Newcastle vs West Ham, Saturday 15:00
– Newcastle fell to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of a refreshed Man City side brimming with energy and creativity. Alan Pardew was quick to point out the unsettling effect of a late bid for midfielder Yohan Cabaye from Arsenal though and will be hoping for less distractions in his side’s preparation for this weekend.
– Unsurprising Tim Krul was amongst the most active keepers during last week’s round of fixtures, seeing his goal peppered by shots from the Man City forward line. The Dutchman ranks second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for saves with 7.
– In a game which saw City dominate possession for such lengthy spells, Moussa Sissoko still managed to get himself on the ball and completed a squad-high 19 passes in the opponent’s half at the Etihad.
– Although Newcastle had their backs against the wall for much of the match against City, midfield hard man Cheik Tiote clearly didn’t give up the ghost. His 12 defensive contributions was the joint second highest of any midfielder on the losing side in the last round.
– Bereft of possession and scoring opportunities, only Hatem Ben Arfa managed to carve out any chances against a dominant City defence. The elusive Frenchman got 2 attempts on goal away, although unfortunately both were off target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Ben Arfa is 12/5 with 888sport.com to find the back of the net at any time against the Hammers.
– West Ham got their season off to a flying start against Premier League newcomers Cardiff. A 2-0 win thanks to goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan will have sent confidence rocketing and Sam Allardyce will be looking for his side to keep their newfound momentum going when they travel north this weekend.
– Kevin Nolan will have been especially pleased to get on the scoresheet given his somewhat suspect accuracy in front of goal against the Gunners. Of all the players to score last weekend, he has the joint lowest percentage of shots on target (25%) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– However, Nolan does boast an impeccable defensive record after last weekend’s fixtures, being successful with both of his two attempted tackles and conceding no fouls. The former Newcastle man will have to be mindful of not letting his emotions get the best of him when he returns to his former club this weekend though, especially given his conceding an average of 1.8 fouls over his 35 appearance last season.
– Winston Reid quietly established a reputation as one of the league’s most underrated defenders last season and the New Zealand international wasted no time in picking up where he left off in May. Reid’s 15 defensive contributions was the second highest of any fullback in the league last weekend.
– Although he didn’t manage to have an attempt on goal, Modibo Maiga is certainly getting himself in all the right positions to make an impact. His 22 passes in the opponent’s half was the 3rd highest of any forward in the league last weekend according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Maiga is 13/5 to get himself on the scoresheet against Newcastle with 888sport.com.