Aston Villa will be looking to bounce back from a week that saw them knocked out of both the FA Cup and League Cup. Their last league game was a 2-2 draw with West Brom that saw goals from Christian Benteke, who has been a stand out performer for Villa this season, and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Benteke has seven goals from 68 shots this season, with an impressive 72% on target. He’s also contributed four assists meaning he has had a hand in 58% of Aston Villa’s goals this season.
Agbonlahor’s goal was just his second of the season, having had 14 shots at goal with 71% on target. The usually prolific Agbonlahor has been shot shy this season, averaging a shot every 84 minutes 24 seconds.
Matt Lowton has been another stand out performer for Villa this season, winning 58 tackles so far, more than any other defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Newcastle will also be looking for an upturn in form, after losing 2-1 to Reading in their last Premier League game. Yohan Cabaye had put Newcastle ahead in that game with a superb free kick.
Cabaye has been a key player for Newcastle over the last two seasons, and his absence through injury has had an undeniable impact on Newcastle’s fortunes. Cabaye has played just 1017 minutes this season, but has completed a pass in his opponent’s half every 5 minutes 9 seconds this season and won 61.5% of his attempted tackles.
Newcastle’s reliance on Cabaye is made clear when you consider that 84 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index have completed 300 or more passes in the opposition half this season, but only one of those is a Newcastle player (Vurnon Anita with 307 passes completed)
Following the loss of Demba Ba to Chelsea, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa seem to be Newcastle’s most likely sources of goals. Cisse has four goals from 39 shots at goal with 51% on target, while Ben Arfa has 3 goals from 30 shots with 53% on target. A conversion rate of approximately ten shots for each goal for both players will need to be improved on if they are to fire in the goals to keep Newcastle clear of the relegation zone.
Jonas Guttierez is doing as much as anyone to try and provide the goal scoring opportunities. He has delivered 31 crosses without being credited an assist, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.