Arsenal ran riot in their last Premier League game, beating West Ham 5-1 thanks to two goals from Olivier Giroud, and strikes from Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott.
Giroud’s strikes took his Premier League tally to six this season from 51 shots with 51% of those on target. Giroud has also been supporting at the back, with 20 clearances. That’s the second highest for a striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index behind only the man Giroud was bought in to replace, Robin van Persie, who has made 24 clearances.
Aaron Ramsey was one of the game’s controlling forces, completing 43 passes in the opposition half, more than any other player in the last round of games.
The match will be a battle of the midfielders, as the game will see two of the league’s hardest working midfielders go head to head. Santi Cazorla (142.4 miles) and Steven Gerrard (142.92 miles) rank third and second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for miles covered so far this season.
Cazorla has a chance to go top in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opposition half over the forthcoming fixtures. Yaya Toure leads Cazorla at present by 916 to 843, but with Toure away at the Africa Cup of Nations Cazorla has a chance to make his mark at the top of the passing charts in his first season in the Premier League.
The game also sees two of the league’s most attacking full backs go head to head. Bacary Sagna has completed more passes in the opposition half per minute on the pitch than any other defender this season averaging a pass completed every 3 minutes 31 seconds. He will go up against Liverpool right back Glen Johnson, who has had more shots at goal than any other defender this season with 34, and more dribble than any other defender with 19.
Liverpool also hit five in their last league game, winning 5-0 against Norwich thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard and an own goal forced by Raheem Sterling
Sturridge has wasted no time in settling in at Anfield, scoring 3 goals from 18 shots already this season. Sturridge has averaged a shot every 17 minutes 36 seconds this season, the most prolific strike rating in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Sturridge is only just ahead of team mate Luis Suarez, who averages a shot every 17 minutes 59 seconds, so Arsenal Keeper Wojciech Szczesny can count on having to add to the 61 saves he has made so far this season.
Arsenal’s defenders will also need to be on their toes against a Liverpool side that enjoys running at players. Liverpool have both of the top two players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles in Luis Suarez (41) and Raheem Sterling (34)
The return of Lucas to the Liverpool midfield has proven an excellent defensive platform for a Liverpool attack which has scored three or more goals in three of their last four Premier League games. Lucas has contributed more defensively per minute on the pitch than all but one other Premier League defender. Lucas has made 79 defensive contributions across tackles won, interceptions, clearances and blocks, at an average of one every 8 minutes 38 seconds.