difficult for defenders to track him and easier for the Uruguayan to fashion the mismatch duels on which he thrives. Such has been his success this season that not only does he lead the league for total shots on goal with 134, he is the only player to have moved into triple figures in this regard, as well as being the only player to have moved past the 20-barrier for assists given. Suarez is 13/10 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Should Liverpool win the Premier League title this season, the one man who will have deserved such a victory the most will clearly be their captain Steven Gerrard. He remains the heartbeat of this Reds side, racking up 808 completed passes in the opponent’s half, as well as being the only Liverpool player aside from Suarez to have moved into double figures for dribbles, crosses, and assists (13, 16, 10).
Manchester City also maintained their momentum as they look to reclaim the Premier League title, comprehensively beating Southampton 4-1 at the Etihad last time out. Yaya Toure was on target from the penalty spot, and he was supported by three different goalscorers in Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic showing just how much threat City possess across all areas of the pitch.
Fernandinho has been exceptional in his first season at the Etihad but he will face perhaps the sternest test of his City career this weekend. It will likely be the Brazilian who is tasked with breaking up Liverpool’s rhythm and preventing the quick supply of ball from the likes of Coutinho and Sterling through to SAS. His stats certainly suggest that he is up to the challenge though, compiling more defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) than any other City player this season with 181.
His midfield partner Yaya Toure has been equally brilliant this campaign, consistently driving City forward and stepping up at crucial moments. He leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 1,157 at an average rate of one every 2.25 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
This Liverpool side are blessed with extreme pace but Man City are certainly not short in that department either. In Jesus Navas they have one of the quickest players in the league and you can be sure he will be looking to test out Liverpool’s fullbacks should he feature this weekend. He’s compiled an impressive 25 dribbles this term, as well as squad-leading 22 crosses so expect plenty of work for the Liverpool defence this weekend. Navas is an industry best 13/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
At the other end of the pitch, City captain Vincent Kompany has been another consistent performer for Manuel Pellegrini this term and the rock upon which much of their success has been built. The Belgian captain has won an excellent 78% of his 59 attempted tackles this season, as well as a squad-leading 11 blocks.