Nov 092013
 

Chelsea were moments away from deservedly losing to West Brom at home this afternoon, meaning Jose Mourinho would lose his impressive home record with the blues, until Ramires dived deep in to injury time and was awarded a penalty.

Just last month, Mourinho was very critical of players who dived.

“I have told the players many times, I hate it. It is very bad,” Mourinho said. “I haven’t dropped a player because of it, but being strong and critical, I did it, yes. I spoke about it with Drogba and Robben. I am not saying I will drop someone. Maybe the player is very important for me and makes a mistake and maybe I don’t drop him. But I will strongly criticise him, yes. And if one day I win the game where I feel one of my players didn’t behave correctly, I will say it.”

Aug 232013
 

Everton vs West Brom, Saturday 15:00

– Only a stunning header from Norwich new boy Ricky van Wolfswinkel denied Everton all three points at Carrow Road last weekend. Roberto Martinez will be expecting more ruthlessness at the back this week but must have been impressed by the all-round performance of the effervescent Ross Barkley, who capped a top draw display with an expertly taken long-range finish.

– Midfield enforcer Marouane Fellaini turned in yet another impressive all-round display against Norwich. The Belgian recorded the highest number of passes in the opponent’s half of any away player last weekend with 49.

– Sylvain Distin is clearly looking to make an immediate impact this year, the oldest defender in the league already ranking joint third for interceptions last weekend with 4.

– Indeed, only Jose Fonte of Southampton made more total defensive contributions than Distin. The Frenchman made 19 interventions against Norwich.

– Leighton Baines picked up where he left off last season against Norwich, his trademark runs up the left flank still terrifying defenders. Baines is already dominating the EA SPORT Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with 5, tying for first with the Saints’ James Ward-Powse.

– A last-minute Ricky Lambert penalty broke West Brom hearts as they fell to a 0-1 defeat after Youssouf Mulumbu brought down Luke Shaw in the area at the death.

– Jonas Olsson’s defensive awareness and positional instincts were once again crucial to West Brom as they looked to repel a vibrant Southampton side last weekend. The Swede is tied for the most clearances recorded with 14 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

– Much of the defensive responsibilities through the middle of the field will also clearly be falling on the shoulders of Claudio Yacob. The Argentinian was West Brom’s most enthusiastic tackler last weekend, committing to 8 tackles and winning 62.5%.

– Baggies fans will be expecting more from Nicolas Anelka this weekend, the French striker having been hailed as a strong replacement for Romelu Lukaku who returned to Chelsea in the summer. Against Southampton however, Anelka failed to register a single attempt on goal during his 83 minutes. Anelka is 10/3 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.

– Ben Foster achieved the rare EA SPORTS Player Performance Index distinction for a goalkeeper of being credited with a dribble against Southampton, the England keeper showing his skills aren’t confine to just those between the sticks!

May 192013
 

West Brom v Manchester United 16:00

 

- A fine season for the most part is in danger of ending on something of a low for West Brom as they fell to a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Norwich. They will be looking to end their season on a high in what will be an historic occasion against Manchester United.

 

- Steve Clarke may struggle to retain the services of Romelu Lukaku next season with the Belgian striker keen to experience European football as his development steps up a gear next year. Lukaku has been pivotal for the Baggies this term, not just with his strong hold-up play but with his eye for goal as well. He currently has an 64.6% shot accuracy rate from 82 attempts, meaning a shot on target on average once every 39.6 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.

 

- Shockingly though, Lukaku is nowhere near the club’s most accurate shooter this season, although admittedly Billy Jones has had far fewer attempts. Jones has been in remarkable form when presented with his chances in front of goal, seeing 91.7% of his 12 efforts hitting the target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

- Whilst those in front of him have perhaps caught the eye a little more than Gareth McAuley, the big centre half has been just as crucial to West Brom’s success this season. He has been a defensive titan at times for Steve Clarke’s side, recording a squad-high 314 defensive contributions

 

- A typical Javier Hernandez strike and a rare Rio Ferdinand goal ensured that Sir Alex Ferguson’s last appearance at Old Trafford as Manchester Utd manager ended with, appropriately, victory. It will be an emotional afternoon for all concerned on Sunday as the greatest manager in British football finally retires at the end of this season.

 

- Despite limited opportunities this season, Chicarito has been as impressive as ever when given his chance to impress. The Mexican sharp shooter has managed to craft a shot on target on average once every 39.2 minutes, an excellent return given that most of his appearances in the league this season have been from the bench.

 

- It was fitting that it fell to one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s longest serving players in Rio Ferdinand to seal the win on his manager’s final appearance at the Theatre of Dreams. Despite rarely finding himself on the scoresheet, Ferdinand has still been dominating for Utd at the back this season, racking up a solid 63.6% tackle success rate from 33 attempts. His relatively low number of tackles shows his ability to read the game and therefore bypass the need to go to ground. He ranks fourth in the United squad for interceptions with 68.

 

- Now the only left of the old guard, Ryan Giggs shows no signs of slowing down even at 39 years if age. The Welshman continues to defies the odds and his figures on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows he has at least another year of top level football left in him. According to his data Giggs has completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 4.1 minutes this season, as well as delivery 22 crosses placing him 6th in the United squad.

May 122013
 

Norwich v West Brom, 15:00

 

- Norwich lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in their last league game, with Grant Holt converting a penalty won by Robert Snodgrass.

 

- Snodgrass again looked Norwich’s most dangerous player, delivering 9 crosses against Villa, the most by a single player in the last round of games. That takes his total for the season to 145, 8 clear of Leighton Baines who is the second ranked with 137.

 

- Javier Garrido, meanwhile, has been equally dangerous with his delivery for Norwich, delivering 67 crosses from the full back position, the second highest from a defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

- Sebastian Bassong remains at the top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances made with 83, one ahead of Jonas Olsson of West Brom as the race to finish the season top of that particular ranking continues.

 

- Bassong is joined by Bradley Johnson and Grant Holt in excelling in this criteria. Johnson is the top ranked midfielder for clearances this season with 33, and Holt is joint top among the strikers with 31 clearances this season. If West Brom are to beat Norwich they will need to look beyond balls into the box, or avoid these three players.

 

- West Brom will be looking for an upturn in form after losing two games in four days – 3-2 against Wigan and 1-0 against Man City.

 

- Shane Long and Gareth McAuley were both on target against Wigan, but on this occasion two goals at home weren’t enough for a point.

 

- Long’s goal was his 8th of the season, having come from 41 shots with 20 on target, averaging a goal every 5.125 shots this season, a ratio that isn’t far from league top scorer Robin van Persie who average one every 5.04 shots.

 

- McAuley’s was his third of the season, having come from 20 shots at goal, although his defensive stats are more impressive having made 171 interceptions so far this season.

 

- Despite being on the wrong end of the 1-0 scoreline against Man City West Brom actually got more shots on target than any other team has at the Etihad this season, Romelu Lukaku creating four chances for his team mates, more than he has in any other game this season.

May 042013
 

West Brom v Wigan, 15:00 

 

- West Brom saw off Southampton last weekend with a 0-3 victory with proved to be a dramatic affair with three players sent off. 

 

- Gareth McAuley will have an incredibly important role this weekend, structuring a defence against a Wigan side who will be battling for their lives. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index certainly suggests he is up to the task though, having made a squad-high 303 defensive contributions at an average rate of one every 10.5 minutes he’s been on the pitch. 

 

- Midfielder James Morrison will once again be the conduit through which most of West Brom’s game will flow this weekend. Morrison has successfully completed 595 passes in the opponent’s half this season, the highest in the Baggies squad, at an average rate of one every 4.6 minutes. 

 

- One wonders where West Brom could have found themselves this season without the powerful contributions of Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker having provided exactly a third of their 42 goals this season. His rewards in front of goal can be credited to his accuracy in front of goal, as despite struggling to find the net before last weekend he still has a shot accuracy rate of 66.2%. 

 

- A late own-goal denied Wigan a much-needed three points as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Tottenham in a result which left their Premier League future still very much in doubt. 

 

- Wigan fans will be keen to Arouna Kone display some of trademark sharp shooting this weekend ahead of the looming fixture against Swansea in the league and the FA Cup Final against Manchester City a week on Saturday. Kone has been in fine form this season, racking up a squad-high 75 attempts on goal, with one of those attempts finding their way on target on average once every 58.5 minutes he’s been on the field. 

 

- Ali Al Habsi may well be set to reclaim his place ahead of a crucial run of games for Wigan. The big stopper has made 138 saves this season at an average rate of one every 19.5 minutes this season, a level of expertise that Roberto Martinez could do with as the Lactics approach a few weeks which will define their season.  

 

- Honduran international Maynor Figueroa is set to miss the season’s run-in following a groin injury sustained last weekend against Tottenham. Figueroa has been an integral part of Wigan’s season to date, making a squad-high 295 defensive contributions, including 187 interceptions.

Apr 272013
 

Southampton v West Brom, 15:00

 

- A disciplined defensive performance was enough to see Southampton to an important point in a 0-0 draw with Swansea last time out.

 

- Defender Maya Yoshida has maintained his excellent standards for reading the game in recent weeks as the season draws to a close. The Japanese international currently sits 4th on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions with 195.

 

- Morgan Schneiderlin is another who has continyed in the same vein he has been playing in all season, still sitting atop the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles with 143. His accuracy has been slightly wayward at times though, given that his tackle success rate (59.4%) places him 4th amongst the top 10 players for total tackles attempted.

 

- The performances of Rickie Lambert have lead to many Southampton supporters to call for England call-up for the old school striker. His primary asset for this Southampton team hasn’t just been his own goals (14), but also his ability to use his strength to bring others into play a fact demonstrated by the 9 assists he has to his name this season. Only the much more celebrated Van Persie, Tevez and Rooney can boast better assist-figures than Lambert.

 

-  A relatively evenly-fought contest saw West Brom share the spoils with Newcastle last weekend, Billy Jones’ goal earning the Baggies a 1-1 draw.

 

- Gareth McAuley will be keen to cap a fine season by breaking through a personal landmark this weekend, with the Northern Irishman currently sitting on 299 defensive contributions for the season, a Baggies squad-high.

 

- Midfielder James Morrison remains the fulcrum of this West Brom side, leading the Baggies squad across numerous statistical fields according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He’s now racked up 586 successful passes in the opponent’s half for the season, as well as 7 assists.

 

- Youssouf Mulumbu will be crucial to preventing Southampton from getting into their stride this weekend, his ability to break down opposition play a key facet of his game. No West Brom midfielder has made more defensive contributions than Mulumbu, his 120 at an average rate of 19.3 minutes currently setting the standard.

Apr 202013
 

West Brom v Newcastle, 15:00

 

West Brom left themselves a mountain to climb after falling 2-0 behind in their last Premier League outing with Arsenal. Despite James Morrison tucking a penalty away in the second half, it was not enough for Steve Clarke’s side to take anything away from the game.

 

– With all the signs pointing towards Romelu Lukaku’s departure come the end of the season, the Baggies will be hard pressed to find someone else with his devastating impact. The young Belgian has take just on average just 37.2 minutes to conjure up an on target attempt on goal this season.

 

Gareth McAuley remains one of the leagues most effective defenders this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He currently sits 6th for total defensive contributions with 296, meaning he will very likely break through the 300 barrier this weekend against a Newcastle outfit likely to provide him with plenty of work.

 

– Expect Steve Clarke’s side to potentially turn to James Morrison for inspiration this weekend, given the Scottish midfielder’s current position as the Baggies’ most consistent attacker. Morrison has now racked up 7 assists this season, to complement  his rate of completing a pass in the opponent’s half once every 4.4 minutes, the lowest in the West Brom squad. Look for him to be at the centre of everything positive about their play on Saturday.

 

– A crippling 0-3 defeat to fiercest rivals Sunderland last Sunday will have been a bitter pill for Newcastle and they will be looking to bounce back in a positive fashion this weekend.

 

– Newcastle’s defence will have been asking some hard questions of themselves this week following their collapse against Sunderland. Tim Krul in particular will be keen not to see his goal breached again and will be doing his utmost to add to his tally of 134 saves this season.

 

– It was a rude introduction to the Tyne-Wear derby for Moussa Sissoko, in a match where the Newcastle midfield were dominated by their counterparts for large parts of the game. Sissoko will certainly be looking to improve upon his own personal defensive record this weekend, having only completed 25% of his 20 attempted challenges this season.

 

Yoan Gouffran has certainly made something of an impression following his arrival at St James’ Park. The Frenchman clearly has an eye for a gap and currently has the best shot accuracy rate in the Newcastle squad, with 70.6% of his 17 attempts finding their way on target. The Magpies may well need his sharp shooting this weekend against an often stubborn West Brom defence.

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 012013
 

Chelsea v West Brom, Saturday 15:00

 

Chelsea fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of current Premier League champions Manchester City in their last Premier League outing.

 

Gary Cahill contributed an impressive 5 blocks in that game, a figure bettered only twice in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index – Kyle Bartley v Liverpool and Ashley Williams v Man Utd

 

– Seven midfielders in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index have scored ten or more goals this season. Two of those are Chelsea players (Frank Lampard and Juan Mata).

 

– In fact, of the 18 players to have scored 10 or more Barclays Premier League goals Lampard and Mata have needed the fewest shots at goal to reach the milestone. Lampard has needed just 43 shots to score 11 goals this season, while Mata has needed just 44 to score 10.

 

West Brom’s hopes of qualifying for Europe were given a boost with an impressive 2-1 win over Sunderland in their last game, thanks to two goals from Romelu Lukaku.

 

– That took Lukaku’s tally for the season up to 12 goals in the Premier League, at a rate of a goal every 5 shots and with a 68.3% shooting accuracy. That means Lukaku’s chance conversion and shooting accuracy are both BETTER than the league’s second top scorer and one of the player’s of the season, Luis Suarez. Suarez boasts a shooting accuracy of 57.9% and 7.7 shots per goal.

 

Lukaku also has the third best minutes per goal ratio in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, behind Chicarito Hernandez and Edin Dzeko. Lukaku averages a goal every 115 minutes 18 seconds.

 

Lukaku is also the youngest of the 18 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to score ten or more goals. At 19 Lukaku is three years younger than the second youngest, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke.

 

– If Chelsea are looking at ways to score against the Baggies they’ll have to avoid crosses into the box. West Brom have the two top ranked players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances made in Jonas Olsson (72) and Gareth McAuley (66).

Jan 302013
 

Everton v West Brom, 19:45

 

Everton come into the game against West Brom on the back of successive nil nil draws against Southampton and Swansea, and you can get an industry best price of 16/1 with 888sport.com on this fixture being another nil nil draw

 

Phil Jagielka remains the key to Everton’s excellent defensive record this season. Jagielka has won 87% of the 54 tackles he has made this season, a percentage bettered only by Reading’s Shaun Cummings.

 

In fact, no player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has contributed more this season defensively than Jagielka. Jagielka has made 260 defensive contributions this season across tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks.

 

Meanwhile Leon Osman is having something of a renaissance this season, earning his first England cap thanks to a string of impressive performances for the Toffees. Osman is ranked fifth overall for distance covered this season with 140.53 miles.

 

West Brom’s last league game was a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, with goals from Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie, who seems to be on his way out of the Hawthorns after taking to Twitter this week to voice his dissatisfaction.

 

Odemwingie has five Premier League goals this season, coming from 36 shots at goal with exactly half on target. Odemwingie also has four assists to his name, averaging a goal or assist every 139 minutes.

 

Brunt has completed 290 passes in the opposition half this season, averaging one every 4 minutes 36 seconds. It’s midfield team mate James Morrison, however, who has the most impressive passing stats in the West Brom squad, with 408 passes in the opposition half, averaging one every 4 minutes 28 seconds. Morrison is an industry best price of 6/1 to score at any time against Everton with 888sport.com

 

If Everton are to avoid a third successive game without scoring they will need to find a way past West Brom defender Jonas Olsson. Olsson has made more clearances than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this season with 61.

Jan 122013
 

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.

Dec 282012
 

Man Utd v West Brom           15:00

 

Manchester United played out one of the most entertaining games of the Boxing Day season after winning against Newcastle in a sensational 4-3 encounter.

 

Goals from league joint top goal scorer Robin van Persie, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans and a characteristic late winner from Chicarito Hernandez saw United extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table

 

Van Persie’s goal was his 13th of the season, having come from 63 efforts at goal with 53.7% on target, averaging 4.84 shots per goal.

 

While van Persie’s prowess in front of goal is often commented on, the work he does at the other end of the pitch is often less noticed. He has made 20 clearances so far this season, more than any other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

 

If you asked which of United’s goal scorers against Newcastle has the best shots per goal ratio in the league Jonny Evans’ name may not spring to mind, but with three goals from just five shots at goal Evans leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in that respect

 

While Wayne Rooney may not have scored in United’s previous game against Swansea, his 7 shots on target is the joint highest by a player in a single game this season.

 

West Brom have enjoyed back to back 2-1 victories over the Christmas fixtures so far, with Chris Brunt scoring and then forcing an error from Rob Green for an own goal against QPR, and Gera and Lukaku on target against Norwich

 

Having been marginalized at Chelsea Romelu Lukaku has reveled in his role at West Brom, with his goal at Norwich his sixth of the season. Lukaku remains the most accurate shooter in the league, getting 81.25% of his 32 efforts at goal on target and averaging 5.33 shots per goal and a goal every 133 minutes

 

Zoltan Gera has made a habit of scoring important goals for West Brom, and his strike against Norwich was his fourth of the season, coming from just 16 chances meaning he needs just 4 shots per goal. Gera has also completed 233 passes in the opposition half this season, more than any other West Brom player.

 

Chris Brunt has been more of a supplier than a scorer this season, though the way he struck his goal against QPR wouldn’t have you believe it ws his first of the season. Brunt has 5 assists to his name this season compared to just 1 goal. IOt’s no wonder Brunt’s ‘assists’ column looks so healthy, when you consider he has delivered more crosses than any other West Brom player with 28 and is in the league’s top 30 crossers overall

Dec 222012
 

West Brom v Norwich           15:00

 

West Brom played out a goalless draw with West Ham last time out, neither side creating enough to make a dent on the scoreline. James Morrison looked to be the Baggies’ brightest hope of grabbing all three points, as he was twice denied by the woodwork.

 

Romelu Lukaku continues to mature at West Brom and his time at The Hawthorns may prove instrumental in his development when he looks back at his career. The young powerhouse has a shot accuracy rate of  80% and has one of the highest goals to minutes played ratios in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, netting once every 127.8 minutes this season.

 

– Many Baggies fans will no doubt agree that Claudio Yacob has been one of the unsung heroes of West Brom’s fantastic early season form. The combative midfielder has made 115 defensive contributions this season at a rate of one every 11.5 minutes, and has successfully completed 220 passes in the opponent’s half.

 

Shane Long is the type of player than many managers crave, one who works hard and gives his all for the team every time he takes to the field. Steve Clarke will likely be looking for a little more subtlety in defence from the ever-committed striker, as he has given away 26 fouls this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and only has a 28% tackle success rate.

 

– On the other end of the spectrum defensively speaking, Jonas Olsson has been crucial to the Baggies hard-nosed approach to defending their goal this year. He’s made a squad-high 188 defensive contribution this season at a rate of one every 8.7 minutes.

 

Peter Odemwingie has been building on his growing reputation from the last few seasons again this year, quietly establishing himself as one of West Brom’s most important players. No one in the squad has provided more combined goals and assists this season, the Uzbekistani striker already racking up a total of 7 this campaign.

 

– A superb individual display from Wesley Hoolahan helped Norwich to a 2-1 victory over Wigan last time out. A goal and an assist for Karl Pilkington from the Irish midfielder helped Chris Hughton’s side climb to seventh in the league in a performance which suggests they are ready to make the next step up in their level of performance.

 

Hoolahan’s goal last weekend was a timely reminder of just how important the Irish midfielder has been for Norwich this year. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s successfully completed 312 passes in the opponent’s half.

 

Bradley Johnson is well known for his combative nature and it is undoubtedly an integral part of his game and the value he brings to Norwich. However, one can imagine Chris Hughton asking him to tighten up some of his challenges given that he has so far conceded fouls on 37 occasions this season, at a rate of one every 42.6 minutes, and has only won 48% of his 60 challenges.

 

– Defender Jonathan Howson’s form has been a key part of Norwich’s strong form this season. He’s committed to 27 tackles this season but has only conceded 6 fouls.

 

Robert Snodgrass has certainly been willing to try his luck in front of goal this season and has established a solid accuracy rate to complement it. His 59% accuracy rate is the third highest in the Norwich squad.

 

– Striker Grant Holt revels in his role as the big front man who is able to draw the attention of defenders and free up space for his team mates. But he also knows exactly where the goal is and has quickly compiled an excellent shot-to-goal rate of 6.75 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Dec 072012
 

Arsenal v West Brom – 15:00

 

– More pressure was piled on Arsene Wenger as his Arsenal side slumped to yet another league defeat, this time 0-2 at home to Swansea. Arsenal will be to regain some of their usual zip and fluidity this weekend against the Baggies.

 

– Confidence breeds more confidence and with the way Santi Cazorla has started life at the Emirates, he has every reason to be having a crack at goal. He’s been backing this up with accuracy though, as he currently sits joint third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for attempts on target with 30.

 

– It will come as no surprise to anyone that Theo Walcott was Arsenal’s fastest player last weekend. The flying winger was recorded at 19.54mph, only just beaten by Swansea’s equally pacy Nathan Dyer at 20.51mph.

 

– The Gunners appear to be retreating to some of their old tendencies of creating the openings but lacking the killer finish. Striker Olivier Giroud, despite a recent improvement in form, can still only manage a 49% accuracy rate from 39 attempts.

 

Mikel Arteta may be the Spanish timepiece that makes the Arsenal midfield tick, but he’s also displayed a lack of discipline in defence this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he’s compiled 31 fouls.

 

Arteta was unsurprisingly also the hardest runner last weekend against Swansea, clocking up 6.87 miles. The Spaniard remains the Gunner’s overall hardest worker this season, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index showing him covering 94.75 miles.

 

West Brom’s fine run of recent form lost some of it’s momentum last weekend as they fell to a 0-1 defeat at home to Stoke. The Baggies’ usual directness and flair with possession was stifled by a compact Stoke defensive unit, as, apart from a couple of instances, West Brom could not generate much by way of chances in either half.

 

Youssouf Mulumbu tried valiantly to conjure something for his side against Stoke, working hard for a team-high of 6.13 miles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

– Steve Clarke will be wanting to see more of Jonas Olsson’s intuitive reading of the game as the season continues to progress. The Swede has pulled off 73 interceptions so far this season.

 

Romelu Lukaku’s shooting statistics continue to provide impressive reading, the young Belgian being on target with 83% of his 24 attempted shots this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

– Defender Goran Popov showed that he has the speed to match any of the Premier League’s quickest strikers against Stoke. No one on the pitch could match his 21.9mph.

 

– Crucial though he is to West Brom’s midfield, Claudio Yacob could do with tightening up some of his defensive work. The midfielder has fouled the opposition 29 times this season, 18 more than any of his other teammates.

Dec 012012
 

West Brom vs. Stoke City (15:00)

 

West Brom’s excellent run of four straight wins came to an end on Wednesday, with the Baggies falling to defeat against battling Swansea.  The home side remain a force to be reckoned with though, and are level on points with third-placed Chelsea:

 

–          Romelu Lukaku scored again in the midweek defeat, bringing his season tally to five.  His 83.3 percent shooting accuracy rate (20 shots on target from 24 attempts) is excellent, and the Belgian is the only player on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with at least 20 goalbound efforts to have maintained a rate of 80% or more.

 

–          Claudio Yacob looked solid against Swansea, and has made 35 winning tackles so far this season.  Only three league players have made more, and Yacob’s tally of 24 lost tackles is lower than them all.

 

–          The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the Baggies to be the only side to lose midweek despite covering more ground than their opponents, and manager Steve Clarke will be telling his team to let the ball do more of the work at the weekend.

 

–          In all competitions this season, the Baggies have only failed to find the net once, they are the only team in the entire league other than Everton who can boast this record, and will be looking to score early against Stoke.

 

Stoke’s home results this season have been incredible, with the side taking fifteen from a possible twenty-one points.  If they can replicate this form on the road, the Potters will be strong contenders for a European place:

 

–          Asmir Begovic almost cost his side the points on Wednesday with an unfortunate blunder, but remains the league’s best performing keeper this season.  According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Bosnian stopper has saved 75 of the 87 shots on targets he’s faced, notching up an unmatched 86.2 percent success rate.

 

–          Stoke were one of only two Premier League teams to win in midweek despite covering less total distance than their opposition, covering 63.9 miles compared to their Newcastle’s 65 miles.

 

–          Cameron Jerome scored his side’s late winner on Wednesday, and will be hoping to get more time on the pitch in the next few matches.  He’s only played 96 minutes this season, making eight successful passes and five attempts on goal according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

–          Stoke’s win extended their unbeaten home record this season to seven matches, an even more impressive run considering the Potters have only let in two goals at the Brittania. West Brom may well be relieved to be playing at home at the weekend.

Nov 282012
 

Swansea City vs. West Brom (19:45)

 

Swansea will be pleased with the ways things are going so far, and seem to have avoided the ‘second season syndrome’ that has plagued so many before them.  With West Brom’s fans expecting the visitors to continue their strong form, the Swans may be able to use this pressure to their advantage by scoring early on and causing the Baggies to panic:

 

–          The team wouldn’t have much difficulty holding onto an early lead given that they hold the league’s fourth tightest defensive record on the road- with just seven goals conceded in six games, only Chelsea, Arsenal and champions Manchester City have taken longer to let in each strike in away games.

 

–          Miguel Michu has performed as well as many of the league’s most highly rated players so far this season.  Having taken an average of exactly 168 minutes to score each of his goals, he’s statistically outperformed the likes of Juan Mata, Peter Crouch and Gareth Bale when it comes to goalscoring efficiency.

 

–          Having covered 66.6 miles over the ninety minutes, Swansea were the league’s hardest working team at the weekend according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.  To put this into perspective, Tottenham were praised for their tireless play against West Ham but only travelled 60.2 miles in total.

 

–          The Swans have proved very difficult to break down this season, but may want to work on their ability to hold onto the ball- for five consecutive games they’ve had less than 50 percent of possession, although the team didn’t lose any of these games.

 

–          Nathan Dyer has been on great form during this run, scoring four goals.  His rate of accuracy is better than any other of Swansea’s team (68.8 percent or 11/16 shots on target).

 

 

Yet another convincing win last week has given West Brom even more confidence they can push for European football next season.  Three more points against Swansea would keep the Baggies in third place:

 

–          With an average of one goal for every 114.5 minutes he’s spent on the field, Romelu Lukaku’s impressive strike rate is topped only by Javier Hernandez and Edin Dzeko.

 

–          Lukaku is also one of the league’s most accurate finishers, with 86.4 percent of his 22 shots being on target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.  No other player with fifteen or more shots to his name can match this percentage.

 

–          The Baggies haven’t been messing around in defence this season either.  Jonas Olsson (45) and Gareth McAuley (36) are the two men in the Premier League who’ve made the most clearances.

 

–          Perhaps the most impressive sign of how well the Baggies are performing is the fact that their 85.7 percent win ratio at home (six from seven) is superior even to Manchester United’s (83.3 percent).  The record is identical to that of champions Manchester City.

 

–          Goalscorer Zoltan Gera covered 6.86 miles at the weekend (more than any of his team mates) and has been one of the Baggies’ top four fastest players in every game he’s taken part in this season (based on average speed with the ball in play).