Reading v West Brom, Saturday 15:00
– Reading’s troubled season continued with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham on new year’s day their last Premier League outing, with Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring their only goal. However, they were able to reverse that scoreline in the FA Cup, knocking out previous giant killers Crawley with Adam le Fondre scoring a brace and Noel Hunt also on the score sheet.
– Le Fondre has scored five goals in the Premier League this season, averaging one every 200 minutes 12 seconds and taking an average of six chances for every goal scored.
– Brian McDermott has urged the club to seal a new contract for defender Alex Pearce, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Pearce has played just 899 minutes for Reading in the league this season, but has won 65.2% of tackles he has attempted, made 19 clearances and 50 interceptions.
– Adrian Mariappa has also been one of the busiest defenders in the league this season, averaging a defensive contribution (tackle won, interception made, clearance or block) every 6 minutes 54 seconds, the 4th busiest defender in the league this season.
– Midfielder Mikele Leigertwood, meanwhile, has won the third highest number of tackles in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 60, 63.8% of all tackles attempted overall.
– Reading have had their share of bad luck this season, with both goalkeepers Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy suffering injuries at differing stages. McCarthy has best minutes per save rating in the league, having been called into action once every 13 minutes 41 seconds.
– West Brom will be hoping for a return to early season form, as their last Premier League outing saw fall to a 2-1 defeat to Fulham, with Romelu Lukaku scoring their solitary goal, while they face an FA Cup third round replay after drawing with QPR last weekend. Shane Long scored the opening goal for the Baggies in that one.
– Lukaku has been an inspired signing since joining from Chelsea on loan, have contributed a goal or assist every 25 minutes and 3 seconds this season, the fourth highest in the league behind only Chicarito Hernandez, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney.
– Shane Long seems to have also benefited from the presence of the powerful Belgium striker alongside him, having scored 5 goals from 24 efforts at goal with 13 of those on target.
– Since then QPR have bid for West Brom defender Jonas Olsson, with the Baggies turning down a reported £5 million bid. Olsson has been in incredible form this season. Outside of players for the top four teams, only Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams rank above Olsson among the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s defenders.
– This has been underpinned by Olsson’s dominance in the air, which sees him lead the tables for clearances with 55 so far this season. He has been supported in that respect by fellow defender Gareth McAuley who is in third place having made 45 clearances.