Newcastle vs Liverpool, Saturday 15:00
– Both Brendan Rodgers and Alan Pardew may have been fretting over any injuries their players could have picked up in the international break, but their minds will have quickly turned to the threat that the opposing strikers hold in this weekend’s game.
– By examining the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index it isn’t hard to see why Alan Pardew is so keen to sign up on-loan striker Loic Remy. Remy has scored the second most goals in the league, and at the weekend he took 4 shots – hitting the target every single time. No other player took as many shots without missing.
– The Geordies suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Cardiff, but Mike Williamson shouldn’t be considered too much at fault for this. The centre half made 24 defensive contributions (based on tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks) against the Bluebirds, the third most in the league.
– Alan Pardew has made his feelings clear on the mercurial nature of Hatem Ben Arfa, both brilliant but frustrating in equal measure. Ben Arfa has, however, shown his eye for goal this season, as no other Newcastle player has taken as many shots as Ben Arfa’s 15.
– Davide Santon’s move to Newcastle was one that surprised some, with many observers predicting a bright future for the Italian youngster. Inter Milan may have felt that Santon hadn’t progressed in the way they’d have liked, but their loss has most certainly been Newcastle’s gain. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that the left back has made 18 interceptions this season – the fifth most in the league.
– Sitting ahead of him in fourth is teammate Mathieu Debuchy. The French right back has made an impressive 20 interceptions so far this campaign.
– Brendan Rodgers’ creative 3-5-2 formation looks to be a real winning formula, with the Sturridge/Suarez pairing combining to guide Liverpool to a 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace.
– Sturridge leads the goalscoring charts in the Premier League this season, and this is partly down to his shooting accuracy. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the striker has hit the target in an impressive 60% of his attempts.
– Steven Gerrard gained plaudits for his leadership in England’s final two qualifying fixtures, and his ability to lead from the front was also evident against Crystal Palace as he made a total of 47 attacking contributions (based on shots, crosses, dribbles and passes in the opposition half). This was the fourth most in the league.
– The Liverpool skipper’s passing was particularly impressive, as he completed a pass in the opposition half every 2 minutes.
– A key attribute to Luis Suarez’s swashbuckling style of play is his ability to glide past defenders. He may have returned to Liverpool’s team a short time ago, but he evidently isn’t rusty in this department as he completed 5 dribbles against Crystal Palace, the third most in the league.
– A real selection headache for Brendan Rodgers is who to select at the heart of his defence, with numerous centre backs making a case for inclusion. Martin Skrtel need look no further than his clearing statistics, as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows he has made 53 clearances – more than any other Liverpool player.