FM

Oct 052013
 

Fulham vs Stoke, 15:00

– Yet more pressure was heaped on Fulham manager Martin Jol last weekend as his side lost 1-2 at home to Cardiff as their poor run of league form continues. Despite a fine goal from Bryan Ruiz, Fulham fans will be hoping for a turnaround in fortunes this weekend.

– Goals have been relatively hard to come by for Martin Jol’s side so far this season, but he will be keen to see his players simply start to get more attempts on goal before anything else. So far no Fulham player has broken into double-figures for shots on goal, with the entire squad combining for 39 shots with a collective return of 4 goals.

– Despite being 32 years old, Scott Parker may prove to be one of Fulham’s most important signings of recent times with the stability he brings to the Cottager’s midfield. He’s been showcasing the old adage that class is permanent, his 124 completed passes in the opponent’s half making him the joint second oldest player in the league to moved beyond the 120-pass barrier so far this season.

– Midfielder Patjim Kasami may have given away the joint 4th highest amount of fouls of any player in the league this season (14) but according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he also has a tackle success rate of 81.2% from 22 attempted challenges. One can only assume that if he stayed on his feet more, and was perhaps more measured in his approach when rushing opponents, his success rate would be even higher.

– Steve Sidwell is once again at the heart of Fulham’s defensive efforts this season, leading the squad for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) with 48 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

– A relatively lacklustre performance from Stoke saw them fall to a 0-1 defeat at home to Norwich, in a game where they managed to muster just one shot on target.

– Steven N’Zonzi is undoubtedly an integral component of the Stoke midfield and has the stats to prove it. So far this season he’s completed 206 passes in the opponent’s half, making him the only player in the top 12 of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in this category to come from a team outside of the top ten in the league.

– Defender Geoff Cameron has been showcasing some excellent form so far this season, the American international seemingly willing to adapt to Mark Hughes’ philosophy and push higher up the pitch when the opportunity presents itself. Only one other defender in the Premier League (Everton’s Seamus Coleman) has attempted more dribbles than Cameron’s current total of 11.

– Marc Wilson’s commitment to the Stoke cause is most certainly not in question with 39 tackles attempted so far this season, the third highest total in the league and an average of one every 13.8 minutes he’s been on the park. However he could perhaps do better to time these challenges better as he currently has the lowest tackle success rate of any player in the top ten on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles attempted with 56.4%.

– Normally relatively reliable in front of goal, Jonathan Walters has been surprisingly off-form when it comes to his shooting so far this season. So far only 37.5% of his 8 shots this term have tested the opposition keeper.

Check these betting websites if you are going to take a punt on one of the games mentioned in this article.

Aug 312013
 

Newcastle vs Fulham, 15:00

– As the uncertainty around star midfielder Yohan Cabaye’s future continued, his Newcastle teammates could only see their way to a 0-0 draw with West Ham, their first point of the season.

– Alan Pardew’s search for an extra striker to bolster his squad is clearly something of a priority and so it should be. His entire squad between them have so far only mustered 1 on target attempt on goal.

– Hatem Ben Arfa continues to be one of the few bright spots in what has been a turbulent and disappointing start to the season for Newcastle. He currently sits joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for attacking contributions with 14.

– Hard-tackling midfielder Cheick Tiote looks to have curbed his tendency towards giving away fouls this season, with a much more measured approach to his defensive work. The Ivory Coast international has so far given away no fouls this season and has won 60% of his five attempted challenges.

– A consolation goal from new signing Darren Bent was not enough to stop Fulham from dropping to a 1-3 defeat on a wet afternoon at Craven Cottage last Saturday.

– The acquisition of Scott Parker from Tottenham appears to have been a solid piece of footballing business by Fulham. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Parker has already completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 2.1 minutes this season, a better rate than anyone else in either the Fulham or Tottenham squad.

– Adel Taarabt looks like he is in the mood to take much of the creative pressure off the shoulders of Dimitar Berbatov this season, having already racked up a squad-high 11 attacking contributions for his new side (cross, assist, dribble, shot on target).

– Aaron Hughes’ 12 clearances was the 5th highest total of anyone in the league last weekend, the Northern Irishman taking on much of the burden of repelling the waves of Arsenal attacks last Saturday.

Aug 232013
 

Darren Bent has spilled the beans on the best gamers from his old team mates, and called out his new Fulham tam mates on FIFA in his exclusive column with AskMen.com, published just moments ago. Bent says:

“At Sunderland, the boys used to give David Meyler a lot of banter that he used to play Xbox so much that he thought he was actually playing in the game in training. To be fair, he was pretty good at FIFA… It’ll be very interesting to see which of my new team-mates at Fulham can offer me a challenge…”

In a column that’s bound to get gaming fans everywhere feeling nostalgic, new Fulham signing Darren Bent has also named Streets of Rage his favourite ever video game. Bent says:

“I’ve been into video games since I was really small. I had a Sega Master System, but it was when the Mega Drive launched that I became really hooked. That was just unbelievable. Streets of Rage was my favourite game and remains my all-time favourite. Even when all my mates transferred over to the Nintendo 64, I was still true to the Mega Drive and Streets of Rage. Those massive telephone boxes, beating up the baddies with the lamp posts and baseball bats; it was just the best by a mile. I honestly played that for about ten hours straight one day. My Mum had to take my Mega Drive away from me as I couldn’t stop playing it!”

Aug 232013
 

Fulham vs Arsenal, Saturday 12:45

– Patjim Kasami picked a good moment to score his first Fulham goal as his second half header earned Martin Jol’s side all three points on their opening day fixture.

– Brede Hangeland’s presence in the centre of defence will clearly once again be crucial to Fulham’s chances this year. The giant Norwegian centre half already leads the Fulham squad for clearances with 13.

– New signing Martin Stekelenburg will no doubt be hoping the relatively quiet introduction he got to Premier League life against Sunderland will continue this week. He only had to make two saves according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the second lowest of any keeper in the league and 3 less than the other keeper starting life with a new club in the Premier League, Simon Mignolet.

– Derek Boateng has already earmarked himself as Fulham’s potential midfield enforcer for this season, racking up 4 fouls in his first appearance.

– Arsenal’s season got off to the worst possible start as they fell to a 1-3 defeat to Aston Villa at The Emirates. Olivier Giroud’s well-taken goal had seemingly set the stage for the Gunners to dominate the match but a spirited fightback from Villa saw their afternoon end in disappointment and yet more pressure heaped on an embattled Arsene Wenger.

– Despite his expertly taken goal, Olivier Giroud struggled to consistently test Brad Guzan last weekend. He scored with his only on-target attempt on goal, being off-target with the other 75%.

– Although Arsenal fans are desperate for Wenger to spend before the close of the window, one area where they do have relative strength in depth is in creative midfielders. Despite coming out on the wrong end of 1-3 home defeat last weekend, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey still placed 2nd and 4th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed inside the opponent’s half, with 54 and 52 respectively.

– The loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the near future to a knee injury deprives Arsenal of one of their gamer-changers and Arsene Wenger will be concerned about losing the attacking purpose the Ox brings to the team. The young winger took on Villa with a joint squad-high 4 dribbles and the Gunners will miss his surges forward in the coming weeks.

– Key in replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain’s attacking instincts will be Tomas Rosicky who already leads his colleagues for attacking contributions with 7 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance. This is despite being the oldest member of the Arsenal squad.

Jul 092013
 

Less than a week after Fulham confirmed that Mark Schwarzer would not be signing a contract renewal, in a bid for first team football, it appears as though he has signed for Chelsea.

Fulham signed Maarten Stekelenburg from Roma in June, meaning Schwarzer moved down in pecking order, so was released by the club when his contract expired.

If Schwarzer wants first team football he will have to displace Petr Cech from the starting XI, which is obviously highly unlikely.

Chelsea fans will likely be pleased with this deal though after their club offered £6m to sign John Ruddy from Norwich yesterday. Schwarzer, particularly on a free, is a considerably better bit of business.

May 192013
 

Swansea v Fulham 16:00

 

- Swansea were not able to spoil Sir Alex Ferguson’s Old Trafford farewell. Despite yet another Michu goal, they fell to a 2-1 defeat on the great man’s final home appearance.

 

- Wayne Routledge gave the United defence a torrid time last weekend utilising his pace and movement to excellent effect. Its therefore unsurprising to see him rack up such impressive figures on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Routledge having completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 4.4 minutes, as well as dribbling 27 times this season.

 

- Michu was once again the man Swansea turned to get them out of trouble on Sunday, the Spaniard seeming to have an innate knack of popping up at crucial moments. He has been a sight to behold at times during his debut season in the Premier League, managing to work an attempt on goal on average once every 30.7 minutes this campaign.

 

- At just 20 years of age Ben Davies has had a season to be proud of after being called up for an extended run in the first team. Not only does the youngster have the best tackle success rate of any Swansea player with 72.7% from 88 attempted challenges, Davies has also made 239 defensive contributions this term, the third highest in the Swans’ squad.

 

- Fulham’s poor run of form continued as they were well beaten 1-3 by Liverpool at Craven Cottage, Dimitar Berbatov’s first half goal providing scant consolation.

 

- Berbatov’s goal will have come as a relief to the Bulgarian striker who was on something of a barren run before Sunday. Berbatov has not had the run of luck in front of goal he would have liked but has still managed to establish a solid shot accuracy rate of 61.8% from 76 attempts on goal this season. This combined with Berbatov’s talent meant it was only a matter of time before he got himself back on the score sheet.

 

- Full back Sascha Riether has been one of the real positives for Fulham fans this season, making an immediate impact and looking perfectly at home in the Premier League. He will likely also end the season as Fulham’s most successful defender, having so far come out on top with 76.7% of his 73 attempted tackles.

 

- Despite often being referred to as a striker, Bryan Ruiz has often been willing to drop off to receive the ball in deeper positions this season. Indeed his 659 completed passes in the opponent’s half, as registered by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, are indicative of his role as more of a number 10 this term. Swansea will be looking to cut off Fulham’s attacks at their source by limiting Ruiz’s time on the ball as much as possible.

May 122013
 

Fulham v Liverpool, 15:00

– Fulham are five points clear of the relegation zone with two games to play, but need to be cautious of complacency after relegated Reading beat them 4-2 last weekend.

– Two goals from Bryan Ruiz were not enough to distract from the fact that Fulham now have just one point from six games, and still have an outside chance of being dragged into the relegation fight.

– However, Fulham fans can take heart that against a different keeper the scoreline could have been different. Alex McCarthy made 13 saves against Fulham, the most by any keeper in the last round of games.

– At their own defensive end, Aaron Hughes holds the second cleanest defensive record in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, having averaged 541 minutes and 15 seconds between fouls this season, committing just four in total.

– Brede Hangeland, meanwhile, is one of five players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have made 200 or more interceptions so far this season. Hangeland has 203 to his name in total. Hangeland is also ranked third for blocks with 37 this season, and second overall for defensive contributions with 338.

– Behind Hangeland, Mark Schwarzer will become the third goalkeeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to make 200 saves this season. He’s made 199 to date.

– Liverpool battled out a 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby in their last league outing.

– Pepe Reina can be thanked for keeping a clean sheet in that game, making 12 saves in total, the second busiest keeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the last round of games.

– Glen Johnson has impressed going forward this season, but he may wish to concentrate on setting up colleagues rather than going for goal. He has the most ‘expensive’ goal in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, having required 44 shots at goal to score once, more than any of the other players in the Premier League to be stuck on one goal.

– That’s 8 more shots at goal than any other defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, ahead of second placed Daniel Agger who has had 36 shots at goal in total, scoring three goals in the process.

– Liverpool’s defenders may feel they can get forward and have an attempt on goal with a midfielder of the defensive quality of Lucas in front of them. Lucas is one of 22 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have attempted 100 or more tackles this season, and one of five to have done so maintaining a tackles won percentage of 60% or over (62.1%).

– Even more impressive is how quickly Lucas has got to that milestone. He has attempted 100 tackles in just 1862 minutes this season. To put that in context, Lucas has made 111 tackles in 1862 minutes, while Mohamed Diame of West Ham, who has made the next highest number of tackles, has taken 759 minutes longer to attempt just two more tackles.

May 042013
 

Fulham v Reading, 15:00 

 

- Fulham left Merseyside with nothing last weekend following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Everton at Goodison Park. 

 

- Hugo Rodallega continues to compile some impressive figures this season, despite spending the large majority of it in the shadow of the in-form Dimitar Berbatov. The Colombian front man has the best shooting accuracy rate in the Fulham squad, managing to get 68.1% of his 47 efforts on target, at an average rate of one every 48.8 minutes. 

 

- Midfielder Steven Sidwell remains the Cottagers most enthusiastic defender this season, racking up a squad-high 127 attempted challenges this term nearly double that of his nearest team mate (Sascha Reither – 69). However Sidwell has also concede the greatest number of fouls in the Fulham squad at 51. He must keep his defending tight to prevent the ball from returning to a Reading side with nothing to lose this weekend. 

 

- Although noted for his finishing ability, Bryan Ruiz has been highly effective in his link-up play this season. He’s completed 588 passes in the opponent’s half this season, at an average rate of one every 3.9 minutes. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this is the third best rate of any striker in the Premier League to have broken the 500-pass barrier so don’t be surprised if he registers an assist this weekend. 

 

- Reading’s fate was confirmed for next season as they were relegated to the Championship along with fellow bottom side QPR following a 0-0 draw last weekend. 

 

- Captain Jobi McAnuff will want his Reading side to finish the season on a high for the sake of the fans after a disappointing season which resulted in their relegation from the top flight. Expect him to be driving their  play forward against Reading, especially given his record of providing more attacking contributions (assists, shots on target, crosses or dribbles) that any other Royals player this season with 139. 

 

- A lack of goals has been one of the key factors in Reading’s drop to the Championship for next season, which makes it difficult to understand why leading goalscorer Adam Le Fondre hasn’t featured more as a regular starter. Despite having a slightly wasteful 47.7% shot accuracy rate from 44 attempts, Le Fondre has still managed to get a shot on target on average once every 35.5 minutes. That this is the best rate in the Reading squad becomes even more impressive when you consider that most of Le Fondre’s appearances this season have come as a second-half substitute. 

 

- Although their defence has at times been found wanting this term, Adrian Mariappa has certainly put in his fair share of shifts at the back. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s made a squad-leading 316 defensive contributions this season (block, clearance, interceptions, successful tackles), at an average rate of one every 8.2 minutes, another squad-best.

Apr 272013
 

Everton v Fulham, 15:00

 

- Everton’s European ambitions took a major dent last weekend as they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

 

- Much of the goal-scoring pressure for the remainder of this season will continue to fall on the shoulders of Victor Anichebe. Whilst his strength often helps him to carve out chances for others, he has been equally as effective when fashioning shooting attempts for himself as well. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index Anichebe has the best minute to shot ratio in the Toffees’ squad, taking on average just 32.5 minutes to have an attempt of goal when he’s been on the field of play.

 

- Kevin Mirallas is another who has been in inspired form in recent weeks, proving to be yet another bargain find who has the quality to shine in the Premier League by David Moyes. The Belgian forward has the best shot accuracy rate in the entire Everton squad, at 73.7% from 57 attempts.

 

- However such attacking talents would not be able to flourish without consistency at the back and that is exactly what Phil Jagielka has brought to the table this season. The centre-back has had a towering season from a defensive perspective, establishing the best tackle success rate (83.6% from 67 challenges) for any player in the league who has made more than 65 tackles.

 

- Marint Jol’s Fulham suffered a 0-1 defeat at home to Arsenal last time out, a result that will have frustrated fans and players alike given that the Cottagers were the better side for large parts of the game.

 

- Steve Sidwell’s dismissal last weekend was an unfortunate summary of his defensive track record for his season so far. His defensive ill-discipline has been letting him down this season, demonstrated by the fact that he currently sits 7th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for midfielders to have committed the most fouls this season with 51.

 

- Despite finding game time somewhat limited this season, Mladen Petric has excelled when he has found himself involved. He has the best minutes to on-target ratio of any player in the Fulham squad, mustering up an effort to test the keeper on average once every 46 minutes, proving that there is life beyond Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodellaga.

 

- Brede Hangeland remains Fulham’s defensive titan this season and will need to be at the peak of his powers against an Everton side pushing for European qualification. The giant centre-half has taken on average just 8.9 minutes to make a defensive contribution this season.

 

Apr 192013
 

Fulham v Arsenal, Saturday 15:00

 

Fulham were soundly beaten 0-3 by a resurgent Chelsea side at Craven Cottage in midweek, the Cottagers falling victim to some clinical attacking from the Blues.

 

– Even at 34 years of age, Damien Duff remains a force to be reckoned with on the Fulham flank. Duff has now delivered 48 crosses this season, which, according to the EA SPORTS Premier League Index is the highest in the Premier League squad and also makes him the old player to have surpassed the 40 cross-mark this campaign.

 

– Fulham will need Brede Hangeland’s steady influence this weekend against an Arsenal side packed with attacking talents. Hangeland has registered 175 interceptions this season, one every 15.9 minutes, and you can expect this number to rocket given the Gunners’ tendency to engage in intricate passing moves around the opposition box.

 

– Although regarded as an out-and-out striker, Bryan Ruiz has demonstrated a distinctive ability to drop back and receive the ball in the pocket before taking on opposition defenders with their backs to goal. Ruiz has now racked up a squad-high 17 dribbles and 8 assists, highlighting his importance as a another attacking option to Dimitar Berbatov.

 

Arsenal’s winning run of form was halted on Tuesday evening as they played out a goalless draw with Fulham. They could have claimed another three points though had several of their players not been somewhat wasteful with the chances presented to them in front of goal.

 

– Club captain Thomas Vermaelen may have been struggling for form in recent weeks but his commitment has certainly not dipped. No Arsenal player has been more willing to throw his body in the line of fire than Vermaelen, his 16 blocks the highest in the Gunners’ squad. His passion and leadership could well be key for Arsenal in what will no doubt be a tense London derby with Champions League implications.

 

– Arsene Wenger admitted this week that he had perhaps rushed Jack Wilshere back into action prematurely in recent weeks. However the Frenchman can be forgiven for wanting his star player back in action, given the level of influence Wilshere has on proceedings when on the field. He is the youngest man in the top 10 players for lowest minutes per pass rate according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (2.51). Wilshere has also completed more dribbles than any other member of the same top 10 (19) showing his willingness to drive play forward rather than playing the safe pass.

 

Lukas Podolski will be desperate to get on the pitch and show his manager what he is capable of this weekend, giving a frustrating run of starting on the bench. Podolski clearly has the skill to trouble Fulham should he get the chance to play a role, his 71.4% shot accuracy rate from 42 attempts the best in the Arsenal squad.

Apr 172013
 

Fulham v Chelsea, 20:00 

 

- Fulham could only battle to a 1-1 draw as they were held by a battling Aston Villa side on Saturday. 

 

- The news of Brede Hangeland’s new contract will have been greeted with great enthusiasm by Fulham fans, the physical centre-half forming the bedrock of their defensive unit. The 6ft 6in giant has plenty of skill to match his physique and his 297 defensive contributions this season stand as testament to the Norwegian’s immense value to Martin Jol’s side. 

 

- His defensive colleague Sascha Riether has been a classy foil to Hangeland’s brawn, the German adapting superbly to the Premier League this season. Not only does he have the best tackle success rate in the Fulham squad (76.5% from 68 challenges), he’s also completed the third highest number of passes in the opponent’s half for the Cottagers (508). 

 

- Steve Sidwell has served as Fulham’s enforcer in the midfield this season, a role he has apparently not taken lightly. He’s completed the second highest number of tackle for any player in the league this season, with 126 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. 

 

- Chelsea secured a 2-1 victory over Sunderland last time out in the Premier League but will be stinging after they exited the FA Cup on Sunday courtesy of a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at Wembley. 

 

- Demba Ba delivered yet another stunning goal against City on Sunday to further underline the quality he brings to the Stamford Bridge outfit. Ba’s deceptive moment, and obvious physical strength, help to manoevure the Frenchman into numerous scoring positions as evidenced by the fact that he now stands the only Chelsea player to have had more than 100 shots on goal this season (103). 

 

- Fellow striker Fernando Torres has been enjoying something of a revival in form in recent weeks, a upturn in fortunes that mirrors his standing on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Torres has the best shot accuracy rate in the Chelsea squad this season for players with more than 10 shots on goal (67.3%), something his detractors should bear in mind the next time they seek to criticise the much maligned Spanish international.   

 

- The scoreline could have made far worse reading had it not been for some smart interventions by the ever-consistent Petr Cech. Indeed, Chelsea’ number one has been in fine form for the entirety of this campaign, his 161 saves crucial to Chelsea’s hope of securing European football next season. 


Apr 132013
 

Aston Vila v Fulham, 15:00

 

– A contender for goal of the season from Matthew Lowton helped Aston Villa to a 1-3 win over Stoke as Paul Lambert’s side strode towards a desperately needed three points last weekend.

 

Matthew Lowton’s wondergoal last weekend certainly showcased his ability in the attacking third but it is in his own half that he has been leaving his stamp on Aston Villa’s season. He sits second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles attempted with 103, coming out on top in an impressive 73.8% of them.

 

– Keeper Brad Guzan may have been left exposed at times this season but he has been repeatedly rising to the threats posed on his goal. He has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season with 204, remaining the only keeper so far to have broken the 200-save barrier.

 

– Retaining the services of Christian Benteke will be crucial to Aston Villa’s hopes for success next season, no matter which league they find themselves competing in. The Belgian hitman has been by far and away Villa’s most potent threat in front of goal. He’s racked up an impressive 70.9% shot accuracy rate from 93 attempts, meaning he’s had a shot on target on average once every 27.8 minutes he’s been on the field this season.

 

– A goal at the death denied Fulham a point as they fell to a 0-1 defeat away to Newcastle last weekend.

 

– Martin Jol this week hailed the impact of Giorgos Karagounis and the Greek midfielder has the stats to back up this praise from his manager. He’s been important in breaking up the play in the Fulham midfield this season, completing 68.8% of his 45 attempted challenges according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

– The mercurial talents of Dimitar Berbatov have been central to Fulham’s attack this season, the Bulgarian international being given a free rein at Craven Cottage to express his full range of talents. He has the best minutes per shot tally in the Fulham squad, firing at effort goalwards on average every 39.2 minutes.

 

Phillippe Senderos recently signed a contract extension at Craven Cottage and has been putting in some solid performances to help earn himself a new deal. He’s so far compiled a record of 75 interceptions and 20 clearances for the Cottagers this season.

Mar 152013
 

Tottenham v Fulham, Sunday 15:00

 

Spurs run of incredible form was brought to an end by the Premier League’s other form team Liverpool last weekend. Two goals from Jan Vertonghen, both supplied by Gareth Bale crosses, wasn’t enough to earn a point for Spurs in that game.

 

Verthonghen now has three goals in the Premier League this season, a healthier return than the one he had prior to the game based on the number of efforts he has had on goal. Only David Luiz has had more efforts at goal from the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s centre backs than Vertonghen, and he has also played in central midfield. Vertonghen has had 28 efforts at goal with an impressive 19 on target (67.8%), compared to Luiz’s 37 shots with just 51.3% on target.

 

Vertonghen has also impressed defensively, winning 76.6% of the 77 tackles he has attempted. That’s the fourth highest among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s defenders who have attempted 50 tackles or more.

 

– As well as supplying both assists, Bale had six efforts at goal himself against Liverpool, a figure bettered only by Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez in the last round of games.

 

Moussa Dembele has quickly established himself as a key part of this successful Spurs team, complimenting the flair of Bale by closing down opposition defenders. No other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has won as many tackles as Dembele, who has won 48 tackles, 21 more than the next ranked striker.

 

Fulham’s last game was a 2-2 draw with Sunderland, thanks to goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Sascha Riether

 

Berbatov’s goal was his tenth of the season, making him one of 19 players to have hit that milestone, while he has taken the 6th fewest efforts at goal to get there with 57.

 

Riether has impressed getting forward this season, and has completed 436 passes in the opposition half, averaging one every 5 minutes 42 seconds, while also delivering 49 crosses and contributing 4 assists.

 

Riether has also won an impressive 75.4% of his 61 attempted tackles this season, the 5th best tackles won percentage among players attempting 50 tackles or more this season.

 

Brede Hangeland has also enjoyed a dominant season in defence for Fulham, making 232 defensive contributions in total including 25 blocks and 122 interceptions

Mar 012013
 

Sunderland v Fulham 15:00

 

Sunderland are five points clear of the relegation zone, despite losing 2-1 to West Brom in their last Barclays Premier League outing. Stephane Sessegnon hit the target in that game.

 

Sessegnon also completed 6 dribbles in the game. Only two players have completed more than six dribbles in a game this season – Sergio Aguero v QPR and Luis Suarez v Norwich, and Sessegnon also sits third overall for dribbles in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

Sessegnon’s skill on the ball is well complimented by a tough tackling midfield. James Mclean has attempted 98 tackles this season, the 5th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He has the best percentage of tackles won in the top ten most prolific tackles with an impressive 66.3%.

 

– Meanwhile Craig Gardner leads the Premier League’s midfielders in interceptions (109), blocks (15) and clearances (30).

 

Simon Mignolet was named North East Football Writers Player of the Year last week for a series of impressive performances for the Black Cats. He has made the second highest number of saves in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 153. Just behind him in third place is his opposite number today Mark Schwarzer, who has made 150 saves this season.

 

Fulham beat Stoke 1-0 in their last game thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov volley from Sascha Riether’s cross.

 

Reither is in the top 20 crossers of the ball in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, having delivered 49 so far this season. That’s the 19th highest overall and 5th highest by a full back.

 

Berbatov’s goal was his 9th of the season, coming from 54 efforts at a rate of exactly 6 shots per goal. He is also ranked third among the Premier League’s strikers for passes completed in the opposition half, with 554.

 

Berbatov has made the second highest number of interceptions among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s strikers, with 49, just one behind last week’s opponent Jonathan Walters.

Feb 092013
 

Norwich v Fulham 15:00

 

Norwich battled to a 0-0 draw over QPR last weekend, the Canaries often thwarted by the inspired brilliance of Julio Cesar in the Rangers goal. The result moves Norwich further away from the relegation dogfight, but Chris Hughton will still be seeking more ruthlessness in front of goal this weekend.

 

– According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, last weekend Robert Snodgrass became the first player in the Premier League to deliver 100 crosses, beating Leighton Baines by a single delivery.

 

– The importance of the midfielder to Chris Hughton’s side cannot be understated at the moment, given his position as the central creative figure in the team.  He leads the statistics for this Norwich side on numerous fronts, including completing more passes in the opponent’s half than any of his teammates (538), as well as more dribbles (17) and more assists (4).

 

Sebastian Bassong remains crucial to the Norwich cause this season, flourishing after an extended run of first team football. He has made 63 clearances this season, second only to Leighton Baines, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

– The class of Anthony Pilkington moving forward has been on display numerous times this season, but he is proving himself equally adept when it comes to tracking back. His 73% tackle success rate from 26 attempts is the highest in the Norwich squad.

 

– Fulham fell to a 0-1 defeat at home to Manchester United last weekend, a late winner depriving Martin Jol’s side of what would have been a deserved point.  Despite being exposed at times by the league leaders, Fulham had their fair share of chances and will be looking to pounce on any opportunity in front of goal against Norwich.

 

Dimitar Berbatov inevitably grabs most of the headlines for Fulham, but his strike partner Bryan Ruiz has been putting in some more than noteworthy performance recently too. He is currently joint seventh on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for assists with 7.

 

Sascha Reither has also been rightly garnering the plaudits this season, the unheralded signing adapting quickly to life in the Premier League. The German defender has delivered more crosses than any other member of the Fulham squad with 45 and has the second highest tackle success rate amongst right-backs in the Premier League with 76.6.%.

 

– The defensive pairing of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes have been combining for some impressive performance this season. Betwenn the two of them they have amassed an incredible 242 interceptions and 36 blocks.

 

– Despite only playing minutes this season, Iranian striker Ashkan Dejagah is already proving himself suited to life in the Premier League. He’s either completed a pass in the opponent’s half or dribbled with the ball once every 4.2 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Jan 302013
 

Fulham v West Ham, 20:00

 

Fulham will be looking to bounce back from their last Premier League outing which saw them fall to a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City.

 

Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell is enjoying his role as a key part of the Fulham midfield this season. Sidwell has won 62 tackles this season, the joint second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

 

Overall Sidwell has contributed defensively every 10 minutes 28 seconds this season, the best rating of any midfielder in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. As well as his excellent tackling rate, Sidwell has also contributed 15 clearances, 77 interceptions, and 6 blocks.

 

West Ham will also be looking to forget their last league outing which saw them lose 5-1 to a rampant Arsenal side. A solitary Jack Collison strike was scant consolation for the Irons in that game

 

Irish defender Joey O’Brien is one of three West Ham players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s Top 100 players. O’Brien has made 89 defensive contributions this season across tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks, averaging one every 16 minutes 14 seconds

 

O’Brien could still, however, tighten up on his tackling as he’s won just 48.9% of the 45 tackles he has attempted this season

 

Goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, meanwhile, is one of eight goalkeepers now in the Premier League to have made over 100 saves. Jaaskelainen has made 103 saves overall, conceding 33 goals at a rate of 3.12 saves per goal.

Jan 192013
 
Man City v Fulham, Saturday 3pm

Manchester City kept within touching distance of league leaders Manchester with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend

Edin Dzeko and James Milner were on target for the blues in that game. Dzeko’s tenth of the season means he is now averaging a goal every 96 minutes and 30 seconds, a rate bettered only by Manchester rival Chicarito Hernandez who averages one every 82 minutes 23 seconds

Milner is traditionally one of City’s hardest working players and he didn’t disappoint against Arsenal, covering 7.3 miles in the game, more than any other player on the pitch and the sixth most by a single player in a game this season.

Vincent Kompany was also in the headlines this week after his red card in the Arsenal game was reversed by the FA. Kompany has been a key part of the City team this season, making 112 defensive contributions this season including 33 tackles won, 24 clearances, 47 interceptions and 8 blocksbi, more than any other Man City player

Fulham earnt a point against Wigan in their last game thanks to a stunning 25 yard strike by Giorgios Karagounis

Karagounis, who is 35, showed he is still as competitive as ever with an all action display that saw him cover 6.33 miles, the second highest total of the Fulham team after Bryan Ruiz who covered 6.63 miles

Fulham fans have been calling for a new striker, but in new summer signing Mladen Petric they have one of the league’s best finishers, averaging a goal every 134 minutes this season, the 8th best in the league and better than the likes of Luis Suarez and Demba Ba

On loan Sascha Riether has excelled in defence for Fulham this season as the Cottagers had to cope without Brede Hangeland in the early part of the season. Riether has won an incredible 76.47% of the 51 tackles he has attempted this season, making 137 defensive contributions in total averaging one every 14 minutes 35 seconds