Category Archives: Statistical Previews

Statistical Preview: Manchester City vs Tottenham

Manchester City’s troubles on the road continued as they lost 1-0 to Sunderland at an atmospheric Stadium of Light last time out. Despite dominating position for large periods they were unable to break down a very organized Sunderland outfit and Manuel Pellegrini will have to address his side’s chronic lack of form away from the Etihad if they are to mount a sustained title challenge this season.

The attacking brilliance of Sergio Aguero so far this season has been well-documented following a series of spectacular strikes. Aguero is rarely a flash in the pan during a match though, being a consistent threat around the opposition box for the course of the 90 minutes. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Aguero has had the joint most on-target attempts of any player in the league this season with 18.

Fellow City talisman Yaya Toure has been similarly destructive at times for City this season. The big Ivorian is on the cusp of a remarkable statistic this weekend, given that he is currently sitting on a league-leading 492 completed passes in the opponent’s half and will certainly be expecting to become the first player this season to break through the 500-barrier.

It will have pleased Manuel Pellegrini to see Samir Nasri start to show flickers of the form which seemed to have deserted him in recent months. Even in defeat, the Frenchman was one of the most influential players on the pitch against Sunderland, completing 78 passes in the opponent’s half, the highest in the league during the last round.

It seems there will be no stopping Pablo Zabaleta’s sterling form this season as the Argentine continues to compile some of the league’s best defensive figures. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has so far recorded him as coming out on top in a superb 82.9% of his 47 attempted challenges this season, the best rate in the league for players who have attempted 40 challenges or more.

An inspired performance from Tim Krul kept Tottenham at bay and condemned them to a 0-1 defeat at White Hart Lane. On a day when they could have made up ground on several of their rivals, Andre Villas-Boas will have been highly frustrated that his side were not able to convert on a huge number of chances which fell their way. He faces an ever greater test when he takes his team to the North-West this weekend.

Winger Andros Townsend has grabbed his chance to impress in a team now full of superstars following a summer spending spree at White Hart Lane. He has fast become a Tottenham’s go-to player in attack, amassing a league-leading 93 attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles).

Jan Vertonghen is well-known for a tendency to burst forward when the opportunity arises, the Belgian centre-half possessing a level of technique to rival many midfielders. Vertonghen had the fourth highest number of attempts on goal last time out (4) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Kyle Walker has been in typically marauding form down the right flank for Spurs so far this term, the England man more than happy to get forward whenever the opportunity presents itself. Indeed, he’s completed more passes in the opponent’s half than any other defender this season, with 355 to his name so far.

Statistical Preview: West Ham vs Chelsea

West Ham will be delighted to hear that Andy Carroll looks like he’s returning to full fitness, as Sam Allardyce has been sticking to a 4-6 formation in recent weeks. They host South London rivals Chelsea looking to end their 4 game winless run.

Allardyce’s 4-6 formation relies upon the likes of Ravel Morrison getting forward at every possible opportunity, and Morrison certainly did so to great effect last week bagging himself a goal. Morrison will be hoping to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans, and performing like he did on Saturday will certainly help his cause. Morrison completed more dribbles than any of his West Ham teammates (3), and also completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of every 3.9 minutes.

Fellow Englishman Mark Noble’s stock has risen this season, as he has put in a number of assured performances in the centre of the park. In particular, his ability to retain possession has won plaudits, with many pundits feeling that he was unlucky to miss out on a place in Roy Hodgson’s recent squad. This passing ability was on show against Norwich, as he completed 33 passes in the Canaries half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.6 minutes. Noble was also incredibly efficient in defence, winning all 4 of his attempted challenges.

Kevin Nolan is most definitely a leader of men, holding the captaincy at every club that he’s played at. His determination to work for the benefit of the team, and the application that he puts on the training pitch has meant that Sam Allardyce has looked to sign him for whichever club he is managing. Nolan has also had a tendency hit the back of the net on a regular basis, but his shooting has been slightly wayward this season in comparison to his usually exceptionally high standards. Nolan has taken 18 shots this term, but only hit the target with four of them.

A player who hasn’t always got the recognition that he deserves is Irishman Joey O’Brien, but he’s always been a firm favourite of Big Sam’s.  This season O’Brien has quietly gone about his business in an impressive manner, winning 91% of his tackles. No other West Ham defender can boast a success rate as impressive as this.

A contentious last minute penalty from Eden Hazard preserved Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge, and they head to Upton Park looking to close the gap on leaders Arsenal.            

West Brom will have felt aggrieved with the last minute penalty decision, but on the balance of play, a loss would have been harsh on Chelsea as they boasted 68% of possession and took 17 shots. Their attacking intent is evident in the number of passes that Branislav Ivanovic completed in West Brom’s half. Ivanovic’s 40 was more than any other defender in the league.

Likewise, the passing of Frank Lampard and Ramires in central midfield emphasizes the Blues’ dominance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that the duo completed a pass in the opposition half at impressive rates of 2.3 and 2.4 minutes respectively.

Danny Mills has been the latest pundit to call for John Terry to return to the international fold, and his performances for Chelsea this season certainly demonstrate why Mills is so keen to see the former England captain back in the set-up. There were concerns over Terry’s fitness last term, but so far this campaign he has featured in every minute for Chelsea, only Ivanovic and ‘keeper Cech are the other players to have done this, and he has made 115 defensive contributions (based on blocks, tackles won, clearances and interceptions). This is more defensive contributions than anyone else in the Chelsea squad.     

Ryan Bertrand may have only featured once for Chelsea this term, but he certainly made a good offensive contribution to cement his place as Chelsea’s long term left back. The Chelsea academy graduate completed a pass in the opposition half at an astounding rate of a pass every 1.8 minutes – a figure particularly reassuring for Chelsea fans as Ashley Cole approaches the twilight of his career.  

Statistical Preview: Newcastle vs Norwich

Newcastle will be looking to build on an impressive victory over Tottenham when they host Norwich on Saturday.

The Magpies have keeper Tim Krul to thank for keeping Spurs at bay on Saturday, with manager Alan Pardew describing the keeper as ‘the best in the league’ following his impressive performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that Krul made 14 saves on Sunday – this was double his nearest competitor.

Krul, however, will also be grateful to the efforts of his defence in front of him. Mathieu Debuchy was particularly impressive, making a total of 15 defensive contributions (based on blocks, interceptions, clearances and tackles won). This was the fifth most in the league.

Moussa Sissoko has been quietly going about his business this term, figuring in all but one of Newcastle’s games. Defensively, he’s been very astute, completing a respectable 72% of his challenges. Likewise, he’s made his mark offensively – as no other player has completed as many passes in the opposition half as Sissoko’s 215.

Of the French contingent at Newcastle, the contribution of Yoan Gouffran is often overlooked due to the brilliance of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye. He has however, been a central figure for Alan Pardew this term, appearing in every Premier League fixture to date, and he was impressive against Spurs again, completing 3 dribbles – more than any of his teammates. He also grabbed the assist for the goal.

Chris Hughton will be hoping that Norwich’s impressive victory over West Ham will help transform this season, as it would be fair to say it has been a bit of a struggle for Norwich this term. 

Johan Elmander appeared to be back to his best against the Hammers, as he managed to register two assists. He may not have scored for Norwich this term, but he has certainly toiled for the sake of the team as he’s completed an impressive 72% of his challenges. This is an impressive figure for a striker, and this application and graft will be vital for Norwich if they are to get sucked into a relegation dog fight.

One of the shining stars so far this season for Norwich has been midfielder Leroy Fer, with the Dutchman starting to pay back some of the faith shown in him. Jamie Redknapp described the former FC Twente man as the ‘complete midfield player’ following his performance against West Ham, and it isn’t hard to see why Redknapp holds him in such high regard. He won an impressive 88% of his challenges against the Hammers, and also managed to complete a pass in West Ham’s half at a rate of a pass every 4 minutes.

Michael Turner has become an essential part of the Norwich side since his transfer from Sunderland, and this importance is underlined by the fact that he is Norwich’s only outfield player who has featured in every minute of the campaign so far. Looking at the number of defensive contributions that Turner has made, it’s clear to see why he’s the first name on the Canaries team sheet. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that Turner has made 121 defensive contributions (based on clearances, tackles won, interceptions and blocks) – which is comfortably the most in the Norwich squad.

Nathan Redmond may have found himself out of the side in recent weeks, but that doesn’t stop him topping the table for the number of dribbles completed. The former Birmingham man has dazzled defenders with his trickery and pace – completing 19 dribbles this term, the most of any Norwich player.     

Statistical Preview: Fulham vs Swansea

Fulham host Swansea with both sides desperate for a win after indifferent starts to the campaign.

Fulham may have conceded 4 goals against Liverpool, but the efforts of Kieran Richardson shouldn’t be questioned. The one time England international completed 10 challenges against Brendan Rodgers’ men – the second most in the league.

Martin Jol will be pleased that Martin Stekelenburg is returning to fitness, following a frustrating injury occurred at the start of the campaign. The Cottagers conceded 4 goals at the weekend, but they have the Dutchman to thank for preventing it being more, as Stekelenburg made 7 saves – the second most in the league.

Adel Taarabt may have only featured for 208 minutes this campaign, but when looking at the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shooting statistics, it seems that Martin Jol would be wise to thrust the enigmatic Moroccan back into the action. The former QPR man has hit the target with an impressive 83% of his efforts this term – it surely won’t be too long until he starts scoring on a regular basis.

Pajitim Kasami hit the headlines last week with a stunning strike that may have determined the goal of the season award already. Kasami has also been equally efficient in defence this term, as no other Fulham player has won as many tackles as Kasami’s 31.

Swansea will have been disappointed to only walk away with a draw following their fixture against Stoke, after fighting back from two goals down.

In the wake of Michu’s injury Alex Pozuelo was given a chance to stake a claim  n the first team, and his passing certainly wasn’t a disappointment. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that he completed a pass in Stoke’s half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.4 minutes.

Pozuelo has also excelled in his defensive work this season – he has completed 10 of his tackles this term at a success rate of 91%.

On the back of Roy Hodgson’s experimentation in the recent friendlies against Chile and Germany, many England hopefuls will feel that they have a chance of forcing their way into his World Cup plans. One such player is Wayne Routledge, who’s electric pace and fleet footwork are a handful for any defender. Routledge’s skillset was on show on Saturday, as he completed 4 dribbles – the most in the Swansea squad.

The renewal of Jonathan de Guzman’s loan deal was an important target for Michael Laudrup over the Summer, and he will have been delighted to secure the Dutchman for another season. The midfielder settled into life well on South Wales last year, as Swansea’s possession based style of play suited de Guzman’s game, and this ability to pick a pass was evident against Stoke as he managed to complete a pass in the opposition every 1.9 minutes.

De Guzman has also excelled in his crossing so far this term, with his ability to deliver the ball a key weapon in Swansea’s armoury. The Dutchman has swung in a total of 8 crosses this term, the most in the Swansea squad.

Statistical Preview: Hull vs Crystal Palace

Hull fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Southampton following which their manager Steve Bruce admitted that they were beaten by the better side on the day. A solitary goal from Yannick Sagbo will have been no consolation for Hull’s travelling support and they will be yearning for a vastly improved performance against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Hull defender Curtis Davies holds a particular distinction this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. No player has contributed more to his team’s defensive efforts that Davies, leading the league for total defensive contributions (successful tackles, blocks, interceptions, clearances) as he does with 155.

Steve Bruce will be looking for far more accuracy in front of goal from his players as the season progresses, with an inability to test opposition goalkeepers impeding their progress at present. Only one player in the Hull squad can boast a shot accuracy rate of greater than 50% (Robbie Brady – 80%), whilst their most active shooter, Sone Aluko, can only boast a shot accuracy rate of 45.5%.

Tom Huddlestone continues to provide a level of structure to the Hull midfield since signing from Tottenham. The imposing midfielder has racked up a solid 225 passes in the opponent’s half, at an average rate of one every 4.1 minutes he’s been on the park.

Manager-less Crystal Palace managed to secure a vital point as they held Everton to a 0-0 at Selhurst Park last time out. The point will have been well-received but the Palace players will know that they had several chances to win the game and will no doubt be keen to make amends this weekend.

The Crystal Palace midfield have had to do a fair bit of work without the ball this season, with captain Mile Jedinak leading by example. He currently ranks joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles won with 45, giving him a very solid success rate of 75%.

Indeed, the whole of the Palace squad have distinguished themselves so far this campaign, with a total of nine players having a tackle success rate of 75% or more for the season to date.

The Eagles may not have had much luck in front of goal this season, but that has not diminished Dean Moxey’s enthusiasm for taking the game to the opposition. He currently leads the Palace squad for dribble with 10 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Statistical Preview: Arsenal vs Southampton

Arsenal were haunted by their former talisman as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last time out thanks to a Robin van Persie header. Arsenal were deprived of several key starters following an illness sweeping the camp the day before the match, but Arsene Wenger will no doubt have seen many positives to take from a battling effort.

Only Daniel Sturridge has had more shots on goal this season than Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, perhaps showcasing both the Gunners’ reliance on him to lead the line, as well as the increase in quality service from the likes of Mesut Ozil. The Frenchman has had 35 attempts on goal this season.

Although he has been relatively quiet by his own lofty standards in recent games, Mesut Ozil has still been one of Arsenal’s most effective players this season for the average time he has been on the pitch. The German maestro has completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 1.8 minutes he has been on the field.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs continues to raise his individual standards this season as he pushes for a potential berth in England’s World Cup squad next summer. He’s completed an outstanding 72.1% of his 68 attempted challenges so far this season.

Centre-half Laurent Koscielny has become an absolutely essential figure in the Arsenal defence over the last year. No Arsenal player can rival his 96 defensive contributions (tackles won, blocks, interceptions, clearances) this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Southampton’s dream run continued as they took apart Hull City in a 4-1 win that saw them move up to third in the league. The game was graced by a fabulous solo Adam Lallana goal which will have done the confidence of the entire Saints squad no harm at all as they face a more daunting test at the Emirates this weekend.

Hard-tackling midfielder Victor Wanyama has continued to impose his tenacious style of play on the Premier League this season but been coming to the notice of officials far more than he would like. No player in the league can top his 29 fouls this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Adam Lallana was in effervescent form last time out for the Saints, no doubt attempting to capitalise on the huge confidence boost created by his call-up to the England squad. Lallana completed 5 dribbles against Hull, the highest in the league during the last round of fixtures.

Southampton’s success this season has been largely predicated on a resolute defence which has refused to yield many goals so far this term. In Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte they have two of the best performing defenders in the league, who collectively have combined for an outstanding total of 268 total defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won).

Statistical Preview: Everton vs Liverpool

In a game that is always highly anticipated, Everton host Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the early kick off the in the Premier League this weekend.

Everton drew to manager-less Crystal Palace last time out, despite boasting an incredible 73% of possession in the match. Gareth Barry was integral to this, as he completed 63 passes in the opposition half – only Samir Nasri (78) completed more in the league.

One player who’s already on the plane to Brazil next year is left back Leighton Baines. The selection dilemma for Hodgson is who he starts out of Baines and veteran Ashley Cole, but what the Everton left back does seem to have in his favour is his outstanding offensive ability. Baines’ ability in attack is evident in the number of passes he completed in Crystal Palace’s half, he completed 301 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index – the second most of any defender in the league. 

The argument commonly used against Baines’ inclusion is that his defensive ability isn’t quite up to scratch. However, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows how unfounded these claims are. The former man has been successful in 86% of his 36 challenges this campaign.

Once described as ‘The General’ by former England manager Fabio Capello, Phil Jagielka looks to finally have established himself at international level, where he is starting to replicate his domestic form. The Everton skipper has been imperious at the back this term, making 143 defensive contributions (based on clearances, tackles won, blocks and interceptions). This is the third most in the league.

Liverpool enter the Merseyside derby in scintillating form, fresh off the back of an impressive 4-0 victory against Fulham.

Philippe Coutinho stepped up his comeback from injury against Fulham, starting from the off, and he certainly wasn’t showing any ill effects when it came to the shooting department. The Brazilian took 8 shots against Fulham, level with teammate Luis Suarez at the top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index table. The combination of these two and Daniel Sturridge is an enticing prospect for all Liverpool fans.

It seems a long time ago that Jordan Henderson was close to leaving Liverpool, as he has become an integral part of the team in the last year. His tendency to work his socks off for the team, and to keep the ball has been a vital cog in the Liverpool machine this term – and this ability to maintain possession was on show against Fulham. The former Sunderland man completed 51 passes in the opposition half, the fifth most of any player in the league.

After a long period sidelined by injury, Lucas Leiva has managed to win back a place in the Brazilian squad. With the plethora of attacking options Brendan Rodgers has at his disposal, Lucas’ hard-tackling ability will be essential to balance the midfield, and this tackling ability was on show against Fulham on Saturday. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Lucas won an impressive 9 challenges, with no other player in the league winning more.

Steven Gerrard may be approaching the twilight of his career, but there appears to be life in the old dog yet! The Liverpool and England skipper has completed more passes in the opposition half (407) than any other player in the squad.