Arsenal v Stoke
– Arsenal came back from two goals down against Liverpool to earn a point in their race for the Champions League. Goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud completed an impressive comeback by the Gunners.
– Walcott’s goal takes his tally in the Premier League this season to 10, one of only three English players and nine players overall to have hit the milestone so far this season. Of those nine players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, only Steven Fletcher has a better shooting accuracy than Walcott. Walcott gets an impressive 69.6% of shots on target, supporting calls for him to be played in a more traditional striker role rather than on the wing.
– Walcott has also taken the second fewest shots to get his ten goals with 46. Again, only Steven Fletcher has scored his goals with more efficiency having needed just 38 shots.
– Walcott has now contributed to or scored 19 goals this season. Only four players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can boast better numbers – Robin van Persie, Luis Suares, Carlos Tevez, and Juan Mata.
– In comparison, Olivier Giroud’s goal was his eighth of the season, having come from 53 shots at goal with 52.8% on target.
– As in the game against West Ham, Aaaron Ramsey was a controlling force from midfield and he completed 54 passes in the opposition half in that game, more than any other player in the midweek round of games.
– Much has been said of Arsenal’s defensive frailties since the game against Liverpool. However, despite recent errors, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows Arsenal’s centre backs to be statistically sound. Thomas Vermaelen has won 64.2% of the 53 tackles he has attempted this season and has made 22 clearances, 31 interceptions and 13 blocks.
– Stoke’s last game was a 2-2 draw against Wigan, thanks to goals from Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch.
– Peter Crouch was the subject of some speculation on transfer deadline day, but remains at the Brittania, a fact which Potters fans should be pleased about. Crouch has 4 goals this season, but has netted them from just 25 shots at goal making for an efficient strike rating of a goal every 6.25 shots, while his shots on target rating is an equally impressive 68%.
– Shawcross’ goal was his first of the season, as the tough tackling midfielder has focused more on stopping goals than scoring them. He’s attempted 56 tackles winning 60.7% of them. Shawcross is ranked 12th overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for defensive contributions having won 34 tackles, made 33 clearances, 119 interceptions and 24 blocks