Category Archives: Statistical Previews

Statistical Preview: Manchester City vs Arsenal

A spectacular equaliser from Dani Osvaldo saw Manchester City held to a point against Southampton last time out after an early strike from Sergio Aguero.

Aguero remains the league’s joint most accurate shooter according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, have racked up an excellent 30 on target attempts on goal so far this season. Only Liverpool’s Luis Suarez can match him in this regard. You can find Aguero at 13/12 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.

The brilliant Argentinean was uncharacteristically wayward last weekend though, seeing 50% of his 6 shots against fail to test the keeper according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Dominant thought they have undoubtedly been at times this season, Manchester City could still use a little more defensive nous in the centre of their midfield. Fernandinho (27) and Yaya Toure (25) rank second and third in the league respectively for tackles lost this season.

Toure however remains a major part of why City have dominated so effectively at the Etihad this term though. Last weekend he passed yet another another milestone as he became the first player in the league to complete more than 600 passes in the opponent’s half this season.

A pulsating encounter at the Emirates on Sunday saw Arsenal draw 1-1 with Everton last time out. The Gunners were unsettled in the first half against the Toffees thanks to some slick football from Roberto Martinez’s men but Mesut Ozil’s composed finish was enough to see them extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.

This weekend will see a battle of two of the league most consistent attacking threats this season when Aaron Ramsey and Sergio Aguero line up against each other at the Etihad. Whilst Aguero has been prolific, Ramsey has been more efficient in his use of the balls in attacking situations. Ramsey has an overall shot accuracy rate of 70% from 30 attempts, compare to Aguero’s 58.9% from 51 attempts. Ramsey is 4/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.

The title ‘King of the Assist’ might weigh heavily on some players, but most are not blessed with the skill of Mesut Ozil. The German has probably not been at his best in recent weeks but has still fitted seamlessly into Arsenal’s attacking patterns. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s already made the joint highest number of assists in the league this season with 7.

Arsenal’s point against Everton was in large part thanks to the outstanding defensive display of Laurent Koscielny who held their backline together against a Toffees side which dominated for large parts of the game. The Frenchman once again showcased his superb reading of the game with 8 interceptions on Sunday, the highest of any player in the league during the last round.

Able understudy though Carl Jenkinson undoubtedly is, Gunners fans will no doubt be keen to see Bacary Sagna back fit and firing as soon as possible after some sterling early season displays from the French right-back. He currently has the best overall tackle success rate of any Arsenal player, winning an excellent 85.7% of the 14 challenges he has committed to this season.

Statistical Betting Preview: Norwich vs Crystal Palace

A spirited second half display from Norwich was not enough to prevent them from falling to 2-1 defeat away to Newcastle last weekend, with a solitary Leroy Fer goal late in the second half providing scant consolation for the Canaries’ travelling fans.

Nathan Redmond continues to turn in a series of incredibly impressive performances this season, a run of form that will no doubt bring him to the attention of a host of clubs in the summer. The young forward leads the Canaries squad for attacking contributions (crosses, assists, dribbles, shots on goal) with 47 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Midfielder Leroy Fer will have no doubt been pleased to get on the scoresheet last weekend, even if it proved only to be a consolation header for his side. However, it has been in winning the ball back for his team that Fer has shone the most this season, attempting more tackles than any other Norwich player with 54, and winning 72.2% of them.

Jonny Howson remains the conduit for much of Norwich’s work in the middle of the park this season. He currently has a squad-leading 283 successfully completed passes in the opponent’s half to his name.  Howson is an industry best 11/2 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.

Tony Pulis will take charge of a Crystal Palace side with renewed momentum this Saturday after a late Barry Bannan strike saw Palace to a 0-1 victory away to Hull last time out.

Palace captain Mile Jedinak’s reading of the game continues to be superb this season, complementing a physical style of play in the Eagles’ engine room. Jedinak currently leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions with 50.

No player contributed more to their team’s defensive efforts in the last round than Palace’s Danny Gabbidon. He recorded a superb total of 22 defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, clearances, tackles won) against Hull.

Dwight Gayle has been one of Palace’s most effective attackers this season, racking up a squad-high 13 attempts on goal. Unfortunately only 30.7% of these have been on-target, he will no doubt be hoping to make more of his opportunities moving forward for the rest of campaign. Gayle is 11/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.

Statistical Betting Preview: Aston Villa vs Sunderland

In an enthralling Midlands derby, Villa came from two goals down to secure a draw against West Brom, and host a Sunderland side livid from a contentious red card awarded to Wes Brown.

A product of the highly acclaimed Crewe Alexandra youth academy, Ashley Westwood has become a vital member of Paul Lambert’s side with his ability to recycle possession. This ability was on show on Monday, as in addition to his decisive equalizer, Westwood completed 30 passes in West Brom’s half – this was the most of any Villa player. 

Aston Villa may be struggling for goals, but this is in total contrast to their success at the other end of the pitch. Paul Lambert’s men have only conceded 14 goals this term, less that Manchester United, which is particularly impressive when you consider that that they’ve played Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Spurs. A rock at the heart of the defence has been skipper Ron Vlaar, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights precisely how effective he has been. In addition to featuring in every minute of the campaign so far, the only Villa outfield player to have done this, Vlaar has maintained an incredibly impressive tackle success rate – attempting 28 challenges and winning 25 of them. 

In recent weeks Paul Lambert has compared Gabriel Agbonlahor to Ryan Giggs in that he is a one-club man, Villa through and through. Agbonlahor holds Aston Villa’s record for the number of goals scored in the Premier League era, but this season he appears to have reinvented himself as more of a provider rather than a scorer. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has registered 3 assists, the most in the Villa team, but he has only taken 8 shots. You can find Agbonlahor at 8/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.

Karim El Ahmadi started the comeback on Monday night scoring the crucial first goal that set Villa on their way. It was a rare goal from El Ahmadi, who is best known for his willingness to do the dirty work for Aston Villa by breaking up play, and stemming the flow of opposition attacks. This is evident in the fact that he’s been successful in an impressive 80% of his challenges this term. 

Gus Poyet was left fuming after a controversial red card to Wes Brown helped condemn the Black Cats to a defeat against Stoke.

Sunderland will have felt particularly addrieved to lose the game, as they dominated for periods of play despite Stoke’s numerical advantage. Sebastien Larsson was integral to this, as he completed an impressive 36 passes in the opposition half – this was the third most in the league.

Likewise, Ki Sung-Yueng demonstrated his passing credentials. In Lee Cattermole’s absence the on-loan Swansea man completed 34 passes in the Stoke half.

It must be pleasing for Sunderland supporters to see one of their academy graduates performing so admirably in the first team. Jack Colback has become a mainstay of the Sunderland lineup since stepping up to the first team – probably best demonstrated by the fact he has completed 983 minutes this term, the most in the Sunderland squad. Colback is 34/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.

Manager Gus Poyet showed his ruthless side by dropping Adam Johnson from the team against Hull a few weeks ago, but he has restored Johnson to the lineup since. It isn’t hard to see why Poyet was keen to thrust the former England man back into the action, as no other player in the Sunderland squad matches Johnson’s 218 attacking contributions (based on crosses, shots, passes in the opposition half and dribbles).

Statistical Betting Preview: West Ham vs Fulham

Two goals from old boy Frank Lampard condemned West Ham to a disappointing home defeat to Chelsea, and they host Fulham in what can be billed as a real ‘six-pointer’.

West Ham conceded three times in their defeat to Chelsea, but were it not for James Collins it could have been so much worse for the Hammers. The Welshman made 4 blocks at the weekend, the most in the league, and also made a total of 20 defensive contributions (based on blocks, clearances, tackles and interceptions). This was the third most in the league.

Ravel Morrision was impressive again for the Hammers, producing a dynamic performance as part of West Ham’s no-strikers formation. The former Manchester United trainee demonstrated his distribution ability, as he completed a pass in Chelsea’s half at an impressive rate of a pass every 3.2 minutes. Morrison is 15/2 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.

Stewart Downing may have had a tough time at Anfield, but his ability to deliver the ball has never been questioned. This season he has swung in a total of 14 crosses – the third most in the league.

Fulham suffered a disappointing defeat at home to Swansea at the weekend, and need a win to overturn this concerning downwards momentum. A small consolation for Martin Jol would have been the performance of defender Fernando Amorebieta. Amorebieta made an impressive 25 attacking contributions at the weekend, based on passes in the opposition half, crosses dribbles and shots.

Fulham fans have been quick to jump on Bryan Ruiz’s back this season, unhappy with what they perceive as a number of abject performances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, however, goes some way to provide a rebuttal to Ruiz’s critics, as it demonstrates that he has made 5 goalscoring contributions this term (based on goals and assists). You can find Ruiz at 14/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.

Steve Sidwell has been a mainstay in Fulham’s midfield since his arrival from Aston Villa two years ago. His importance is evident in the number of minutes he has featured in this term, as no other player in the Fulham squad matches Sidwell’s 1004. The former Villa man has also made more interceptions than any other player in the Fulham team, with 29.

Roy Hodgson appears to have thrown Scott Parker into the international wilderness, and appears that Parker’s World Cup dream may well be over. However, if Hodgson was looking for a hard tackling central midfielder, then he would be wise to consider the Fulham man as Parker has won an impressive 80% of his challenges this season.

Statistical Betting Preview: Everton vs Stoke

In arguably the game of the season so far, Everton drew against rivals Liverpool 3-3 in an enthralling Merseyside derby.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Liverpool to continue his impressive start to the campaign, and looking at his shooting statistics on Saturday, it isn’t difficult to see why Lukaku hits the back of the net on a regular basis. Lukaku took four shots on Saturday, and in addition to scoring twice, he also tested the keeper every time. Only Sergio Aguero had a better record than the Belgian. Lukaku is evens with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.

Roberto Martinez has encouraged an offensive, possession based style of play this term, and this was certainly on show against Liverpool in a classic end-to-end encounter. Steven Piennar’s performance encapsulated this philosophy that Martinez has instilled, as he completed an impressive 25 passes in Liverpool’s half on Saturday.

Kevin Miralles may have been at the centre of an unwanted row at the weekend following a slightly reckless challenge on Luis Suarez, but this should take nothing away from his overall performance – as he scored one goal, and was involved in the other two. The Belgian has thrived under Martinez this term, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates how influential he has been through his assist tally. Miralles has registered 4 assists this term, which is more than any other player in the Everton squad. 

Leon Osman may have felt slightly aggrieved by Roy Hodgson’s decision to discard him from the international fold, as he performed perfectly respectively in the 2 matches he featured in. Osman has always had an eye for a pass, and this knack has been evident this season, as he has completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes.

Stoke ended their 9 match winless run with a victory over Sunderland last weekend, with goals from Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi helping them on their way.

Erik Pieters has been in impressive form all season, and he produced another stellar performance to keep Sunderland at bay on Saturday. The former PSV man attempted 6 challenges, and won an impressive 5 of them.

Steven N’Zonzi scored Stoke’s second goal on Saturday, which was just one part of an impressive offensive performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Frenchman made a total of 34 attacking contributions on Saturday (based on shots, passes in the opposition half, crosses and dribbles). This was the most in the Stoke team.

Charlie Adam has shown how determined he is to cement his place in the Stoke lineup by shedding half a stone. Adam has always had great striking ability, and this skill of his has been on show this season, as he has managed to hit the target with 71% of his shots – a better rate than any of his teammates. If you fancy Adam to score again, head to 888sport.com who are offering 23/5 for him to score at any time.

Mark Hughes has hinted in recent weeks that Glenn Whelan is in pole position to become the anchorman in Stoke’s midfield, and by looking at his performance against Sunderland, it is clear to see why Hughes sees the Irishman as an integral part of his team. Whelan completed a pass in Sunderland’s half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes, demonstrating how competent he is at maintaining possession. 

Statistical Betting Preview: Cardiff vs Arsenal

Kim Bo-Kyung came off the bench to score a last gasp equaliser and grab a point for Cardiff as they drew 2-2 with Manchester Utd last weekend at Cardiff City Stadium. Controversy was abound after Wayne Rooney lashed out at Jordan Mutch before scoring the game’s opening goal, but goals from former Utd man Fraizer Campbell and substitute Kim saw Malkay Mackay’s side record a brave draw.

Cardiff’s Ben Turner will most likely be integral to Cardiff’s defensive efforts against Arsenal this weekend. He currently ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 125.

David Marshall will no doubt find his goal under attack a few times this weekend against a highly creative Arsenal outfit, but the Cardiff stopper has proved himself more than up to the challenge of the Premier League so far this season. He’s made more saves than any other ‘keeper in the league with 54.

Kevin Theophile will need to mind his tackling technique this weekend against an Arsenal side which will likely dominate possession for large periods of the game. He gave away more fouls than any other player in the last round of fixtures with 6.

Despite being known more for his abilities in front of goal, Frazier Campbell has been showcasing some impressive technique when recovering possession for his team. The hard-working striker has been successful with a superb 82.4% of his 17 attempted challenges this season. Campbell is 3/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time this weekend.

Two goals from Olivier Giroud saw Arsenal cement their place at the summit of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over an impressive Southampton side at the Emirates. Southampton ‘keeper Artur Boruc’s over-complication of what should have a been a simple clearance saw Giroud pounce for his first goal, and a late penalty from the Frenchman secured the win for the Gunners.

By his own lofty standards, most would agree that Mesut Ozil has not been quite at his best in recent weeks. It is perhaps therefore even more worrying for the Gunners’ rivals than in spite of this, the German maestro has still completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 1.87 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season. A return to his devastating best is surely not far away, a prospect that no Arsenal opponent will be looking forward to. Ozil is 11/4 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.

The desire of the Arsenal fans for their club to retain the services of Bacary Sagna is well-founded according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He’s won an excellent 85.7% of his 14 attempted challenges this season, as well as completing 237 passes in the opponent’s half during his marauding raids down the right flank.

Reports this week suggested that fan favourite Per Mertesacker is on the verge of signing a new deal with the Gunners, have established himself as part of a consistent back four. The giant German has played with composure and intelligence this season, as evidenced by the fact that he has given away just 3 fouls this season, a lower total than any of his regular colleagues at the back in Gibbs, Koscielny and Sagna.

Mathieu Flamini generated some controversy in midweek after he went against club tradition and wore short sleeves against Marseille in the Champions League. Observation of tradition aside, you can’t argue with his impact on this Arsenal midfield, his ability to organise and communicate providing the platform for some of his more attacking-minded colleagues. Flamini has the best tackle success rate of any Arsenal midfielder so far this season, successfully completing 78.6% of his 14 attempted challenges.

Statistical Preview: West Brom vs Aston Villa

A highly controversial, last-gasp penalty decision from Andre Marriner gave Chelsea’s Eden Hazard the chance to slot home and earn his side a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. Steve Clarke spoke eloquently after the match of his frustration and perhaps his biggest challenge this week will have been to mentally prepare his players for this weekend’s visit of Aston Villa following such a demoralising defeat.

Jonas Olsson continues to be a rock at the back for Steve Clarke’s side this season and his defensive organisation will be crucial against a powerhouse like Christian Benteke this weekend. Olsson has completed more clearances than any other player in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 108 to his name so far this term.

Following a sterling defensive effort against Chelsea, Gareth McAuley probably had more reason that most to feel particularly aggrieved at the final whistle. Along with Olsson, McAuley has been central to the Baggies’ defensive structure this season, winning a squad-best 75% of his 20 attempted challenges.

Stephane Sessegnon has given the West Brom squad a welcome burst of creative energy in their midfield following his arrival from Sunderland. The diminutive Benin international currently leads the Baggies squad for total attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) this term with 35.

Midfielder James Morrison continues to be the central fulcrum around which much of West Brom’s play has been built this season. He’s completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 3.6 minutes he’s been on the park this term, the best rate in the Baggies squad.

A spectacular strike from Leandro Bacuna saw Aston Villa on their way to a 2-0 win over Cardiff which ended their recent poor run of form in front of goal. Combined with a clean sheet, this result will no doubt have buoyed the Villa squad ahead of their trip to the Hawthorns this weekend.

No Villa player has been more active in attack than Fabian Delph this season, who has so far recorded a squad-high total of 191 passes in the opponent’s half, as well as 32 total attacking contributions (crosses, dribbles, shots on goal, assists).

Captain Ron Vlaar will likely the immovable object which West Brom must beat in order to fashion any kind of attack this weekend. ‘Concrete Ron’ currently has the best tackle success rate of any Villa player, completing an excellent 88.8% of his 27 attempted tackles and conceding just 4 fouls in the process according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Andreas Wiemann will be hoping for greater accuracy in front of goal as the season progresses as, despite compiling a squad-high total of 21 attempts on goal, so far only 28.6% of them have been on target.

Statistical Preview: Cardiff vs Manchester United

After a morale-boosting victory over Swansea, Cardiff suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. They host Manchester United who look to be coming to grips with David Moyes’ methods.

Kevin Theophile-Catherine’s excellent tackling ability has been evident this term, as he has won an impressive 78% of his 27 tackles. He was perfectly solid again on Saturday, winning 4 of his 6 attempted challenges

However, the real star of the Cardiff’s defence so far this campaign has been centre half Steven Caulker. Caulker has made the sixth most defensive contributions in the league (based on tackles won, blocks, clearances and interceptions), and on Saturday he particularly excelled. No player in the league made as many clearances as Caulker’s 16.

Offensively on Saturday, Peter Whittingham was the lynchpin of Cardiff’s attacks, as he demonstrated his outstanding ability to pick a pass. Whittingham may have been out to prove a point against his former employers, and he certainly made one as he completed an impressive 38 passes in Villa’s half, at an outstanding rate of a pass every 2.4 minutes.

In England’s friendly against Chile, Gary Medel bossed the midfield – putting in a number of bone crunching challenges. His hard-tackling has been evident all season, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Chilean has completed an impressive 70% of his 36 attempted tackles.

David Moyes recorded the biggest victory of his Manchester United career to date in the last round of Premier League fixtures, beating Arsenal 1-0.

Wayne Rooney maintained his impressive form by putting in a man-of-the-match display at Old Trafford. He worked hard for the sake of the team, but also demonstrated his outstanding passing ability. He completed 20 passes in the opposition half – more than any of his teammates.

Chris Smalling has stated that his versatility may be a bonus when it comes to World Cup selection – with his ability to play competently at right back, and centre back a real plus for the team. Smalling’s preferred position is centre half, but if he performs like he did against Arsenal he may find himself filling the number 2 jersey for England come June next year. Smalling was successful in every one of his challenges against Arsenal, and also sat second in the Manchester United table of number of defensive contributions made with 17.       

Another young Englishman in with a good chance of going to Brazil next year is centre half Phil Jones. Another utility player, Jones can operate at right back, centre half, and central midfield., and he played in the latter two positions to great effect against the Gunners. Phil Jones’ tackling ability is widely regarded as his strongest asset, and so far this season, he has demonstrated exactly why this view is held. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that Jones has completed an impressive 86% of his challenges this term.     

Tom Cleverley has certainly had his fair share of critics this season, with many United fans unsure exactly what he brings to the table. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, however, highlights that these sentiments can be considered unfounded, as he has shown his creative flair – completing a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.2 minutes. Cleverley has also been successful in 60% of his challenges this term.