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.
Chelsea vs Leicester
After clinching a late point against Everton upon their return to the Premier League, Leicester travel to Stamford Bridge to face Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, who got off to a great start away at Burnley. Saturday’s game will likely prove difficult for Nigel Pearson’s boys, however the manager will certainly be encouraged by the resilience his side showed last week. On the other hand, Mourinho will be hoping new signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fábregas can take their scintillating debut performances in to the next game.
Fábregas’ first game upon his return to the Premier League was one to remember. The Spaniard was at the centre of everything Chelsea did; making 41 passes in the opposition half – more than any of his teammates, according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The 27 year old’s passing ability caused Burnley all kinds of problems, assisting two goals, and Leicester will have to be weary of the man Mourinho described as a ‘maestro’.
After the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index showed Hazard to be the Premier League’s top dribbler last season, he has started the season in similar fashion, completing eight dribbles versus Burnley – three more than anyone else in the league. Last year’s PFA Young Player of the Year is 17/4 with 888sport to be first goalscorer, and the Belgian winger is likely to be Chelsea’s biggest threat this Saturday.
On the opposite wing, Andre Schürrle managed to record the most sprints out of any player in the league – totaling 66 sprints in the 78 minutes he played, and paired with Hazard this makes Chelsea a real danger down the flanks when they face Leicester this Saturday.
The unsung hero who allows for these attacking players to bomb on and score goals is the Serbian central midfielder, Nemanja Matić. Last weekend’s game saw Matić cover 13.029km, the second highest distance in the Premier League according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. His work rate will be needed to combat this hard working Leicester side.
Wes Morgan is the man responsible for trying to prevent Chelsea’s attacking threat, and he is likely to be a busy man. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that in the opening game of the Premier League, Morgan managed 12 clearances – the highest of his Leicester team, and 8th highest in the entire division. With the attacking talent he is up against, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Leicester skipper exceed that total at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Midfield playmaker Andy King will be trying to pull strings towards the other end of the pitch. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, King completed 97.8% of his passes against Everton, and this accuracy will need to be replicated for Leicester to stand any change of winning at Stamford Bridge.
Riyad Mahrez will pose a serious attacking threat on the wing, having completed the most crosses (3) and passes in the opposition half (20) for Leicester in the first game as per the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The Algeria international is 21/2 to score at any time with 888sport.
Tottenham vs QPR
The second week of the Premier League brings yet another London derby for Spurs as they face old manager Harry Redknapp’s QPR at White Hart Lane. Whilst Spurs got off to a winning start to the season courtesy of a late Eric Dier goal, QPR fell to defeat at the hands of Hull City and Redknapp will be keen to bounce back upon his return to his former employers.
Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb, a regular under Tim Sherwood, saw his place in central midfield remain under new manager Mauricio Pochettino in the opening game of the Premier League. He repaid his manager’s faith by putting in a solid performance, completing the most passes in the opposition half out of any player on the pitch, with 37, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Pochettino will be hoping that the Algerian can take this into the weekend’s game and continue his positive form.
One of Tottenham’s best pieces of business in the summer is without doubt tying down Hugo Lloris to a new contract, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the French keeper got off to a great start in the Premier League by making the third most saves in the entire division (4). Spurs fans will hope Lloris is on the top of his game in order to keep out the likes of Remy and Austin.
Younes Kaboul had to step up after seeing his team go down to ten men last week and did so, with 13 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions and clearances). Lloris will be looking to his centre back to help contain the coveted Loïc Remy who enjoyed a prolific loan spell with Newcastle last season.
Remy, who has been linked with numerous clubs this summer, is someone who Redknapp will be dying to keep hold of, as he is a proven Premier League goalscorer. Remy showed glimpses of last season’s form, attempting five crosses, five shots on goal and eight dribbles – clearly intent on making an impact and causing the defence problems. Remy is 7/1 to score first with 888sport.
QPR’s match against Hull saw Armand Traore play on the left hand side of Redknapp’s new 3-5-2 system and he was certainly busy. Traore managed to complete 13 clearances, the highest total amongst any of his fellow R’s and the 6th highest in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index proved Joey Barton to be the biggest workhorse in the QPR side. Barton clocked up 12.290km worth of ground covered as well as completing 52 sprints – both more than any of his teammates.
Crystal Palace vs West Ham
West Ham United head to Selhurst Park off the back of a defeat at the hands of Tottenham last weekend. ‘Big Sam’ will be hoping for a more positive outcome in his second London derby in as many weeks. Palace go in to the game still on the search for a manager but caretaker boss Keith Millen will have been encouraged by the Palace performance, despite defeat, against Arsenal.
According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, of the 275 players to represent their clubs last weekend, Palace fullback Joel Ward managed to clock the 9th fastest sprint speed, reaching a top speed of 33.9kmph. His pace is something that can have a great impact both in attack and defence and he’s certainly one the Hammers should watch out for.
Martin Kelly, his fullback partner making his first start for Palace, had a great defensive contribution against Arsenal, making eight clearances and two interceptions. This combined with a top speed of 32.4kmph, posed a double attacking threat from the fullback positions and Palace will look to utilise this against West Ham.
Marouane Chamakh was the player who covered the most ground for The Eagles, working tirelessly up front to chase defenders down. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he ran a total of 11.552km throughout the game, and when added to his seven attempted tackles, shows that not only can he grab a goal, but is also willing to word hard for the team too.
Of Allardyce’s men it was Mark Noble who was most busy going forward. He made 36 passes in the opposition half, more than any of his teammates, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Of his 72 passes across, 87.5% were accurate and he therefore poses a genuine threat to the Crystal Palace defence.
The imposing Cheikhou Kouyate, bought from Anderlecht, lived up to his reputation of being one of the division’s new ‘hardmen’ by winning the most tackles of any player throughout the game (5), as shown by EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Kouyate is seemingly fitting into the physical nature of the Premier League easily, and is likely to continue his committed style against Palace.
West Ham winger Stewart Downing clocked the quickest sprint speed of any player in the entire league last weekend, running at a top speed of 35.1kmph – meaning he has the potential to be a real danger man in the upcoming match against Palace. Downing is 8/1 to score at any time with 888sport.
Man City vs Liverpool
Last year’s top two face each other in what could turn out to be an important match in the title race, despite how early it is. The winner of this match will be able to gain an early points advantage as well as a psychological edge and neither manager will want to drop three points this early on in the season.
Yaya Touré carried last season’s form into this year’s league opener. All of City’s play went through the central midfielder, as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows, making 86 passes, more than anyone else on the pitch, 91.9% of which were accurate. Liverpool will need to cut off the supply to Touré and close him down quickly, as he has the potential to cause them serious problems.
Touré’s new midfield partner Fernando has bundles of energy to compliment Yaya, with the Brazilian covering 11.450km over the course of the day – topped by only Silva (11.461km) and Touré (11.487km) himself, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Utility man James Milner managed the fastest average speed out of any player in the Premier League during his substitute appearance, clocking an average speed of 8.7kmph. Continuous hard work is a trait Milner is well known for, and why the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index helps build a case him to start against Liverpool’s attacking threat and pace on the wings.
Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel completed the most clearances out of any player in the top tier, clearing his lines a whopping 20 times, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. With the threat City pose going forward it is likely that the Slovakian will be just as busy on Monday evening.
Young England winger Raheem Sterling dribbled the ball more than any other player in Liverpool’s opening fixture, using his pace and skill to execute five successful dribbles. Sterling, who is sure to be a key player for Liverpool this year, will be a serious threat to the City fullbacks and his ability to come inside could cause havoc amongst the champions’ defence. Sterling is 15/1 to score first against City with 888sport.
Jordan Henderson was the Liverpool player who ran the furthest distance throughout Liverpool’s opener, covering 11.471km throughout the game, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which is going to be vital when tracking the energetic City midfield players.
Swansea vs Burnley
Newly promoted Burnley pay a visit to the Liberty Stadium off the back of a tough start to Premier League life against Chelsea. The Swansea squad will be full of confidence after becoming the first side to win at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season since 1972.
No player will be happier than Swansea skipper Ashley Williams. The Welsh defender made a huge 15 clearances over the 90 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. This meant he made the third most clearances in the division on the opening weekend.
Gylfi Sigurðsson was the man with the all-important goal (see above) and the new signing will certainly have impressed the fans on his return to the club. The midfielder covered the most ground out of any player in the Premier League, running a total of 13.206km and he is likely to be the dangerman yet again this weekend as Burnley visit.
Winger Wayne Routledge managed the greatest number of sprints amongst the Swansea side, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, completing 55 sprints over the course of the match, which also ranked him 7th in the Premier League.
Matthew Taylor, the Burnley midfielder, only completed 70 minutes but still managed to complete the 2nd most sprints out of any player in the Premier League with 65 sprints, one behind the leader Andre Schürrle – according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Combined with his quality left foot, Taylor has the ability to cause some damage against Swansea this weekend.
Scott Arfield was the Burnley player to cover the most ground, and that will be needed to match Sigurðsson and company this weekend. Arfield covered 12.316km according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and the midfielder’s worth ethic was rewarded as he capped his display with a goal. Arfield is 7/1 to score again this weekend with 888sport.
David Jones was Burnley’s most involved player going forward, making 23 passes in Chelsea’s half with Dean Marney posing the greatest challenge to that acclaim on 20, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Sunderland v Man Utd
Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from an opening day defeat to Swansea in last weekend’s early kick off. The same fixture last year saw a close game where Manchester United eventually came from behind to prevail as 2-1 away winners.
This was mostly due to Belgian debutant Adnan Januzaj who bagged a brace to change the outcome of the game. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that, last week, Januzaj came off the bench and looked to attack as he attempted eight dribbles, completing four of them, and also test the Swansea defence with a further four crosses. Manchester United fans will be hoping he continues to attack and can find the back of the Sunderland net as he managed to do last year. He is 13/5 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
The only man who could find the net for Manchester United last week was their newly appointed captain, Wayne Rooney. One of only five players across the league to have found hit the target three times last week, Rooney had a further two shots off target, completed three dribbles, 21 passes and one interception. Rooney is involved in everything the team does and you wouldn’t bet against him to grab his second goal in as many weeks. He is 6/5 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
The new Manchester United manager will be hoping that his new midfield trio of Mata, Fletcher and Herrera will be too strong on the ball for their Sunderland counterparts on the weekend. Last weekend, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows us that Mata completed 44 passes with an 89.8% pass completion rate, Fletcher completed 47 passes with an 82.5% pass completion rate and Herrera completed 36 passes with 87.8%.
Sunderland kicked off their campaign with a draw away at West Bromwich Albion last weekend, after a late Sebastian Larsson equaliser earned them a point. This weekend, they’ll be looking to take all three points and get their season up and running.
Whilst Seb Larsson rescued the Black Cats with his late strike, he also completed 30 passes and all three of his attempted dribbles and managed to deliver six crosses. He proved himself a real handful and as the Sunderland set piece taker will be a threat to leaving Manchester United without a point after two games. He is 8/1 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
Lee Cattermole was the other Sunderland goal scorer last week, with what was Sunderland’s only other shot on target in the entire match. Conor Wickham was kept quiet by the West Brom defence last weekend, but this weekend the man described as ‘Sunderland’s saviour’ last season will hope to replicate his impressive form in the second half of last season. His impressive form saw him score five goals and create two more in his 14 appearances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows us that he completed an impressive 41 sprints with a top speed of 33.4km/h last weekend, and it is that work rate that will surely help his return to goal-scoring form. He is 11/4 to score anytime against Manchester United with 888sport.com.
Sunderland will have to be rock solid at the back to stop Manchester United, as former United centre backs Wes Brown and John O’Shea will know only too well. However, it is left full back Patrick van Aanholt who impressed on debut last week by making eight interceptions against West Brom according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The same data also tells us that the 23 year old Dutch full back made seven clearances and won five of his six tackles. He can be as much of a presence going forward as he completed 24 of his 27 passes, attempted four dribbles in the match and also managed to bag an assist. He will need to provide an equally rounded performance to help Sunderland come away with three points.
Hull v Stoke
Hull kicked off their season with a fantastic away win at QPR, where it can always be tricky to travel to a newly promoted side. James Chester’s goal was enough to see them come away with a 1-0 win from Loftus Road. Last year’s FA cup finalists will open their home account this weekend against tricky opponents Stoke and will be looking to secure their second clean sheet in as many games.
Last weekend saw James Chester as Hull’s match winner, but his defensive work needs to be recognized just as much as his 52nd minute header that found the back of the QPR net. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that his 14 clearances, three interceptions and two tackles won illustrate how he is a rock at the back for Hull but having completed 31 of his 34 passes (91.2% pass completion rate), he is equally composed on the ball.
Another Hull youngster that they have bought recently is Tom Ince, who proved a real threat last week to QPR. He only managed seven appearances in the Premier League last year, but will be looking to be a regular after his impressive start to the season according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with all three of his attempts last week hitting the target. Having completed 23 of his 24 passes last weekend, with a pass completion rate of 95.8%, he is looking in good form and will prove a big threat to Stoke. He is 7/2 to score anytime against Stoke with 888sport.com.
At the other end, Hull will want to keep their second clean sheet and will rely on their number one shot stopper Allan McGregor to continue his form, having made five saves on the opening day of the season. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index also tells us that James Chester’s defensive partner Curtis Davies was equally impressive with 14 clearances, two interceptions, one block and three out of four tackles won. The injury to Alex Bruce could see Paul McShane handed his first start of the season, who looked impressive in joining Chester and Davies at the back with a further six clearances to add to the Hull defensive unit’s total.
Stoke will be looking to bounce back from their 1-0 home defeat on the opening day of the season against Aston Villa, and will be desperate to avoid two defeats in a row. In order to win, they will have to improve going forward to provide more of a test to the Hull back four this weekend.
Stoke failed to find the net last weekend and only managed to hit the target twice. Whilst not managing to get a shot off during the match, Mame Biram Diouf could prove to be a handful. According to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he completed 53 sprints last week and hit a top speed of 34.7km/h. This work rate could well see him be the man to get Stoke’s scoring account up and running this year. He is 11/4 to score anytime against Hull with 888sport.com.
His strike partner Bojan was once described as one of the greatest potential talents to come through the ranks at Barcelona and will look to show the Stoke fans why he received that accolade. Whilst not managing to get a shot off last week, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that he attempted eight dribbles and two crosses, managed two interceptions and completed 32 passes. Being as involved and as talented as the statistics suggest, he is bound to start scoring goals soon. He is 41/10 to score anytime against Hull with 888sport.com.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that Stoke will be happy with their back four of Phil Bardsley, Erik Pieters, Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson and their solidity. Bardsley and Shawcross won both of their tackles and Wilson won all three of his tackles, whilst Pieters won five out of his six tackles. Pieters also managed 13 clearances with Shawcross racking up an impressive 18 clearances, and it is this solidity that will provide the foundation for success for Stoke.
Aston Villa v Newcastle
Aston Villa got their season off to a great start last weekend with a 1-0 away win at the Britannia Stadium; a notoriously difficult ground to pick up points. Andreas Weimann scored the only goal of the game to gift Aston Villa their second opening away day victory in as many years.
Weimann opened his account after a hard working performance against Stoke according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which saw him complete 9.41km in the game, completing 55 sprints with a top speed of 32.7km/h. The forward who grabbed five goals and five assists in last season’s Premier League campaign, will be looking to better those totals this term by continuing that work ethic. He is 51/20 to score anytime against Newcastle with 888sport.com.
Weimann’s strike partner Gabriel Agbonlahor didn’t get a sniff at goal last week, but was equally industrious, completing 10.22km and hitting a top speed of 323.7km/h in his 51 sprints. His pace will prove a major asset in trying to unlock the Newcastle defence, and that is why he is 14/5 to score anytime against Newcastle with 888sport.com.
Aston Villa’s new look centre back pairing of Philippe Senderos and Ron Vlaar will be happy with a clean sheet on the opening day of the season was something that was really down to them completing eight and seven clearances respectively. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that Senderos also managed two blocks and an interception, with Vlaar managing one block and one interception. With such solidity in the middle of the back four, both full backs Alan Hutton and Aly Cissokho were able to push on and both managed to deliver five crosses each last weekend.
Newcastle kicked off their season with a brave performance against Man City, but were ultimately left with nothing to show from the game. They will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa. Newcastle handed a debut to Emmanuel Rivière, who managed three attempts on goal and completed 31 sprints with a top speed of 34.4km/h according to EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He will look to trouble defences with his pace, hard work and finishing. He is 13/5 to score anytime against Aston Villa with 888sport.com.
Another debut was handed to Rémy Cabella who won five tackles and managed two interceptions, but it was going forward where he looked a real threat. He attempted six dribbles and delivered five crosses, and will look to be a real threat this weekend to the Aston Villa defence. He is 100/30 to score anytime against Aston Villa with 888sport.com.
The third and most impressive debut was handed to Jack Colback in the heart of the Newcastle midfield. EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows us that he worked tirelessly to cover 12.33km in the game with an average speed of 7.8km/h and a top speed of 32.3km/h, reached in one of his 31 sprints. He also won his only two tackles during the game, had five interceptions, delivered three crosses and attempted four dribbles. He will have to deliver another equally rounded performance to help Newcastle overcome Villa.
Everton vs Arsenal
Everton couldn’t quite grab all three points against Leicester last weekend, as they lead twice through Aidan McGeady and Steven Naismith before eventually drawing 202 with Leicester.
The leadership of Phil Jagielka at the back will no doubt once again be crucial for Everton this term. As usual he was leading from the front against Leicester, completing the highest number of defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) with 15.
Elusive wideman Steve Pienaar was in good form last weekend, taking the game to the opposition on repeated occasions. He completed an impressive 75% of his four dribbles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Pienaar is an industry best 6/1 with 888sport.com to get himself on the scoresheet and score at any time against Arsenal.
Gareth Barry’s permanent signing from Manchester City was a boon for Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who saw the midfielder run the show in the middle of the park for his side last season. Barry started off in the same vein last weekend too, completing 91.8% of his 85 passes across the field according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
The workrate of Steven Naismith is one of his best qualities and the Scottish international has clearly been working to send his fitness levels to new heights over pre-season. He covered more distance than any other Everton player against Leicester, with an impressive 12.5km to his name.
A late strike from Aaron Ramsey helped Arsenal grab all three points against Crystal Palace at the Emirates last Saturday. The Gunners had to fight back after going behind, with Laurent Koscielny heading in to draw things level before Ramsey’s opportunistic injury-time finish ensured Arsenal got their league campaign off to a winning start.
The well-known ability of the Arsenal midfield to dominate and dictate possession in opposition territory was on full display against Crystal Palace last weekend. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the top three players for successful passes in the opponent’s half all wore the red of Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey – 65; Mikel Arteta – 63; Santi Cazorla – 53). Everton must not allow the Gunners to establish their usual rhythm this weekend so the influence of the likes of James McCarthy in the middle of the park could be crucial.
Despite his tender years, Calum Chambers has slipped seamlessly into the Arsenal system, with his tidy feet and positional intelligence catching the eye. Arsene Wenger will have been especially pleased to see the young Englishman complete the joint second highest number of defensive contributions (clearances, interceptions, tackles won, blocks) of any Arsenal player against Crystal Palace with 14, an excellent return in his first league start for his new club.
Fellow new defensive recruit Mathieu Debuchy has also impressed following his arrival from Newcastle, turning in a solid display on his first league outing against the Eagles. He attempted more tackles than any other Arsenal player (7), winning 71.4% of them according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Big summer signing Alexis Sanchez is well-known to football fans everywhere for his ability to strike fear in the hearts of defenders with his pace and close control and he looked to hit the ground running last weekend. No Arsenal player attempted more dribbles than the Chilean star against Palace (10) so it’s unsurprising to see he’s just 23/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time against the Toffees.
Southampton vs West Brom
An excellent display from a Southampton side that had supposedly been greatly weakened over the summer was not rewarded with the points it deserved as a late strike from Daniel Sturridge snatched a draw away from the Saints. Nathaniel Clyne finished off a fine team move to draw Southampton back level after they fell behind but Ronald Koeman’s side’s superb team performance was not quite enough to see them head back to the south coast will anything to show for their efforts.
Powerhouse Saints midfielder Victor Wanyama made a typically robust start to the season last weekend. The tough-tackling Kenyan won the joint highest number of tackles in the first round of fixtures (9), placing him level with Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak. This gives Wanyama a tackle success rate of 81.8%, a figure that his manager Ronald Koeman will be hoping can be maintained throughout the season as Wanyama protects the Saints back four.
According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, centre-back Jose Fonte appears determined to continue his exceptional reading of the game from last term into the new season. The Portuguese defender completed six interceptions, placing him second in the league behind only Sunderland’s Patrick van Aanholt.
Morgan Schneiderlin turned in a typically committed and technical performance as the midfield anchor against Liverpool, showing some of the touches that have made the Saints so keen to retain his services. His total of 25 completed passes in the opponent’s half was the highest of any Southampton player at Anfield and his incisive distribution will no doubt be a key factor in their campaign this season.
Youngster James Ward-Prowse has been tipped for big things by those in the know at Southampton but he showed last weekend that he’s willing to put in a shift as well as pick a pass. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, only Morgan Schneiderlin covered more ground than Ward-Prowse, who ran for an excellent 11.8km against Liverpool.
A double from Saido Berahino was not enough to secure all three points for West Brom as they eventually drew 2-2 with a game Sunderland.
Berahino’s two goals unsurprisingly marked him out as his side’s most effective attacking force against Sunderland. His overall shot accuracy rate of 75% from four attempts is something Baggies’ fans will be hoping he can maintain as the season progresses. You can Berahino at just 11/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Midfielder Youssuff Mulumbu once again marked himself out as one of the key defensive lynchpins of this West Brom side last weekend, his tough tackling and reading of the game creating space for the players in front of him to flourish. He completed the joint highest number of defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, tackles won, interceptions) of any West Brom player last weekend with seven to his name.