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.
Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.
Everton vs Chelsea – Saturday 12th September, 12:45
This weekend’s early kick off sees Roberto Martinez’s Everton welcome Chelsea to Goodison Park, in what is set to be an intriguing clash. In the corresponding fixture last season, Chelsea ran out 6-3 winners in one of the most dramatic matches of the campaign, but Everton will be looking to take advantage of the champions’ indifferent start to this season.
One of the battles that will be key to the outcome of this match is Diego Costa coming up against John Stones. Costa scored twice in the 6-3 win last season, and Stones, who was linked with Chelsea throughout the summer, will be the man put in charge of stopping him. Costa only has one goal to his name so far this season, but is proving a constant threat, with a shot on goal every 49 minutes. Stones, meanwhile, has won 10 tackles this season, with an 83.3% success rate. In addition, Stones has made 18 clearances and six interceptions.
One player that Costa clashed with last was Seamus Coleman, who will this weekend be likely to have to cope with the threat of Eden Hazard down the wing. There is sure to be a speed battle on that side of the pitch, with Hazard having made 218 sprints, in comparison to Coleman’s 224. Hazard has also completed the second most dribbles in the Premier League, with 14, and Coleman will have to be on the top of his game to prevent him from causing damage.
Thibaut Courtois looks set to spend some time on the sidelines through a knee injury, and Asmir Begovic will be looking to take advantage of his absence. Begovic has already started once this season, as well as coming off the bench on the first day of the season, and has recorded the fifth most saves per game of any Premier League keeper, with 4.5 per game. Former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will be looking to get the better of Begovic on the weekend, after scoring two goals in his first four games. Lukaku will provide a clear aerial presence to Begovic and Chelsea, and the imposing Belgian has won 60% of his aerial duels so far this season.
Cesc Fabregas has made the third most touches of any player in the Premier League with 109, and faces a tough midfield battle against Everton’s James McCarthy. McCarthy himself has made the most touches of any Everton player (73). Both players have made an impact in opposition territory, with Fabregas completing 64.8% of his passes in his opponent’s halves, closely followed by McCarthy with 62.1%.
Arsenal vs Stoke City – Saturday 12th September, 15:00
Arsenal sit in sixth position in the Premier League, having earned seven points from their first four games. Arsene Wenger will be seeking some consistency from his side, starting with a win this weekend against Stoke. The Potters are yet to win this season, and currently lie in the relegation zone on two points.
Stoke are widely renowned as an aerial side but the statistics actually show that Arsenal have been more proficient in the air this season. While Stoke have won 46.8% of their aerial duels, Arsenal have succeeded in 52.6% of theirs. Of overall duels, Stoke have won 52.3%, in comparison to Arsenal who have won 53.6%.
The midfield battle could be a feisty affair with two of the league’s top tacklers set to be in competition. Glen Whelan and Francis Coquelin have both been in good form so far this season, winning 11 and 15 tackles respectively. In terms of success rate, Coquelin has won 78.9%, while Whelan has won 68.8% percent of his tackles.
Marco Van Ginkel has also impressed alongside Whelan so far this season and the on-loan midfielder will look to make a difference for Stoke this weekend. Van Ginkel has completed 58.3% of his passes in the opposition half and will be hoping that his positive play can result in some goalscoring opportunities for Stoke. His opposite number, Santi Cazorla, has created four chances for his teammates this season, the seventh most in the division.
Saturday 12th September – Norwich vs Bournemouth 15:00
Norwich and Bournemouth enter this game at the weekend level on four points apiece and separated only by goal difference. It has been a solid start to the campaign for both teams and they’ll each be desperate for a win this weekend, in a game that can be classified as a ‘six-pointer’.
Questions were asked about whether Callum Wilson could make the step up this year, following an impressive campaign in the Championship last term. But on the evidence of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it’s looking like it’s not going to be a problem, evident by the fact he’s managed to hit the target with 83% of his shots this season, scoring with every 1.5 shots taken. He’s likely to be up against Sebastien Bassong this weekend, who’s also performed well since moving back up to the Premier League. Bassong has made a total of 55 defensive contributions this term (based on clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles won), which is the most in the Norwich squad. Wilson is 39/19 with 888sport.com to score at any point on Saturday.
The battle between Norwich winger Nathan Redmond and Bournemouth full back Simon Francis is likely to be a crucial one on Saturday, as Redmond has the guile and trickery to beat men at will. His ability to run at defenders is demonstrated by the fact that he’s completed 10 dribbles this season, which is the most in the Norwich squad and the fifth most in the league. In Francis, though, he’s up against a defender who’s made an impressive 38 defensive contributions so far this term.
In midfielder Andrew Surman, Bournemouth possess one of the better passers in the league, with the one-time Norwich man having completed an impressive 133 passes in the opposition half so far this season. The clash between Surman and Norwich midfielder Graham Dorrans is likely to be a crucial one on Saturday, as Dorrans has also demonstrated his ability to spray the ball about (having completed 110 passes in the opposition half).
In addition to his passing, Surman will prove to be a real threat in the centre of the park due to his willingness to run and run for the sake of the team. He’s covered 44.6km this season (more than anyone else in the Bournemouth squad). He’s up
against Jonny Howson who’s also completed a more than respectable 40.8km.
Saturday 12th September – Watford vs Swansea 15:00
Watford welcome high-flying Swansea to Vicarage Road this Saturday, looking to maintain the form that has kept them out of the dreaded relegation zone.
If Swansea are to quell the attacking threat of the Swans they will need to keep a close eye on Bafétimbi Gomis, who’s been one of the form strikers in the league. Gomis has scored four goals already this season, hitting the target with 70% of his efforts and averaging a goal for every 2.5 shots taken. However, he could find the going tough against Craig Cathcart, who’s been in impressive form for Watford. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he’s made 57 defensive contributions (based on interceptions, clearances, blocks and tackles won), which is more than anyone else in the Watford squad.
At the other end of the pitch, Swansea skipper Ashley Williams is likely to be lining up against Watford’s Odion Ighalo. Ighalo may have only found the back of the net once this season, but that’s a figure that’s likely to rise over the forthcoming weeks, such is his willingness to take shots at goal (he averages a shot every 33 minutes). Ashley Williams will be a tricky customer, though, as he’s made more defensive contributions than anyone else in the league (62). Ighalo is 13/5 with 888sport.com to score at any point on Saturday.
Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has had an excellent start to the season, with his impressive array of passing contributing to an England call-up. He’s completed 109 passes in the opposition half this term, but will up against proven defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue who will look to disrupt his passing whenever he can – Capoue has made 15 interceptions already this campaign, the third most in the league.
Ikechi Anya’s pace has been a key asset for both club and country over the last season, with his ability to run in behind causing headaches for defenders. He’s hit an impressive top-speed of 34.31kmph this season, but will be up against Kyle Naughton, who himself, has hit a top speed of 33.1kmph.
Saturday 12th September – West Brom vs Southampton 15:00
Both West Brom and Southampton enter this fixture in impressive form, having recorded good victories in their last matches – with West Brom winning away at Stoke and Southampton humbling Norwich at home.
The battle of the midfield engine room is likely to be a crucial one on Saturday, as in skipper Darren Fletcher, West Brom possess one of the hardest workers in the Premier League. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he’s already covered an impressive 45.3km so far this season and he’s likely to be up against Steven Davis, who’s covered 35.9km in the season to date.
Davis is likely to be a player that West Brom will look to contain as much as possible, as he’s demonstrated his excellent passing ability this season, completing 92 passes in the opposition half at a rate of a pass every 3.1 minutes. James Morrison is likely to be the man West Brom will look to to provide the creative spark, as he’s completed a total of 115 passes in the opposition half – which is more than anyone else in the Baggies squad.
Graziano Pellè has proven to be a shrewd signing by manager Ronald Koeman, with the Italian scoring fourteen goals in his Southampton career to date. The Italian international is excellent in the air and he won an impressive 62% of his aerial challenges against Norwich. He may struggle against West Brom’s Jonas Olsson, though, who won every single aerial dual he went in for against Stoke. Pelle is 21/10 with 888sport.com to score at any point on Saturday.
The dual between Sadio Mané and Craig Dawson is likely to be a crucial one on Saturday, as Mané is so often the match-winner for the Saints. His guile and trickery have been evident throughout the season, as he’s completed a squad best 12 dribbles. Dawson, on the other hand, has showcased his excellent defensive capabilities making a total of 39 defensive contributions (based on blocks, clearances, tackles won and interceptions) – this is more than any other player in the West Brom squad.
Manchester United v Liverpool – 17:30, Saturday 12th September
United will play host to Liverpool in this season’s first meeting of these Northern rivals. United had made a strong start to the season picking up six points from their first two matches, and will be keen to get back to winning ways following on from a draw and their first defeat of the season in their last two matches. A win could see United climb as high as second in the league, as they look to maintain pace with the early table toppers.
Liverpool come into this weekend’s fixture level on points with their hosts, having picked up the same amount of points in each of the four weekends of Premier League fixtures as United. Liverpool’s inferior goal difference means they sit below their fierce rivals in the league, but will be hoping to make the journey back to Liverpool with all three points, that will see them leapfrog the red half of Manchester in the league standings.
Both Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw have impressed early this season, as demonstrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, resulting in both representing England last weekend. Clyne has the edge in the tackling department, winning 90.9% of his 11 challenges, compared to Shaw’s 63.6% of tackles won, also managing seven interceptions to Shaw’s five. On the ball however, Shaw has an assist to his name and has completed 86.3% of his 212 attempted passes, in comparison to Clyne’s 77.3% completion rate from his 163 attempted passes.
In the middle of the park, Juan Mata and Philippe Coutinho have both made good starts this season for their respective sides, as demonstrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Both have netted a goal apiece from four shots on target, and a crucial factor in this match could be who wins the battle of the midfield and dictates the pace of play. Mata has the edge over Coutinho in the passing department having completed 88.5% of his 217 passes attempted, in comparison to Coutinho’s 73.7% pass completion rate from his 152 attempts.
The battle of the front men will see Rooney and Benteke pitted against each other as the two most likely men to do the damage for their respective sides. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that both men have had one eye on defending this season, having both made two clearances, with Benteke adding a further two interceptions and three blocks to his name. Rooney has won 50% of his eight tackles and Benteke has won 42.9% of his seven challenges. Benteke has a goal to his name already this season, and is 14/5 to score anytime with 888sport.com. Rooney is 17/10 to score with 888sport.com.
Sunderland v Tottenham – 13:30, Sunday 13th September
Sunderland have had a tough start to the league this season, and will be looking to correct that with the visit of Tottenham this weekend. The Black Cats will have cause for optimism after their last two performances have seen them pick up draws against Aston Villa and the unbeaten Swansea. They will be hoping to go one better this weekend and secure their first victory of the season, which would see them climb out of the relegation zone, and potentially move them up to ninth in the league.
Tottenham will themselves feel that they have had a somewhat indifferent start to the campaign this season. They have been held to a point in each of their last three outings, and will be hoping to go one better this weekend to please the fans travelling up and down the length of the country to get behind North London’s boys in white.
So far this season, Kyle Walker and Younes Kaboul have been the standout defenders for their respective sides, as demonstrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Kaboul holds the edge in the tackling department, having won 88.9% of his nine tackles, with Walker winning 76.5% of his 17 attempts. Kaboul also holds 25 clearances and three interceptions to his name in comparison to Walker’s nine clearances and one block, but Walker, on the ball shows where his creative value lies. Walker has completed 80.1% of his 181 attempted passes in comparison to Kaboul’s 71.8% completion rate from his 149 attempts.
In the middle of the park, Yann M’Vila and Christian Eriksen will go head to head in the middle of the park, in a battle that could well decide the outcome of the game. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that M’Vila has netted with his only attempt on goal for the season, with both players winning 75% of their challenges, with M’Vila winning 12 tackles; three times more than his opponent. M’Vila has also completed 87.3% of his attempted 142 passes, with Eriksen completing 75.9% from his 87 attempts. Eriksen will need to find his best form this weekend to get Tottenham a foothold in the match against the in-form M’Vila.
Up top, we will see Spurs new striking sensation Harry Kane pitted against former Tottenham goal scorer Jermain Defoe. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that Defoe has hit the target with three of his four shots on goal, converting twice, with Kane still looking to get off the mark. Kane will be looking to keep up the hard work, demonstrated by him winning 83.3% of his six challenges, and will hope to see that work ethic rewarded with goals this weekend. Kane is 23/18 to score anytime with 888sport.com. Defoe is 28/11 to score with 888sport.com.
Leicester v Aston Villa – 16:00, Sunday 13th September
Leicester are one of only three remaining unbeaten sides in the league this season, alongside Swansea and Manchester City. Their two victories and two draws sees them occupy third place and they will be hoping that a third victory in five can help further consolidate their early season assault on the summit of the table.
This weekend’s visitors to the King Power stadium come in the shape of Aston Villa, currently lying in 12th position in the league standings. The Villans are going in search of their first win since taking all three points away to newly promoted Bournemouth on the opening day of the season. A second victory of the season could push Villa as high as fifth in the league, as they look to kick start their season this weekend.
This game will see two in-form wingers going head to head, in the form of Riyad Mahrez and Scott Sinclair. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index reveals that Mahrez has hit the target with 63.6% of his 11 attempts on goal, turning four opportunities in to goals. A large part of his success come from dribbling, having completed 68.4% of his 19 dribbles. Sinclair has scored twice with his only two shots of the season, and will need to be on top form to keep up with the in-form Mahrez. Mahrez is 27/11 to score anytime with 888sport.com. Sinclair is 16/5 to score with 888sport.com.
Another interesting battle in the middle of the park sees Danny Drinkwater take on Ashley Westwood, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows how both are getting on this season. Drinkwater has won 10 tackles this season, 66.7% of his overall attempts, also racking up six interceptions, but Westwood has actually won 71.4% of his seven challenges with four clearances and four interceptions to his name. Westwood has also completed 88.6% of his 201 passes in comparison to Drinkwater’s 82.3% completion from his 164 passes. These two will be crucial to the outcome of the match, and who gains the upper hand in the middle of the park.
Up top, two England capped strikers will be pitted against eachother, in the form of Jamie Vardy and Gabriel Agbonlahor. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that Agbonlahor has hit the target with 100% of his three attempts on goal this season, and will hope that attempt number four finds the net. Jamie Vardy will be a handful, as the fastest player in the Premier League this season, hitting a top speed of 35.44km/h. His pace has helped him to two goals this season, having also hit the target with 80% of his five attempts on goal. He also has an assist to his name, and Agbonlahor will have to be in top form to match Vardy if he continues in the same vein.
Monday 14th September – West Ham vs Newcastle 20:00
West Ham welcome Newcastle to Upton Park on Monday evening, having humbled Liverpool with a 3-0 victory in their last Premier League match. Newcastle have shown promise without achieving the deserved rewards in their four opening fixtures and will see this match as a real chance to register their first win of the season.
The battle of the ‘engine room’ is likely to have a huge impact on the outsome of the match on Monday, with both West Ham and Newcastle possessing players who are willing to run their socks off for the sake of their teams. In particular, the Hammers will need to be wary of the work rate of Jack Colback, who has covered an impressive 48.5km for the Magpies, whereas Steve McClaren’s men would be wise to watch out for Mark Noble who has covered 45.8km.
In centre backs Winston Reid and Chancel Mbemba, West Ham and Newcastle have two of the best tacklers in the Premier League. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that they’ve won 75% of their challenges respectively and in total have made 59 and 53 defensive contributions apiece (based on blocks, tackles won, interceptions and clearances).
Dimitri Payet has made a good start to life at Upton Park, having impressed with his ability to pick out a pass and fashion chances for his teammates. His dribbling has also dazzled, evident by the fact he’s completed nine dribbles this season which is more than any player in either the West Ham or Newcastle squad. He’s likely to meet his match when up against Vurnon Anita this weekend, who’s protected the Newcastle back four to great effect this term. The Dutchman has won 67% of the tackles he’s attempted this season, and made 10 interceptions.
The battle between Tim Krul and Diafra Sakho is likely to be a crucial one on Monday, as Tim Krul has been in inspirational form this campaign. The Newcastle ‘keeper has made the most saves in the league (24), but is up against Sakho, who although may have only found the net once this term, has shown his appetite for goal by hitting the target with 63% of the shots he’s attempted. Sakho is 8/5 with 888sport.com to score at any point on Monday.