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.

Mar 302013
 

West Ham v West Brom 15:00

 

West Ham are six points clear of the relegation zone after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in their last game.

 

– West Ham captain Kevin Nolan has led by example throughout the season, scoring six goals and boasting the best shots on target percentage of any player taking 50 shots or more in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this season. Nolan got 70.4%, or 38 out of 54, shots on target.

 

– All being well, Jussi Jaaskelainen will make his 150th save of the season against West Brom. Jaaskelainen is one of 25 players in the Premier League aged 35 or over, and has played the most minutes of these players with 2814 minutes on the pitch this season. Jaaskelainen was the seconds busiest goalkeeper in the last round of Premier League games, making 12 saves against Chelsea.

 

Mohamed Diame was a transfer target in January and showed again against Chelsea why he is so highly rated. Diame won 6 tackles in that game, the joint highest of any player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index along with team mate Gary O’Neil.

 

– Meanwhile Matt Jarvis delivered 6 crosses in the game against Chelsea, a total only bettered in the last round of games by Matt Etherington who delivered 8.

 

West Brom also failed to score in their last game, a 0-0 draw against Stoke, so both teams will be looking to rectify that in this game.

 

– Despite drawing a blank in that game, Romelu Lukaku maintains the second best minutes per goal rating in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with one every 118 minutes 28 seconds.

 

– Only three other outfielders have played more minutes than West Brom’s Gareth McAuley this season. McAuley has played 2803, with only Matt Lowton, Steven Gerrard and Davide Santon putting in more minutes on the pitch.

 

McAuley has enjoyed an impressive season, and in the game against Stoke he made his 150th interception of the campaign, one of just 11 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have hit the milestone.

 

Graham Dorrans will be hoping to break his Premier League duck in the remaining eight games of the season. He is currently joint third in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for having the most shots at goal without scoring, having had 23 efforts including 14 on target without a goal.

 

 

Feb 262013
 

Pete Sixsmith reports on another awayday disappointment,  in fact not one but – for him – two in one weekend. Can’t speak for fans of the Leeds Rhinos but it is familiar reading for Sunderland supporters …

I should have known that it wasn’t going to be my weekend when a huge Melbourne Storm forward called Jesse Bromwich careered over the  Leeds Rhinos’ line to put his team ahead in the World Club Challenge at  Headingley on Friday night.

Eighteen hours later at West Bromwich, a similarly sized and equally  effective Belgian centre forward took advantage of a misjudgement by  Titus (“Look out there’s an error coming”) Bramble and put the Baggies  two goals up against us and subsequently won the game for them.

A disappointing weekend for those who support the Rhinos and The  Black Cats, but the Rhinos game counted for very little in the whole  scheme of things, unlike the Hawthorns encounter which could play a  seminal part in our season.

To be fair, we did not play badly and both Baggies goals were  avoidable. The referee got the Gardner penalty spot on; if the ball hits the outstretched hand it’s a penalty. Unfortunately, Mr East failed to  spot Gareth McAuley’s handball a few minutes later, to the chagrin of  Adam Johnson.

East is a referee in transition as he is not yet on the full time  list. This was his fifth Premier League game and he has been given  middle ranking games (Fulham, Villa, Liverpool, that kind of thing),  including two against us – he made his debut at Swansea in September.

He had a decent game except for the fact that on at least two  occasions he got in the way and spoiled promising moves which could well have brought us something.

Jake records another defeat

But enough of Wiltshire Roger. What of the performance of those gallant lads, freshly returned from the winter hell that is Dubai?

It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was, well, average. And that is about as good as it gets for us this season. Average.

There was nothing to get excited about and not much to get too depressed about – although if we continue losing games by the odd goal, we will end up down amongst the QPRs and Readings of this world.

The manager decided to go with the clamour for two forwards and four in midfield. Did it work? Probably not, as neither forward scored and Graham did little to worry the impressive Ben Foster. Fletcher (roundly booed by the Baggies fans because of his Wolves connections; how childish. Catch us jeering former Mags when they turn up at the SoL.) hit the post and tried to get the forward line moving, but the lack of spark in midfield made that very difficult.

That is where the nub of our problems lies. Comparing the respective midfields is like comparing English Rugby League with its Antipodeans equivalent. One gives plenty of effort and has the occasional spark, while the other is a well oiled machine that just keeps on rolling.

Sess had a good game out wide and Adam Johnson had his moments. Both Larsson and N’Diaye worked hard, but neither had the ability to pick a telling pass or set up the front men.

Albion were able to do this, with the very impressive Youssouf Mulumba showing how it should be done. He is a very good player and Albion will do well to keep hold of him should bigger clubs come calling – although I doubt he will take off to QPR.

Where do we find a player who will control the centre of midfield? Vaughan was ok when he came on and he showed his composure when he brought down the ball and hit a shot that was deflected narrowly wide.

Composure is something that we sadly lack. N’Diaye exhibited precious little when he put a cross into the crowd from a very inviting position and James McClean really should have put away the ball that landed at his feet as Mr East prepared to blow his whistle for the end of the game. Instead, he shanked it over the bar when a sidefoot or header would have given us a point.

The other thing that struck me was that had we been 2-1 ahead at the SoL with ten minutes left, the opposition would have battered away at us and we would have retreated deeper. It didn’t happen here.

We did attack but with out a great deal of intensity and McAuley and Olsson were discomfited but not troubled. We should have been hoying the kitchen sink, gas cooker and American style fridge with water cooler, ice maker and drinks dispenser at them, but we didn’t.

In February, we have taken zero points from nine, allowing every team around us to play catch up and one or two to get ahead of us. By Monday night, if either the Mags or Southampton win and West Ham take all 3 points from Spurs, we will be looking over our shoulders.

A similar return from the next three games and we will be well and truly in the proverbial brown stuff. Are we good enough to get away from it and leave QPR, Reading, Villa, Wigan and Newcastle (wishful thinking there) cutting each others throats? We shall see.

Finally, many thanks to West Midlands Police for routing the returning coaches through parts of Birmingham that even Brummies know little of. They made us wait until almost 6pm and then, instead of a left turn past the ground and on to the M5, it was a right turn and the delights of Brown’s Green and Hamstead. I suggest we get our own back next season by sending the Baggies to Jarrow and through the tunnel before joining the A1 somewhere near Morpeth – assuming we are in the same division!

Feb 232013
 

- West Brom rocked Liverpool last Monday as two late goals from Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku gave the Baggies a famous win at Anfield.

 

– Few defenders can claim to have surpassed Gareth McAuley this season, the Northern Irishman repeatedly coming to rescue for Steve Clarkes’ side.  He’s amassed a mammoth 138 interceptions and 64 clearances according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

Chris Brunt continues to surprise many commentators with the standard of his play this season, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows his form to be no accident. He’s consistently finding space for others in advanced positions, completing 312 passes in the opponent’s half this season, the second highest in the Baggies’ squad.

 

Jonas Olsson has been throwing himself into his defensive duties with admirable courage this season. He currently sits fifth on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for blocks with 25.

 

Sunderland were unable to capitalize on their one-man advantage against Arsenal last time out as they were defeated 0-1 at the Stadium of Light. It was a performance of which Martin O’Neill can be proud though and he will need his players to show similar grit and adventure this weekend against one of the season’s surprise packages in West Brom.

 

– One of Martin O’Neill’s star performers this campaign has undoubtedly been his Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet. He’s is currently rated second amongst goalkeepers in the Premier League for saves on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 147, one every 17.1 minutes.

 

– There are few more creative wing pairings in the Premier League than Adam Johnson and Stephane Sessegnon. The creative wide men have amassed 96 crosses and 10 assists between them.

 

Craig Gardner will need to work on his discipline in defence as we move towards the season’s crucial stages. He’s compiled an unenviable defensive record so far this campaign, racking up more fouls than any other Sunderland player with 41.

 

Feb 112013
 

Liverpool v West Brom 20:00

 

– A stunning strike from Steven Gerrard was not enough to earn his Liverpool side a victory as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Manchester City last weekend.

 

Steven Gerrard will be looking to build on his striking performance against Brazil this weekend, hopefully adding to his huge total of 755 passes completed in the opponent’s half this season.

 

– Brendan Rogers will no doubt have been delighted with the recent form of Daniel Agger in the Reds defence. The Danish international has made a positive defensive contribution once every 12.2 minutes this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

Jose Enrique is another who looks to be hitting top defensive form, establishing the best tackle success rate in the Liverpool squad at 81% from 32 challenges.

 

– Expect to see Luis Suarez at the centre of Liverpool’s play this weekend as usual. The Uruguayan striker has either dribbled with the ball or completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.9 minutes this season.

 

West Brom fell victim to the talents of Gareth Bale last weekend as they went down 1-0 at home to Tottenham.

 

– Rumours are circulating that Romelu Lukaku might be extending his loan stay at West Brom beyond the end of this season and it’s not difficult to see why the Baggies would be keen to secure his services for a little while longer. He’s been on target in front of goal 37 times this season, bagging 9 goals along the way.

 

Gareth McAuley continues to be one of Steve Clarke’s defensive rocks this season, racking up 236 positive defensive contributions this season at a rate of one every 9.9 minutes.

 

– Much of the Baggies’ best play moving forward often centres on Chris Brunt, the midfielder leading the West Brom squad for crosses with 43, collecting 5 assists along the way.

 

– Despite throwing himself into his defensive duties with enthusiasm, Youssouf Mulumbu would do well to curb some of his slightly more rash attempts at winning the ball. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he leads the West Brom squad for attempted tackles with 78, yet has only won 47.4% of them.

Jan 182013
 

West Brom v Aston Villa, Saturday 15:00

 

–  West Brom threw away 3 points last weekend, as Reading came back from a 0-2 deficit to score 3 goals in the final eight minutes. The Baggies had been in total control for large parts of the match, so Steve Clarke will be looking to seeing his attacking-minded team respond this week and close out the match with more efficiency.

 

– The Baggies back four have certainly been busy this season but have proven themselves to be more than up to the task. Defenders Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson and Liam Ridgewell have collectively combined for a massive 570 defensive contributions this season, providing the stability for their attacking players to venture forward.

 

– Belgian youngster Romelu Lukaku made a point of saying how much he is enjoying his time at West Brom, an easy inference to make as the striker is flourishing under Steve Clarke. His 9 goals are the product of an excellent 75% shot accuracy rate from 44 attempts, the highest of any of the top ten scorers in the Premier League this season.

 

– Fellow striker Shane Long’s all-action style is unfortunately lead him down the wrong path defensively-speaking this season. The 31 fouls he’s racked up so far is the highest total of any Baggies player according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

James Morrison remains the pivotal figure in the West Brom midfield, leading the squad for both passes completed in the opponent’s half with 390, and assists with 6.

 

George Thorne was the man to who stood out in terms of workrate last weekend, the young defender clearly desperate to grab the chance to add to his limited appearances this season. He ran for 6.61 miles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

 

– A controversial penalty saw Aston Villa fall to a 0-1 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday, pushing them in the Premier League’s relegation zone.

 

Gabriel Agbonglahor may have been struggling to consistently find the net this season, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index suggests that the West Brom defence may have to be alert to stop his bad run of luck from changing. He has a 73% shot accuracy rate from 11 attempts, yet only one goal.

 

– Fellow striker Christian Benteke has also been finding goals a little hard to come by in the past few weeks, despite a stellar start to his Premier League career. However, he remains by far the biggest threat Aston Villa possess up front, having a combined total of 10 goals and assists.

 

– Defender Matthew Lowton is part of the lastest crop of talented youngsters to come through at Villa and his performances have demonstrated a maturity beyond his 23 years. He has a remarkable 79.1% success rate rom 72 attempted tackle and has only conceded 15 fouls.

 

– He will be looking to add to his offensive weapons as his development continues though. He currently has the second highest total for crosses delivered without an assist, with 29, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Oct 272012
 

Newcastle v West Brom, Sunday 15:00

Yohan Cabaye scored Newcastle’s only goal as they drew 1-1 with North East rivals Sunderland

Cabaye has been in providing more than goal scoring mood this season, delivering 30 crosses, the third highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Cheick Tiote was sent off in a typically competitive derby fixture, while Fabricio Coloccini put in a defensive masterclass which manager Alan Pardew likened to watching Bobby Moore. Coloccini won 3 of his 4 attempted tackles and also contributed two blocks to the defensive cause.

Demba is joint top goalscorer in the Premier League this season with six goals this season. However it has taken Ba 30 efforts at goal to reach that total, while rivals Robin van Persie and Michu have needed just 17 and 20 efforts at goal respectively to reach that total. Ba has had just 47% of his shots on target so far this season.

Meanwhile fellow Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse continues his wait for his first Premier League goal of the season. He has had 16 shots at goal without scoring, the joint highest so far this season.

West Brom came close to causing a huge upset in their last game, leading reigning Premier League champions Man City 1-0 up until the 80th minute

Shane Long had put the high flying Baggies 1-0 up in the 67th minute, while Romelu Lukaku could have extended their lead with a spectacular overhead kick if it wasn’t for an equally spectacular save from Joe Hart

Long’s goal was his third of the season from an economical 11 attempts at goal with five on target. Lukaku, meanwhile, has two goals this season from 14 attempts on goal and has had an admirable 12 of those on target so far. Lukaku has average a shot every 18 minutes 17 seconds, the fifth best minutes per shot rating in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index

Ben Foster made eight saves during the game to try and keep Man City at bay, his busiest goalkeeping performance of the season

Oct 062012
 

West Brom v QPR, Saturday 15:00

West Brom were denied all three points thanks to a late Aston Villa equalise, as they battled to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park. Romelu Lukaku again looked to be a threat in front of goal for the Baggies, in a match where Steve Clarke will be disappointed not to have come away with the win given the level of dominance his side enjoyed.

Jonas Olsson has shown himself to be more than able to get himself in the right position to defend his goal this season. He’s racked up 19 clearances this season, placing him first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Zoltan Gera worked hardest for the Baggies’ cause last time out. Racking up 5.47 miles on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

– Over the course of the season, Youssuf Mulumbu has been West Brom’s hardest working player, covering 33.79 miles so far

– Although he didn’t manage to get himself on the score sheet, Shane Long was certainly making every effort to do so. He was the quickest player on the field against Aston Villa, being snapped running at 21.81mph.

Olsson and fellow West Brom defender Gareth McCauley also both continue to impress in their reading of the game this season. They’ve racked up an impressive 87 interceptions between them.

QPRs poor start to the season continued as they were beaten 1-2 at home by West Ham on Monday evening. Despite substitute Adel Taarabt’s wonder strike, Mark Hughes’ side again failed to take anything away from yet another league fixture.

Alejandro Faurlin will have impressed Mar Hughes in defeat against West Ham. No Rs player ran harder than he did, having clocked up 6.06 miles.

– Last season Faurlin was one of QPR’s hardest working players, and since returning to the first team he has covered more ground than any of his teammates in the last three games.

– Overall, however, it is former United midfielder Ji Sung Park who has covered the most ground for QPR, notching up 33.83 miles so far this season.

Ryan Nelsen was not only QPRs quickest player against the Hammers, but the quickest from either squad. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index recorded him at 22.21mph.

Aug 312012
 

West Ham v Fulham – 12:45

• After a promising start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Villa, Swansea brought West Ham back down to earth subjecting them to a 3-0 defeat at the weekend
• Mark Noble once again covered the most ground for the Hammers with 6.67 miles
• Noble also holds the honour of having attempted the longest shot in the Premier League so far this season, with a hopeful effort of 43 yards
• Mohamed Diame was the Hammers’ fastest player on the pitch against Swansea, registering a top speed of 20.4 mph
• Diame has also completed the most passes in his opponent’s half so far this season for the Hammers, with 28 passes completed.
• That stat puts Sam Allerdyce’s traditional long ball tactic into perspective, as the player who tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes in his opponent’s half is Yaya Toure with a massive 123, almost 5 times more than Diame. Meanwhile Mark Noble has completed 22 passes backwards and sprayed 562m of long passes around the field so far this season.
• In Fulham’s 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford, Damien Duff scored and Nemanja Vidic could only head a Matthew Briggs cross into his own net for Fulham’s goals
• Briggs registered a top speed of 20.4 miles per hour, only just behind Mladen Petric who was the fastest player on the pitch according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index registering 20.43 miles per hour
• Fulham have done well playing from the back so far this season, with defender Aaron Hughes completing more successful passes in the defensive third than any other player with 38
• Meanwhile, Mahamadou Diarra has proved the focal point for his team, having received the ball 98 times, the third highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index after Yaya Toure and Mikel Arteta
• Mouassa Dembele has also received the ball more often than any other striker in the league with 65 ball receptions, so Fulham must be wary of becoming too predictable in their play and relying on those two players

Swansea v Sunderland 15:00

• Swansea followed up their 5-0 victory on the first weekend of the season with a 3-0 win on the second, to continue their very impressive start to the season
• Goals from Angel Rangel, Miguel Michu and Danny Graham made sure the Swans are second in the Premier League after two games, only behind Chelsea who have a game in hand
• Rangel and Michu also topped the charts for distance covered among the Swansea players with 6.3 and 6.15 miles respectively, while Michu was the fastest Swansea player on the pitch registering 20.87 miles per hour
• Swansea are also looking strong at the other end of the pitch, with Neil Taylor having won 10 tackles out of the 11 he has attempted, the highest number of tackles won in the league so far this season
• Wayne Routledge has the second highest number of assists in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 3, after Chelsea’s Eden Hazard who has six, but has played an extra game to Routledge
• Sunderland had their match suspended last weekend due to a waterlogged pitch, leaving the Black Cats to focus their action on the transfer market with the signings of Adam Johnson and Stephen Fletcher
• Fletcher was one of the hardest working strikers in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index last season, covering 146.56 miles
• Fletcher also scored and impressive 12 goals last season, the third highest scoring British striker in the Premier League last season
• Adam Johnson had limited opportunities at Manchester City last season, but still managed to contribute six goals and six assists in the Premier League. That averages out at a goal or assist every 106 minutes. If we discount players who played less than 1,000 minutes for their clubs last season this make Johnson the 9th most frequent supplier of goals and / or assists in the Premier League

Tottenham v Norwich 15:00

• New Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas is still waiting for his first win with Spurs after a late equaliser meant his team could only manage a 1-1 draw with West Brom
• Benoit Assou-Ekotto scored for Spurs, while young star Jake Livermore put in a huge contribution with 7.09 miles covered, the third highest distance covered by an individual player so far this season
• Spurs striker Jermain Defoe is a player who divides opinion, but so far this season his shooting stats have matched those of Manchester City hotshot Carlos Tevez. Both have had 11 attempts at goal in the first two games, with 8 on target.
• Defoe has also made the second highest number of attacking runs off the ball in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 111, showing the work he does in creating space for his team mates
• Norwich came up against QPR at the weekend as both teams looked to bounce back from 5-0 defeats on the opening weekend of the season
• The Canaries had to settle for a point in the end, with Simeon Jackson scoring in a 1-1 draw
• Anthony Pilkington provided the cross for that goal, and covered 5.9 miles during the game, second only to new signing Robert Snodgrass who covered the most distance for Norwich with 5.97 miles
• Snodgrass also delivered seven crosses in the game, the joint highest of the second round of matches, shared with his opponent this weekend Gareth Bale
• Meanwhile, midfielder Bradley Johnson has committed more fouls than any other player in the league so far this season with ten
• Jonathon Howson has completed more passes in his own half than any other player who will be on display in this game with 42, ahead of Spurs’ Sandro with 39
• However, Norwich will need to turn their attacking play into chances to have a chance against Spurs. Only Bradley Johnson has managed more than one shot on target for the Canaries so far this season.

West Brom v Everton 15:00

• West Brom snatched a late equaliser to take a point away from White Hart Lane in their last game
• James Morrison scored the equaliser for the Baggies, while Graham Dorrans clocked the fastest top speed with 21.6 miles per hour and Liam Ridgewell covered the most distance with 6.05 miles
• Gareth McAuley made 7 clearances in the game, the most any player has made in a single game this season
• Marouane Fellaini continued his impressive start to the season with a goal in Everton’s 3-1 win over Villa at the weekend
• As well as getting on the score sheet for the second game in a row, Fellaini topped the charts for distance covered among the Everton players, clocking up an impressive 6.72 miles in the game
• That was just ahead of fellow goal scorer Steven Pienaar who covered 6.61 miles
• Overall Everton covered 65.16 miles, the fourth highest for a team in an individual game so far this season
• Fellaini also attempted 11 tackles against Villa, the most attempted by a player in a single game this season. That takes his total number of tackles attempted to 17 so far this season, more than any other player. However, looking a little more closely, Fellaini has won just 5 of those tackles and has conceded 7 fouls
• Fellaini has also completed 69 passes in his opponent’s half this season, more than any other player who will be on display in the game against West Brom. In fact, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the top five passers on display in this game are all Everton players. The West Brom player to have completed the most passes in his opponent’s half is Claudio Yacob with 38.

Wigan v Stoke 15:00

• Wigan continued an impressive start to the season with a 2-0 victory over Southampton at the weekend
• Goals from Franco and Arouna Kone showed that the Latics can survive without Victor Moses, whose protracted transfer to Chelsea has now been completed
• James McArthur covered the most ground for Wigan with 6.43 miles and also registered the fastest top speed with 19.81 miles per hour
• Wigan frequently disrupted Southampton’s play in the game, with Caldwell making 16 interceptions and Ivan Ramis making 14, the top two highest number of interceptions by a player in a single game this season
• That takes Gary Caldwell’s defensive contributions for that game across tackles, clearances, blocks and interceptions up to 24, the busiest defender in the Premier League last weekend
• Meanwhile Ali Al Habsi made ten saves in the game to earn his clean sheet, matching Petr Cech in the first weekend of the season as the most saves made by a keeper so far
• At the other end of the pitch, full back Maynor Figueroa has delivered 11 crosses so far this season, more than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
• Stoke held an Arsenal team still to score their first goal since the departure of Robin van Persie to a 0-0 draw at the weekend
• Jonathan Walters put in a typically hard working performance as he once again topped the charts for distance covered with 6.68 miles as Stoke out ran the Gunners by 62.37 miles to 60.32 miles
• Jermaine Pennant showed the impact playing a former club can have, registering the fastest top speed of any Stoke player with 23 miles per hour, the fourth highest top speed registered by a player so far this season
• Martinez’s passing style is apparent when you compare the two team’s stats for passes completed in their own area. The top seven players, when comparing players from both sides, for passes completed are all Wigan players with James McCarthy topping the index with 61 passes in his own area. Jonathan Walters is Stoke’s top passer with 25 passes completed in his own area
• However, Stoke have the superior work rate, with the top seven players among the two teams for distance covered all coming from the Potters, topped again by Walters and striker Peter Crouch

Manchester City v QPR 17:30

• Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City were lucky to come away from Anfield with a point at the weekend after a gripping 2-2 draw
• Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez were both on target for the blues
• Tevez has had 11 shots on target so far this season, with 8 on target and 2 goals. Only Luis Suarez has had more shots at goal, although the Liverpool strikers lack’s Tevez’s accuracy as he has got just 5 of his 12 shots at goal on target
• Nigel de Jong covered the most ground for City against Liverpool with 6.36 miles
• Overall, City covered 64.23 miles in the game, the fifth highest total for a team in an individual game so far this season
• Yaya Toure became the first player to complete over 100 passes in his opponent’s half this season against Liverpool, taking his total to 123 so far. That’s especially impressive considering the second highest total, belonging to Chelsea’s Juan Mata, is 97, 26 behind the City midfielder
• Toure has also completed more forward passes than any other player this season with 69, showing the attacking intent which has made City so dangerous over the last two seasons
• It’s no wonder that his team mates look to Toure so often, having received the ball more often than any other player this season with 144 ball receptions
• QPR bounced back from a 5-0 defeat in their first game to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Norwich
• Bobby Zamora scored for QPR tucking in the rebound from a John Ruddy penalty save, although replays showed he entered the area before Djibril Cisse took his penalty
• Jamie Mackie topped the performance data charts for QPR for both overall distance covered and top speed registered, clocking a speed of 21.17 miles per hour and covering 5.69 miles
• QPR should be wary that as well as being the league’s most exciting passing team, City also have a high work rate. When comparing the two teams head to head, Ji-Sung Park is the only player that makes the top five for overall distance covered so far this season.
• Park also breaks into the top four for passes completed in their opponent’s half, having completed 60 so far this season, behind City’s Yaya Toure with 123, Juan Mata with 97 and Samir Nasri with 73.

Aug 212012
 

After a summer of waiting, the Premiership returned and the opening weekend threw up some amazing results and some brilliant goals.

Here are BFTGT Top 5 for you to vote for in the Poll below.

1. Demba Ba v Spurs

2. Michu v QPR

3. Alex Kacaniklic v Norwich City

4. Zoltan Gera v Liverpool

5. Branisalv Ivanovic v Wigan Athletic

Which was the best goal?

View Results

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