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.
Crystal Palace vs West Brom – Saturday 3rd October, 12:45pm
Crystal Palace secured a valuable away win last time out against league newcomers Watford after a second half Yohan Cabaye penalty, whilst West Brom squandered a two goal lead against Everton after having seen Saido Berahino and Craig Dawson both get on the scoresheet before a fightback ensued from the Toffees.
Creative midfielder Yohan Cabaye has made a strong start to his career at Selhurst Park, already racking up 98 completed passes, second only in the Palace squad to Jason Puncheon on 162. Charged with stopping him from dictating the game will likely be Claudio Yacob who has proven this season that he has the defensive skills to stop the Frenchman. He’s ranks second only to defender Craig Dawson (73) in the West Brom squad for defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) on 57.
Speedy winger Yannick Bolasie has provided Barclays Premier League defences with no end of problems so far this season with his trickery and pace, having hit an impressive top speed of 34.37km/h so far this season. Some of centre back Craig Dawson’s stats this season show that he has the positional sense and timing to be able to stop the ball getting to the opposition dangermen, leading the Baggies squad as he does for interceptions with 23 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Defender Damien Delaney has been a rock at the back for the majority of the season so far for Palace, leading the squad as he does for total defensive contributions with 73. He’ll likely have to step in to stop West Brom striker Solomon Rondon from getting his shots on goal away given that he will likely pose the most consistent threat to the Palace goal as we can see from squad high 12 shots on goal this term. Rondon is 16/5 to score at any time with 888sport.com.
Aston Villa vs Stoke – Saturday 3rd October, 15:00pm
A brace from Daniel Sturridge saw Aston Villa leave Anfield with nothing despite striker Rudy Gestede achieveing a similar feat, whilst Stoke got themselves out of the bottom three thanks to a 2-1 win at home to Bournemouth.
Striker Mame Biram Diouf has been leading the line superbly for the Potters this season, his three goals so far coming from a 100% striker accuracy rate having hit the target with all of 12 attempts to date. Villa captain Micah Richards will have to be on his game to contain him but the leadership skills he’s demonstrated since being given the armband suggest he’s up to the task, winning as he has done 93.3% of his 15 tackles so far this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Dutchman Erik Pieters has once again been quietly going about his work this season, yet he has compiled some of the best defensive statistics of any Stoke player, winning an excellent b71.8% of his 39 attempted tackles. Likely coming off the bench to challenge his statistics will be young Jack Grealish, who tendency to drift into space and superb technique has posed plenty of problems for the defenders he’s come up against this campaign. He’s dribbled with the ball on average once every 26.1 minutes he’s been on the pitch and he’ll be looking to cause havoc again amongst the Stoke defence this weekend. Grealish is an industry best 41/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Glenn Whelan has proved to be the a central component of this Stoke side again this season, completing an impressive 164 passes so far this term, a squad best. He will likely battle with Villa stalwart Ashley Westwood for control of the midfield battleground, who has similar racked up 172 completed passes of his own this season. The outcome of this game could well be decided in this midfield clash.
Bournemouth vs Watford – Saturday 3rd October, 15:00
This weekend sees two of the promoted sides meet at Dean Court as Bournemouth face Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford. Both sides have made a decent start to Premier League life, with Bournemouth picking up seven points from as many games, whilst Watford sit on nine points.
Simon Francis has made a flying start to his debut season in England’s top tier, being one of the star performers in the Bournemouth side. Francis has won 30 tackles so far this season, the second highest total in the Premier League. In addition, Francis has made an impact going forward, putting in six successful crosses – the six most in the division.
One of the players looking to get at Francis and the rest of the Bournemouth defence will be Odion Ighalo. The Nigerian forward has scored four goals this season – or a goal every 130 minutes. Ighalo could well have had more goals to his name, having put eight shots on target this season, more than anyone else in either of the Bournemouth or Watford sides.
With Callum Wilson set to spend a long period on the sidelines through injury, Bournemouth will be looking to summer signing Glenn Murray for goals. The former Crystal Palace man is yet to score for his new club, but has been a threat – getting a shot in on goal every 35 minutes on average. Of these shots, 71.4% have been on target, and it should only be a matter of time before these attempts convert in to goals.
Attempting to keep Murray at bay will be Watford goalkeeper Heurelio Gomes. Gomes has made 20 saves for Watford, in addition to making more clearances than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League, with 19. Watford have only conceded five goals with Gomes between the sticks this season, meaning they have the joint-third best record in the Premier League.
Norwich vs Leicester – Saturday 3rd October, 15:00
Twelfth placed Norwich host eighth placed Leicester this Saturday, with the opportunity to pull level on points with Claudio Ranieri’s side. Leicester fell to their first defeat of the season against Arsenal last week, but will hope to bounce back to the form they produced in their previous six games. Norwich are unbeaten in three Premier League matches and will be looking to extend their impressive run.
Wes Hoolahan has returned to the top flight with a bang, recording an impressive five assists, more than anyone else in the division. On average, he has produced an assist every 84 minutes of football he has played. He has an 84.5% pass completion rate and is likely to provide Norwich’s biggest creative threat on Saturday.
Leicester’s biggest creative threat, meanwhile, is likely to come in the form of Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez has said the Premier League alight this season, scoring five goals and laying on a further three for his teammates. As such, Mahrez has been involved in a Leicester goal every 70 minutes of football he has played on average.
Jamie Vardy, who has been called up to the England squad this week, will offer further threat for Leicester as he too has started the season in scintillating form for Leicester. Vardy sits top of the goalscoring charts with six goals in seven games and has put 55.6% of his shots on target so far this season.
Russell Martin has won 90% of his attempted tackles so far this season and will be looking to continue in the same vein against Leicester to stand any chance of keeping Vardy out. Martin himself has scored three goals, but his defensive prowess has been just as important for Norwich this season, recording 44 clearances and 12 interceptions.
Saturday 3rd October – Manchester City vs Newcastle 15:00
Neither Manchester City or Newcastle enter this fixture in the greatest form, with Manchester City losing their last fixture against Tottenham and Newcastle yet to win this season. Both teams will be desperate to right the wrongs come this weekend.
If Newcastle are to prevail against Manuel Pellegrini’s men, they may well look to Jack Colback to provide drive and energy from the centre of midfield. The former Sunderland man has already covered a highly impressive 71.79km this season and it may be the role of Fernandinho to limit his effectiveness, who has covered 60.9km himself.
Newcastle may look to Chancel Mbemba if they are to curb the undoubted threat of Sergio Aguero. Mbemba has won more tackles than any other Newcastle player (23) and has also made more clearances (41), but he’ll face a real threat in Sergio Aguero who has shown his eye for goal by taking a shot at an average of a shot every 26 minutes. Aguero is 11/18 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
In Tim Krul and Joe Hart, two of the best goalkeepers in the league will be on show on Saturday, with the pair established internationals for their respective countries. The pair have had contrasting seasons, though, with Tim Krul being kept a lot more busy as the season has gone on. The Dutchman has made 27 saves so far this season, which is the third most in the league, in comparison to Joe Hart, who has made nine.
The dual between Raheem Sterling and Daryl Janmaat is likely to be a crucial one on Saturday, as Sterling has the pace and trickery to cause problems for even the most accomplished defenders. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Sterling has completed eight dribbles this weekend, but he’s likely to meet his match in Daryl Janmaat who has won an inpressive 58% of his challenges so far this season.
Sunday 4th October – Everton vs Liverpool 13:30
Everton enter the fiercest game in English football just one point above their Merseyside rivals, but four places above them in the Premier League table. It’s a big season for both teams, as they look to qualify for European football again.
Merseyside Derbies are always spicy encounters with the match always holding significance, no matter where each side is placed in the table. This Sunday is likely to be particularly entertaining, though, as both teams are committed to playing short-passing, possession football. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates this, as it shows that of Liverpool’s passes this season 88% of them have been short passes, and of Everton’s passes, 83% have been short.
Ross Barkley is likely to be the man that Everton look to, to provide a killer pass or moment of magic, as the England youngster has been in scintillating form so far this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Barkley has completed more passes in the opposition half than any of his teammates (169) and also leads his teammates in shots on target. Lucas is likely to be charged with marking Barkley, which is unsurprising as he’s won 16 tackles so far this season – which is the most in the Liverpool squad. Barkley is 15/4 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
The battle of the midfield engine room is likely to be a crucial one on Sunday as in James Milner and Gareth Barry, the teams have two of the hardest workers in the league. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Milner has covered 74.7km this season, which is more than anyone else in the league, but Gareth Barry isn’t far behind him on 68.8km.
In Seamus Coleman and Alberto Moreno, Everton and Liverpool possess two of the most attacking full backs in the league, who are willing to bomb forward at every opportunity and deliver the ball at will. So far this season, Coleman has driven forward to great effect, delivering the ball 20 times, with Moreno just behind on 13.
Sunday 4th October – Swansea vs Tottenham 16:00
Both Swansea and Tottenham enter the fixture having made solid starts to the campaign and will each be looking for three points to help them push on.
Harry Kane and Bafetimbi Gomis will hold the main threat for each of the respective teams this weekend, with both strikers never afraid to test the opposing ‘keepers. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the pair have taken a shot at goal at a rate of a shot every 43 and 46 minutes respectively.
The battle of the midfield engine room is likely to be a critical one on Sunday, with both teams possessing players who are more than willing to run their socks off for the sake of the team. Eric Dier has had a barnstorming season for Tottenham and has covered more ground than any other player in the Spurs squad having run 77.6km. However, he’s up against Gylfi Sigurdsson, who’s certainly no slouch, having covered a squad-best 73.0km himself.
Kyle Walker is well renowned for having gas to burn, and his forays up the right wing add an extra dimension to Spurs’ offensive play. Walker has hit a top speed of 34.63 kmph this season, but he’s likely to meet his match in Neil Taylor who’s been the fastest player for Swansea so far this year, hitting a top speed of 33.98kmph.
Spurs would do well to watch Jonjo Shelvey closely this weekend, as he has real ability when it comes to delivering the ball. He leads the way for Swansea with regards to attacking contributions, having made 812 (based on shots on target, passes in the opposition half, crosses and dribbles completed), swinging in 42 crosses in the process. Likewise, Swansea would be foolish to ignore the delivery of Erik Lamela, who tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index when it comes to crosses swung into the box (having made 21). Shelvey is 39/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Sunday 4th October – Arsenal vs Manchester United 16:00
Arsenal host Manchester United this weekend looking for three points that would draw them level at the top of the league.
If either side are to prevail this weekend, they’ll do well to combat the threats of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata respectively. The pair have been key offensive forces for each of the teams, making a total of 1011 and 804 attacking contributions apiece (based on shots on target, dribbles completed, crosses completed and passes in the opposition half).
David De Gea signing a new contract has been a massive boost for Manchester United, as many commentators see him as the best goalkeeper in not just the league, but the world. His importance to the Red Devils team is evident by the fact that since coming back into the team, he’s made an average of four saves per game. This is more than Petr Cech, who’s made an average of 3.8 saves per game and also Sergio Romero (1.25 saves per game), who started the first four games of the season.
Santi Cazorla has been a vital cog in Arsenal’s attacking armoury so far this season, looking to get on the ball whenever possible. This can be demonstrated by the fact that he’s completed 390 passes in the opposition half, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which is more than any other player in the Arsenal lineup. He’s likely to face a tricky opponent this weekend in Morgan Schneiderlin, though, who’s made a total of 20 interceptions. Cazorla is 41/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.
Both Daley Blind and Laurent Koscielny have been real rocks at the back for Manchester United and Arsenal respectively this year, with the former adapting from midfield to defence with consummate ease. The pair have made 35 and 36 defensive contributions respectively (based on blocks, clearances, interceptions and tackles won), and will need to be at their imperious best at the weekend to repel all opposition attacks.