Chelsea v Arsenal, Sunday 13:30
– Chelsea allowed a two-goal lead to slip through their fingers as Southampton battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. New signing Demba Ba continued to pick up where he left off at Newcastle, but his and Eden Hazard’s goals were not enough to prevent Chelsea fans once again venting their frustration at the Blues’ lack of home form.
– Fernando Torres continues to work hard to rediscover his best form in front of goal but he will have to be wary of committing too many defensive indiscretions this weekend against Arsenal. They are buoyed following an excellent midweek performance and will look to punish him should he add to his squad-high total of 31 fouls.
– Juan Mata’s mix of guile and tireless work-ethic have proved invaluable to Chelsea since his arrival from Valencia. He once again demonstrated his willingness to track back to help his team against Southampton, running for an excellent 7.07 miles according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Despite ongoing attention over Chelsea’s refusal to over him a contract extension, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard continues to deliver the goods on the pitch. He has the best shot-to-goal ratio of any Chelsea player with more than 10 attempts on goal, scoring once every 3.7 attempts as he chases down Chelsea’s all-time scorer’s record.
– Arriving to much fanfare, big things were expected of Eden Hazard and he has not disappointed in his Chelsea career so far. The Belgian magician has an excellent combine assists and goal total of 17, terrorizing defences with 26 dribbles to boot.
– Ashley Cole’s solidity at the back has been one of the key factors behind Chelsea success in past seasons and he continues to add to his reputation ever in what Chelsea consider to be the latter part of his career. He has an excellent 79.4% tackle success rate from 39 attempted challenges, conceding only 7 fouls along the way.
– Arsenal recorded a deserved 1-0 win over Swansea in their FA Cup replay on Wednesday evening, an all-action second-half performance capped by a sublime Jack Wilshere volley. They will be looking to carry the confidence this win will have brought into the weekend as they travel to the reigning European Champions.
– If Jack Wilshere’s performance against Swansea in midweek was anything to go by, he’s fast approaching somewhere close to his devastating best. Look to see him add to his 11 dribbles and 2 assists this weekend and continue to make up for lost time by playing in a more advanced role.
– Talent is never an excuse to stop learning though so you can guarantee that Wilshere will have been picking up advice from fellow midfield standout Santi Cazorla. The Spanish technician currently sits second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 822, remarkably one every 2.4 minutes.
– Kieran Gibbs was another one of Arsenal’s young guns who turned in a superb displaying at a freezing Emirates on Wednesday night, a cup performance he’s been replicating in the League. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between his record and that of Ashley Cole, given he’s similarly excellent 74% tackle success rate from 46 challenges, combined with only 9 fouls.
– Arsene Wenger will be happy to see Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker gel in the centre of the Gunners’ defence. Both centre halves have contributed equally to Arsenal defensive efforts in the league this season, successfully intervening defensively 95 times each according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations look to finally be coming to a close, allowing the electric frontman to concentrate on his ever-improving performance level for the Gunners. Despite rarely playing through the middle as he desires, Theo still has almost the best shot-to-goal ratio in the Arsenal squad, finding the net once every 4.5 attempts he has on goal.