Newcastle v Reading, Saturday 15:00
– Newcastle need to get used to life after Demba Ba, having scored just once in their two Premier League games since he left for Chelsea. Papiss Cisse scored that goal against Everton on January 2nd, before they played out a 0-0 draw with Norwich last weekend.
– Cisse’s goal was his 5th of the season, coming from 35 shots at goal with 48.5% of those on target.
– Newcastle’s back four have been beset by injury this season, but those players who have been brought in have excelled and have been among the league’s best defensive performers. Mike Williamson is ranked joint 7th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 36 this season.
– Williamson overall has won 26 tackles, made 91 interceptions and 12 blocks to add to those clearances, averaging a defensive contribution every 9 minutes 59 seconds while on the pitch this season.
– Tim Krul, meanwhile, has made 111 saves, the 7th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Reading are making a habit of dramatic comebacks this season, and West Brom were the latest team to fall foul to the Royals ‘never say die’ attitude last weekend.
– Reading were trailing 2-0 against the Baggies before goals from Jimmy Kebe, Adam le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak saw them leave 3-2 winners.
– Reading’s strikers have been in efficient form this season. Le Fondre’s goal was his sixth league goal of the season, having come from 30 shots at goal with exactly 50% on target. Pogrebnyak has hit five goals from 17 shots with 57.8% on target, while Kebe has hit three goals from 13 shots at goal with 69.23% on target.
– Overall, that gives the Reading strike force an impressive conversion rate of 14 goals from 60 shots, or a goal every 4.28 shots, a better conversion rate than league top scorer Robin van Persie who converts a goal every 4.53 shots.
– At the other end of the pitch, Shaun Cummings is excelling for the Royals at right back and has the best tackles won percentage in the league, discounting players who have attempted fewer than 20 tackles. Cummings has lost out on just two tackles this season to make a 91.67% success rate.