Sep 012013

West Brom vs Swansea 13:30


– Neither of these two teams have had the best of starts to the season, with neither team managing to get any wins on the board. Swansea’s Jose Canas shouldn’t shoulder too much of the blame for this, as, according to EA Sports Player Performance Index, he made 6 interceptions against Tottenham – only Fabian Delph made more.


– Swansea may have struggled for goals so far this season but it is difficult to say that they have been short of service. The Spaniard Pablo Hernandez has whipped in 3 crosses so far this season, the third most of any midfielder.


Ashley Williams may have gained most of the plaudits over the last couple of seasons for his ability to marshall the Swansea defence, but credit shouldn’t be taken away from his centre half partner Chico Flores. Over the course of the first couple of games, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has shown that Flores has made 25 clearances. Tied third in the league.


– West Brom may have conceded only one goal in their opening two fixtures, but Graham Dorrans will have to improve his tackling to ensure that this solid defence is maintained. The Scottish midfielder has lost 7 tackles this season, the third most in the league.


– Last season the big boys came knocking for Jonas Olsson, and his defensive contributions so far this season demonstrate why. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Swede has made 25 clearances, tied with Swansea’s Chico Flores.


– It is not only the heart of the Baggies defence which has proved resilient this year, as Billy Jones made his mark on Saturday too. His total of 4 blocks was more than any other player in the league.


– The news that Ben Foster is out for 3 months is a catastrophic blow to the Baggies chances of improving on their eighth place finish that they achieved last year. The English number 2 has made 9 saves so far this season, with only Asmir Begovic making more.


– Sitting in front of the back four, Claudio Yacob has also played his part in ensuring that West Brom’s defence has remained resolute. Winning a total of 10 tackles has meant that he has made the fourth most in the league, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Aug 252013

Tottenham vs Swansea – Sunday, 16:00

As the Premier League’s sole representatives in the Europa League this year prepare to lock horns, it is likely that the Spanish strikers on either side will be the focus of attention.

Spanish sensation Michu made an instant impact in his first season in Britain, finding the net eighteen times. His ability to find the target was evident again on Saturday as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Swansea’s Spanish star had 3 shots on target after the first round of fixtures – the third most in the league.

Another Swansea Spaniard that Tottenham should be wary of is José Cañas. After coming off the bench in the thirteenth minute, the Spanish maestro completed 44 passes in the opposition half – the seventh most of any midfielder in the Premier League. The closest a Tottenham midfielder came to matching this was Aaron Lennon, who completed 31 passes – 26th in the last round of games.

Fresh from completing his move to the Swans, Jonjo Shelvey made an instant impression. Despite suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the champions, according to the EA Sports Player Performance Index, Shelvey swung in 4 crosses, the third most in the league.

Likewise, left-back Ben Davies finished fourth in the number of crosses category, as he crossed the ball a total of 3 times. This was the second highest by a defender, as only Leighton Baines crossed the ball more (5)

Wilfred Bony may have opened his Premier League account against Manchester United at the weekend, but he still proved to be fairly wasteful in front of goal. His total of 3 shots off target was third-equal highest in the league.

Swansea may have conceded four goals at the weekend, but it would be tough to put too much blame at the feet of Chico Flores. With a total of 11 clearances, the Spaniard made the sixth most at the weekend.

Tottenham’s goal scoring feats are expected to rest heavily on Roberto Soldado’s shoulders, with the Spanish striker expected to operate as Andre Villas-Boas’ lone striker. Goals are expected to come from the midfield too and Nacer Chadil will be expected to improve his shooting accuracy, as, much like Wilfred Bony, he also had 3 shots off target in his first outing of the season.

Swansea won plaudits last season for their slick short-passing style of play, however they must be wary of Tottenham’s Etiene Capoue this weekend. Despite only featuring for 33 minutes, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has shown that the French defensive midfielder made 6 interceptions against Crystal Palace – the most in the league.

Tottenham made a habit of breaking up the play against Crystal Palace, as in addition to Capoue, both Paulinho and Jan Vertonghen were in the top 15 players who made interceptions, intercepting the ball 3 and 4 times respectively.

Since ousting Brad Friedel as Tottenham’s goalkeeper last season, Hugo Lloris has justified AVB’s faith in him with a number of top quality performances. This was no different on Saturday as by making 3 saves, he made the most saves in the league without conceding a goal.

Kyle Walker has earned a reputation as an attacking full back over the past couple of seasons. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates why this reputation was gained, as his 5 dribbles were the second highest number of dribbles in the league, and the highest of any defender.

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 102013

Manchester Utd v Swansea, Sunday 16:00


– Manchester United fans will be in line for a memorable afternoon on Sunday as Sir Alex Ferguson takes charge of Manchester United at Old Trafford for the last time. The Scot has led United to their 20th league title this season, but even with the thought of a well earned retirement you can bet his United team will be as determined as ever to win against Swansea after suffering a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in their last run out.


– Nemanja Vidic has been one of Ferguson’s most celebrated signings at Old Trafford, and he again proved his worth against Chelsea making 24 interceptions, the highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the last round of games, and ranked 15th highest by a player in a game this season.


– One of Ferguson’s best qualities as a manager is the work ethic he instills in his players, and one reflection of that is in Robin van Persie. Van Persie is not only leading the Premier League’s goal scoring charts this season, he has also made more clearances than any other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 31.


– Patrice Evra has been a stand out performer for Manchester United this season, winning 64.1% of his 82 tackles, and completing 624 passes in the opposition half and delivering 42 crosses, notching up 6 assists and 4 goals.


– In the opposite full back slot, Rafael has answered critics with a solid season, making 111 defensive contributions including 52 interceptions and winning 49 of 82 attempted tackles, while also completing 531 passes in the opposition half, enough to feature in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top ten defenders for passes.


– Sir Alex’s retirement may impact on today’s opponents in more ways than one, as Michael Laudrup is one name linked to taking over at Everton when David Moyes moves to Old Trafford.


– Swansea face United on a good run, after holding Manchester City to a 0-0 draw and then defeating Wigan in a trilling 3-2 victory, thanks to goals from Angel Rangel, Itay Schechter and Dwight Tendalli.


– In a high scoring game it seems odd to single out a defender for praise, but Ashley Williams again showed his value to Swansea by making four crucial blocks, the joint highest by a player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in the last round of games.


– The impressiveness of Williams’ defensive performance this season is made all the more clear when you consider that he has made 388 defensive contributions this season across tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances. That’s 50 more than his nearest rival, Fulham’s Brede Hangeland.


– His defensive partner Chico also attempted his 100th tackle of the season in the last round of games. He is one of 22 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have attempted 100 tackles or more this season, winning 68% of them (one of only five players from the 22 who have hit the 100 tackle milestone and maintained a tackles won percentage of 60% or over)

May 032013

Swansea v Manchester City, Saturday 15:00 


Swansea remain on course for a top ten finish, despite suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in their last game. 


Despite that scoreline, Chico put in an admirable defensive effort, being one of only two players in the last round of games to attempt seven tackles. The other was his opposite number last weekend, David Luiz. Chico was also one of only three players to make three blocks in the last round of games. Overall he made 25 defensive contributions, the joint highest for the last round of games alongside Luiz. 


– Michael Laudrup has stated that he accepts some of his best players may leave in the summer, with Michu, Michel Vorm and Ashley Williams all linked to moves away. 


Michu has 17 goals this season, coming from 98 shots at goal and averaging a goal for every 5.76 shots and every 172 minutes 21 seconds. As impressively, Michu will, against Man City, join the 17 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index who have attempted 100 or more tackles this season. Michu has attempted 99 tackles, and while he has won just 41% of those attempted his tenacity in trying to win back the ball should be admired. 


Retaining the services of loanee Jonathan de Guzman on a permanent basis remains a priority for Swansea ahead of next season. All being well, Swansea fans can expect to see de Guzman have his 50th effort at goal this season against City, and hopefully add to his tally of five goals. De Guzman has had 49 efforts at goal to date, with 26 of those on target. 


Manchester City may have surrendered the Premier League title to neighbours Manchester United, but they showed great character to bounce back and beat West Ham 2-1, thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure. 


City’s dominance against West Ham is evident when you note that three of the top four players last weekend for passes completed in the opposition half were City players. Yaya Toure completed 66 passes in opposition territory, Samir Nasri 50, and David Silva 42. 


Yaya Toure’s performance ranks as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s 7th highest number of passes in opposition territory by a player in a single game this season, and he now holds three of the top ten passing performances this season.  


Aguero’s goal was his 11th of the season, coming from 72 shots at goal with 58.3% on target and averaging 6.54 shots per goal.

Apr 282013

Chelsea v Swansea, 15:00

Oscar and Eden Hazard struck for Chelsea in a match which they could only emerge from with a point following a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.


– Despite the headlines being about his incident with Luis Suarez, Branislav Ivanovic has had a stellar season that deserves headlines in its own right. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Ivanovic has completed 214 defensive contributions and 119 interceptions (both squad highs), as well as establishing a tackle success rate of 67.7% from 62 attempted challenges.


Fernando Torres indicated this week that he has no intention of leaving Chelsea in the summer and instead intends to stay and fight for his place. Despite the Spaniard coming in for his fair share of criticism this season, Torres has been once of Chelsea’s most consistent attacking threats. Although the goals have not been coming as naturally for him as in previous season, he is still making all the right moves, on average managing to a shot on once every 46.2 minutes, with a solid shot accuracy rate of 65.4% from 55 attempts.


– With the season nearing it’s end and awards soon to be handed out, it will be difficult to look past the superb Juan Mata. The Spanish wizard has been in sublime form this season, leading the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for assists (16), as well as completing a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 2.5 minuets he’s been on the pitch.


– Despite dominating for large parts of the match, Swansea could only muster a point in a 0-0 draw against a determined Southampton side.


– Swansea will have prepared this week knowing full well that they will be tested heavily by a Chelsea side brimming with attacking talent. Leading the charge to repel these challenges will undoubtedly be Ashley Williams. The Welsh captain has been in outstanding defensive form this season, completing more interceptions and more blocks than anyone else in the league with 225 and 42 respectively.


– Expect Wayne Routledge to have a crucial role to play in the final few weeks of the season. He’s been one of Swansea’ primary creative outlets this term, racking up 6 assists to complement his 537 successful passes in the opponent’s half for Michael Laudrup’s side.


– With Michu dominating the headlines throughout this season, it could be easy to overlook the efforts of Luke Moore, who has also been in solid form in front of goal. He has the best shot accuracy rate of anyone in the Swansea squad, with 83.3% of his 18 efforts finding their way towards goal. He could well pop up with a decisive strike against Chelsea with all defensive eyes likely to be trained on Michu.

Apr 202013

Swansea v Southampton, 15:00


Swansea battled back to earn a 2-2 draw with Norwich last time out, Luke Moore’s goal earning Michael Laudrup’s side the point.


Michu will be looking to enhance his now glowing reputation before the end of the season by adding to his already impressive total of 17 goals. The Spaniard has a distinct ability to fashion shooting positions that Southampton defenders must be aware of this weekend and they will certainly be trying to curb his current rate of a shot on goal once every 29.8 minutes.


– Look for Jonathan de Guzman to be involved should Michu register yet another goal against Southampton. The Canadian midfielder has a squad-high 7 assists and is consistently involved in their play going forward, amassing another squad-high of 742 passes in the opponent’s half.


– Young Ben Davies continues to impress this season, especially for one who only recently made the step up to first team football. Davies remains Swansea’s best defender this term, racking up a tackle success rate of 70.3% according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Southampton inched closer to securing their Premier League status for next season with a 1-1 draw with West Ham last time out.


– With England still lacking a reliable source of goals in recent fixtures, Rickie Lambert may well be expecting the national side to come calling should he keep up the form he has demonstrated this season. Lambert has transitioned to Premier League football with ease, his 14 goals and Southampton squad-high 77 attempts on goal testament to that fact.


– Striker Jay Rodriguez is another who may have surprised many with his ability and confidence at Premier League level. Yet the elusive forward has the best minutes-to-shot on target ratio of any Southampton player, registering one on average once every 49.2 minute he’s been on the field this season.


Morgan Schneiderlin again remains atop the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles attempted this season with 136. Southampton will need his energy and industry in a midfielder packed with slick Swansea passers.

Mar 302013

Swansea v Tottenham 15:00


Swansea fell to a 0-2 defeat at home to Arsenal last time out, despite their creating several chances but failing to capitalize.


Ashley Williams continues to be a pillar of strength for Michael Laudrup’s side this season. Swansea’s defensive juggernaut once again tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for defensive contributions with 300.


– His work has been complemented by his young defensive colleague Ben Davies, who remains the Swans’ top tackler with a success rate of 70.8% from 65 attempted challenges.


– Not only do Swansea possess exceptional defenders, their midfield is also flooded with creative talent like Jonathan de Guzman. The Canadian leads the Swansea squad on numerous fronts, such as passes completed in the opponent’s half (692) and crosses delivered (49), and will be crucial as they push for a high finish come the end of the season.


Tottenham’s charge towards Champions League qualification was halted by Fulham as Dimitar Berbatov returned to haunt his old club and help Fulahm to a 0-1 victory at White Hart Lane.


– Tottenham will be looking for their talisman Gareth Bale to spearhead their charge for a top four finish and the EA SPORTS Player Performance shows him to be up to the challenge. The Welsh flyer has racked up a remarkable 123 attempts on goal this season, 64.2% of which have been on target, and has had an on target effort on the opposing goal once every 31.1. minutes he’s been on the pitch.


Jan Vertonghen continues as Tottenham’s top defender into the next round of fixtures, proving just how comfortable he now is when dealing with the rigours of the Premier League.


– Right back Kyle Walker has endured something of an up and down season this year but the explosive defender can always be relied upon to take it to opposing defenders down the flanks. The England international is joint second in the Spurs’ squad for both crosses delivered and assists with 48 and 5 respectively.

Mar 152013

Swansea v Arsenal, Saturday 15:00


– A tight affair saw Swansea fall to a 2-1 defeat away to West Brom. Luke Moore’s first half-goal gave Swansea the lead but Michael Laudrup’s side left The Hawthorns frustrated not to have picked up at least a point after seeing a goal disallowed for offside.


– While Michu has been grabbing the headlines for Swansea this season, Wayne Routledge has also been enjoying something of a renaissance. He is the owner of the best shot accuracy rate of any player in the Swans squad, with 86.4% of his 22 efforts testing the goalkeeper according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– While Ashley Williams has been deservedly praised this season for his leadership of the Swansea defence, the accuracy of his tackling could actually use some improvement. He’s only been successful with 48% of his 50 challenges this season.


Jonathan de Guzman is tied for highest squad assists for Swansea this season with 6, unsurprising given he has so far whipped in a squad-leading 47 crosses with the imposing figure of Michu to aim at.


Arsenal’s last foray into the league saw them lose a thrilling London derby 2-1 away to bitter rival Tottenham. Another Per Mertesacker gave the Gunners some hope of a comeback but Arsene Wenger’s side could not quite muster enough clear chances to take something from the game.


– The inspired Santi Cazorla continues to lead the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half, his nearest rival, Yaya Toure, now 77 passes behind him.


Lukas Podolski may not have been as deadly in front of goal this season as some people might have hoped, but he is consistently finding ways to test the opposition goalkeeper. His shot accuracy rate is one of the best in the Gunners’ squad, with 69.2% of his 39 efforts testing the goalkeeper.


– Ask any Arsenal fan for their most improved player this season and the majority will likely say right back Carl Jenkinson. The 21 year old showcased he can handle some of the best attackers in the world against Bayern Munich in midweek and has been in similarly impressive form in the league, racking up a 69% tackles success rate from 42 challenges.

Mar 082013

West Brom v Swansea, Saturday 15:00


West Brom fell victim to a resurgent Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend, falling to a 1-0 defeat thanks to Demba Ba’s first half goal. Manager Steve Clarke praised the exceptional performance of Ben Foster in keeping the scoreline at 1-0 and he will be looking from similar performances from the rest of his players against Swansea this weekend.


– Swansea might be famed for the flowing attacking football but in Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson they will be coming up against two of the most intimidating defenders in the Premier League. Between the two of the them they have racked up an outstanding 312 defensive contributions this season.


– Striker Romelu Lukaku continues to impress whilst on loan at West Brom, admirably leading the line for Steve Clarke’s side. The teenager still has an excellent shot accuracy rate even at this stage of the season, with 68.3% of his 60 attempts testing the goalkeeper.


Chris Brunt has clearly noted the usefulness of having a physical specimen like Lukaku playing up front for the Baggies and has delivered a squad-high 50 crosses this season, most of which were no doubt intended for the Belgian striker.


Youssouf Mulumbu may have attempted more tackles than any other West Brom player this season (85) but he could still work harder on the accuracy of those challenges. He’s only been successful with 50.6% of them, conceding 25 fouls.


Luke Moore’s first goal in the Premier League gave Swansea all three points in a back and forth encounter at home to Newcastle. The 1-0 win saw Swansea go to 8th in the Premier League and continued their strong run of recent form.


– Despite not registering last weekend, Michu remains the undoubted star of the Swansea attacking line this season. The Spaniard has had 74 attempts on goal this season, with one being on target once every 57.4 minutes.


Ben Davies continues to admirably step up the to the plate after his supposedly premature call up to the first team at the beginning of the season. He currently boasts the best tackle success rate in the Swansea squad, completing 70.7% of his 59 attempted challenges.


Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge play with very similar styles and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index rates them as performing almost identically this season. Both have made 22 dribbles and 17 crosses this season and are within one of each other for assists provided (5 & 6 respectively).

– No Swansea player has been more willing than Ashley Williams to physically impose himself on opponents this season. He leads the Swans’ squad for blocks with 36.


Mar 052013

Just over a week after leading Swansea to their first ever major trophy and speculation remains high over the future of manager Michael Laudrup.

After his Capital One Cup victory, Laudrup reiterated that he did not fancy joining a big club only to be fired after nine months for not winning any trophies, but a call from Florentino Perez would be impossible for Laudrup to refuse.

A recent poll among Real Madrid fans over who should succeed Jose Mourinho saw the Swansea manager receive 72% of the vote, but a Champions League win from the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ could ultimately scupper the Danish manager’s chance of a return to the Bernabeu.

The Swansea manager remains under contract at the Liberty Stadium until the end of next season and although the club are keen to offer Laudrup a 12 month contract extension, Swans chairman Huw Jenkins has confirmed that the board have been preparing for Laudrup’s exit.

Jenkins has been scrupulously looking “at different teams and how they play, different managers and if they have the right backgrounds to suit us”, but the forward-thinking chairman has never stood in the way of Laudrup’s predecessors from taking roles at more prestigious clubs.

Laudrup’s managerial career began with promise in Spain with Getafe, after leading Azulones to the final of the Copa del Rey and the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.
A managerial stint in Russia with Spartak Moscow was possibly ill-advised, but a return to La Liga with Mallorca quickly saw Laudrup retain los Bermellones’s top flight status, despite being forced to sell a number of their leading stars.

Laudrup resigned from Mallorca in 2011 after assistant Erik Larsen was acrimoniously sacked by the club and the opportunity to manage in the Premier League with Swansea proved too good to turn down.

A 5-0 win at Loftus Road on the opening day of the season hinted at things to come, but it was the signing of Michu that immediately caught the eye.

Laudrup has been widely praised for his transfer dealings over the summer and his knowledge of the Spanish transfer market was key in the signings of Michu, Chico, Jonathan de Guzman and Pablo Hernandez.

A top-eight finish now appears to be the aim for the Swansea manager whose concentration and focus will be closely monitored by potential suitors. Laudrup could enjoy the prudent backing of his chairmen next season along with a stint in the Europa League, but a fresh challenge and the draw of La Liga remain obvious attractions for the Danish manager.

Five years ago Laudrup missed out on the job at Panathinaikos because the club would not allow him the option to leave should an offer from a La Liga club come in and although there is nothing to suggest that a similar clause has been inserted into his contract at Swansea, an understanding with Jenkins could be in place to allow Laudrup to return to Spain.

Mar 012013

Swansea v Newcastle, Saturday 15:00


– Whilst succumbing 5-0 to Liverpool last time out in the league, Swansea were again involved in a 5-0 rout but this time their fortunes were reversed as they humbled Bradford to win the Capital one Cup last Sunday.


– Goals from Michu and braces from both Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman secured the first major trophy in the club’s 101-year history and they will be looking to continue this momentum in their homecoming this weekend.


– The undoubted star of Swansea’s season so far, Michu has come from relative obscurity to be one of the most important players in the Swansea squad. His physical presence has surprised many but it is his technique in front of goal that has garnered him the majority of his 15 goals, with the Spaniard crafting a shot on target every 56.1 minutes he’s been on the pitch.


– His fellow Spaniard Pablo Hernandez is another who’s been impressing with his passing ability and vision. He’s now made a successful pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.8 minutes and has taken sides on with dribbles 17 times, the third highest in the Swansea squad.


Nathan Dyer has appeared reenergized in recent weeks, capping a fine performance in the Capital One Cup Final with two goals. He’s also back to carving out chances for his teammates, tying for second-highest total assists in the Swans squad with 5.


– When the season began, 19 year old Ben Davies would likely have been happy with a couple of appearance of the bench for Swansea, yet due to various twists of fate he has emerged as one of their key performers. He now boasts an excellent 73.2% tackle success rate from  56 attempted challenges, as well as 157 defensive contributions.


Newcastle battled back last weekend to win a fine encounter with Southampton 4-2 at St James’s Park. An absorbing contest marked a continued return to form for Alan Pardew’s side but they will face a stern test against a buoyant and talented Swansea side this weekend.


Moussa Sissoko is making an impressive start to his Premier League career, already racking up a successful pass in the opponent’s half every 5.3 minutes as well as a shot on target every 62.2 minutes.


– Widely regarded as Newcastle’s creator-in-chief, the talented Yohan Cabaye will be disappointed in the number of assists he managed to record this season.  Despite making 54 crosses, he’s only registered one assist, the lowest of any player in top 20 for crosses provided on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini are clearly developing something of an intuitive understanding of when teams are choosing to slip through the Newcastle defence. Between them they’ve registered 203 interceptions this season.


– Although bought for his reputation as one of the best young defenders in Europe, Davide Santon is flourishing into a distinguished attacker as well. He’s recorded a solid 76.5% shot accuracy rate from 17 attempts this season.

Feb 172013
Swansea ran out 4-1 winners against Premier League strugglers QPR in their last game, thanks to Michu’s 14th and 15th goals of the season.

Michu averages 4.87 shots per goal, getting 56.1% of his shots on target. However, while Michu is the top goal scorer at Swansea, Wayne Routledge is actually the best ‘per chance’ finisher in the squad. Routledge has five goals this season, and has needed just 4 shots per goal and has an incredible 90% on target percentage for his efforts (18 on target from 20 shots).

Michu was joined on the score sheet by Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez as Swansea scored four goals against QPR to add to the five they put past them on the first day of the season.

Rangel’s goal was his second of the season, and he boasts impressive shooting stats for a full back having got forward to get 18 shots at goal with 72% on target this season. He is also ranked 5th among the Premier League’s defenders for passes completed in the opposition half with 480.

His most effective work, however, has been defensively where he has contributed 102 interceptions (one of 30 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to intercept the ball 100 times or more this season). He has also won 60% of the tackles he has attempted.

Liverpool were dominating against West Brom until the 80th minute of their last Premier League game before Ben Foster turned the game on it’s head by saving Steven Gerrard’s penalty. That save proved the catalyst which led to Liverpool losing 2-0.

Gerrard has six goals to his name this season, coming from 63 efforts at goal with 63.4% on target. He is also joint top in the Premier League for assists this season with 13, tied with Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

Gerrard is ranked 5th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for both crosses and passes in the opposition half with 78 and 806 respectively. If you combine passes and crosses in the opposition half, Gerrard moves up to third place in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with only Santi Cazorla and Yaya Toure having proved a more dangerous attacking midfielder this season.

Jamie Carragher officially announced his retirement for the end of the season this week, leaving Liverpool fans to debate their most effective centre backs.

Carragher has had limited playing time this season, and has averaged a defensive contribution across tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances every 19 minutes while on the pitch.

In fact, when looking at Liverpool’s defensive players, Lucas has contributed defensively with more frequency than any of Liverpool’s centre backs this season. Lucas has averaged a contribution every 10 minutes 42 seconds, compared to Skrtel’s 10 minutes 50 seconds and Agger’s 12 minutes 49 seconds.

Agger also has the inferior tackles won percentage among the Liverpool centre backs, winning exactly 50% of tackles attempted compared to Carraghers 66% and Skrtel’s 57.4%
Feb 092013

Swansea v QPR 15:00


Swansea fell to a 1-0 defeat against West Ham in their last Premier League outing, despite a string of fine saves from reserve ‘keeper Gerhard Tremmel who was once again called upon to cover for the injured Michel Vorm.


Tremmel has now made 73 saves this season, one every 14 minutes 57 seconds and the fifth highest overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Swansea have been applauded for their attacking play this season, but full back Ben Davies has been quietly impressive in defence, and is one of only five players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have attempted fifty or more tackles while maintaining a success rate above 75%. He’s attempted 54 tackles, winning 75.9%.


Angel Rangel, meanwhile, has been unlucky with his deliveries this season. Rangel has delivered 33 crosses without being credited an assist, more than any other player.


Sung Yeung Ki has a minutes per pass completed rating amongst the very best in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He averages a completed pass in the opposition half every 3 minutes 12 seconds, a rate on a par with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Eden Hazard.


QPR got their second 0-0 draw in a row against Norwich in their last game, although they will perhaps be less pleased with this result than the previous game against Manchester City.


Adel Taarabt saw his penalty saved in that game and came close with several other efforts. Taarabt has had 73 shots at goal this season, with 58.9% of those on target and 4 goals to his name at a rate of 18.25 shots per goal.


Taarabt is ranked second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles completed with 37, 4 behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.


– New signing Christopher Samba also saw an effort cleared off the line to come close to a dream debut. Samba got forward a lot from the back, completing 11 passes in the opposition half during the game.


– Goalkeeper Julio Cesar made his 100th save of the season against Norwich, taking his tally to 101 saves at a rate of one every 15 minutes 46 seconds.

Jan 282013

Sunderland v Swansea, 19:45


Two goals from Steven Fletcher and a penalty from Craig Gardner helped Sunderland battle to a 3-2 win over Wigan in their last league game.


Gardner’s goal was just his third of the season, despite having had 39 shots at goal this season with 61.4% on target. Gardner has been more effective at the other end of the pitch, however, making 26 clearances, more than any other midfielder in the league.


Sunderland have built a reputation as a tough tackling team this season, led by midfielder James McClean who has won 65 tackles so far this season, more than any other player.


Carlos Cuellar has also excelled in the tackle this season, winning 86.7% of his 53 attempted tackles this season, a percentage bettered only by Reading’s Shaun Cumming’s and Everton’s Phil Jagielka


John O’Shea, meanwhile, has been one of the league’s most influential defenders. O’Shea is ranked fourth overall for defensive contributions with 231 across tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks, averaging one every 7 minutes 38 seconds.


Swansea were also winners in their last league game, beating Stoke 3-1 thanks to two goals by Jonathan de Guzman and Ben Davies’ first goal for Swansea


De Guzman’s goals take his tally for the season to five in the Premier League, coming from 31 shots with 54.8% on target. He also has 5 assists to his name, with 472 passes completed in the opposition half or one every 3 minutes 28 seconds.


Sung Yeung Ki will be hoping to break his duck in front of goal soon. The South Korean midfielder has had 26 efforts at goal including 13 on target without scoring, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Angel Rangel shares a similarly frustrating statistic, having delivered more crosses (32) without being credited an assist than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index


Away from the goal scoring heroics of his team mates, Ashley Williams has excelled in defence this season. He has made 160 interceptions, more than any other player, and is second only to Phil Jagielka for overall defensive contributions, having made 243 contributions across tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks

Jan 232013

The ball boy who was kicked in the ribs by Eden Hazard in the Capital One Cup this evening admitted to his plan for time wasting ahead of kick-off on Twitter. Charlie Morgan was lying on the ball after it went out of play as Swansea were clinging on for a draw to ensure their place at Wembley when Hazard kicked him.

Jan 192013

Swansea v Stoke 15:00


Swansea eventually succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in their FA Cup replay with Arsenal on Wednesday evening, a disappointing result after their 0-0 draw with Everton in the league the previous weekend. It fell to keeper Michel Vorm to come to Swansea’s rescue on several occasions, with their highly regarded attacking threats of Michu, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer were unable to conjure.


– Star man Michu will likely have been disappointed to miss out on the chance to start against Arsenal in mid-week, but you can guarantee he will be looking to remain the Swans’ biggest goal threat against a normally stoic Stoke defence. The Spaniard shows no signs of slowing down from his incredible start to the season and boasts a shot-to-goal ratio of 4.6 from 60 attempts according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Jonathan de Guzman has proven to be an almost tailor-made replacement for Joe Allen this season, the Canadian midfielder successfully completing 441 passes in the opponent’s half this season, the highest in the Swansea squad.


– The best leaders are the ones who demonstrate their expectations for the teammates through their own actions and Ashley Williams has been doing exactly that this season. He’d made 239 defensive contributions this season, placing him second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Given his performance on Wednesday night, midfielder Nathan Dyer looks to be approaching somewhere near his elusive best. He’s racked up 387 successful passes in the opponent’s half and also has 4 assists to his name.


– If international caps were won on performance alone, Wayne Routledge would be knocking hard on England’s door. The pacy winger has an excellent 89% shot accuracy rate from 18 attempts, 5 goals and 4 assists.


– Stoke suffered a 4-0 at the hands of Chelsea last weekend, with Jonathan Walters enduring a particularly torrid afternoon after scoring two own-goals and missing a penalty. Asmir Begovic turned in another fine performance but was not able to keep the scoreline from running away from the Potters.


– South-after keeper Asmir Begovic remains one of the busiest keepers in the league, with his 118 saves placing him 5th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


– Despite having an evening to forget, Jonathan Walters still turned in the kind of performance so prized at the Brittania Stadium, running for a squad-high 6.28 miles against Chelsea.


Robert Huth’s general defensive performances continue to be excellent in all areas this season. The big German leads the Stoke squad for interceptions with 133, also registering 20 blocks and 34 clearances.


Steven Nzonzi has already endeared himself to many of the Stoke faithful with some committed performances. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him as contributing decisively in both defence and attack this season, racking up 320 passes in the opponent’s half this season, along with 77 interceptions.

Jan 112013

Everton v Swansea, Saturday 15:00


Everton triumphed away to Newcastle last week thanks to goals from Victor Anichebe and a stunning Leighton Baines free-kick. Newcastle took the lead after only two minutes but it was the Toffees who dominated for much of the match, further solidifying their credentials as genuine contenders for a European place come the end of the season.


Leighton Baines’ reputation as one of the world’s best fullbacks continues to grow apace thanks to his recent performances.  He’s won 75% of his challenges this season as well as delivering 80 crosses for his teammates according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.


Marouane Fellaini’s services are likely to be highly sought after this summer, but the Belgian powerhouse may have to tidy up his defence should he wish to secure a move to pastures new. He sits second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls conceded with 40.


– Striker Nikica Jelavic has been earning solid reviews for the way he has led the Everton line this season, despite apparently being somewhat wasteful with the chance he’s being presented with in front of goal. He’s only been on target with 51% of his 51 shots on goal but still don’t count against him finding the net against the Swans. 

Phil Jagielka and Sylvain’s Distin’s collective reading of the game has been crucial to Everton’s continuing success. Their central defensive partnership has combined for a mammoth 241 interceptions this campaign.


– Indeed all the facets of Jagielka’s game have been on top form this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index the England international has won an incredible 86% of his 49 attempted tackles, made 34 clearances and 16 blocks.


– A late Swansea goal grabbed a point for Michael Laudrup’s side last time out against Aston Villa. Michu was once again in rare form for the Swans in the early stages, and despite not managing to find the net in the first half, Swansea managed to resist a spirited Villa display.


Michu continues to look like the bargain buy of the season, with his stellar early performances for Swansea showing no signs of abating. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has the highest shots of target rate of any Swansea player this season with 31.  

– However some of his defensive efforts have left something to be desired. Michael Laudrup will be looking for a more subtle approach for the remainder of the season, his star frontman having conceded 31 fouls and lost out on 60% of his 72 attempted challenges.


Jonathan de Guzman has proved to be another inspired signing for the Swans, already proving himself to be the fulcrum around which their midfield is operating. No other Swansea player can boast a higher pass total in the opponent’s half than his  440 this season.


Ashley Williams continues to be Swansea’s defensive rock this campaign, despite seeing his discipline falter at times. Although he’s given away 23 fouls, he’s also contributed with a combined total of 64 clearances and blocks.


Angel Rangel was once again Swansea’s hardest grafter last time out against Aston Villa. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index recorded him running for 6.62 miles.