Chelsea v Wigan, Saturday 15:00
– Goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata were not enough to overcome a spirited Newcastle as the reigning European Champions returned to London empty-handed after a 3-2 defeat.
– Frank Lampard has been in superb form in recent weeks and looks to have turned Chelsea around on offering him a new contract. He’s scored 10 goals this season, building on his shot accuracy rate of 66.6%.
– Gary Cahill has been of increasing important to the Chelsea defence since his arrival in Stamford Bridge, with the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index providing some interesting figures on his performances. He leads the Chelsea squad for both interceptions and blocks, with 73 and 20 respectively.
– Midfield dynamo Juan Mata has been in sparkling form this season, generating numerous chances for his team mates to latch onto. He is second in the league for assists provided with 12, and leads the Chelsea squad for crosses with 64.
– Look for midfield enforcer Ramires to tidy up his defensive work in the run in towards the end of the season. He’s conceded more fouls than anyone else in the Chelsea squad (37) and only has a 52% tackles success rate from 73 attempted challenges.
– A goal at the death from Shaun Maloney garnered a valuable point for struggling Wigan as they drew 2-2 with Southampton last weekend.
– Scottish midfielder Shaun Maloney will likely be one of the biggest creative threats to what is a very physical Chelsea defence this weekend. He leads the Wigan squad for assists with 6 this season.
– Expect Arouna Kone to also pick up the ball and test the Chelsea defence this weekend, he’s 26 dribbles is the most of any Wigan player this season.
– Competitive midfielder James McCarthy is always looking to get involved in Wigan’s play. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s the central figure in their passing movements, having completed a squad-high 612 passes in the opponent’s half this season.
– Despite a couple of errors in recent weeks, Oman international Ali Al Habsi is usually a model of consistency between the Wigan sticks and is ranked 6th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for saves with 129.