Fulham vs Stoke, 15:00
– Yet more pressure was heaped on Fulham manager Martin Jol last weekend as his side lost 1-2 at home to Cardiff as their poor run of league form continues. Despite a fine goal from Bryan Ruiz, Fulham fans will be hoping for a turnaround in fortunes this weekend.
– Goals have been relatively hard to come by for Martin Jol’s side so far this season, but he will be keen to see his players simply start to get more attempts on goal before anything else. So far no Fulham player has broken into double-figures for shots on goal, with the entire squad combining for 39 shots with a collective return of 4 goals.
– Despite being 32 years old, Scott Parker may prove to be one of Fulham’s most important signings of recent times with the stability he brings to the Cottager’s midfield. He’s been showcasing the old adage that class is permanent, his 124 completed passes in the opponent’s half making him the joint second oldest player in the league to moved beyond the 120-pass barrier so far this season.
– Midfielder Patjim Kasami may have given away the joint 4th highest amount of fouls of any player in the league this season (14) but according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he also has a tackle success rate of 81.2% from 22 attempted challenges. One can only assume that if he stayed on his feet more, and was perhaps more measured in his approach when rushing opponents, his success rate would be even higher.
– Steve Sidwell is once again at the heart of Fulham’s defensive efforts this season, leading the squad for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) with 48 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– A relatively lacklustre performance from Stoke saw them fall to a 0-1 defeat at home to Norwich, in a game where they managed to muster just one shot on target.
– Steven N’Zonzi is undoubtedly an integral component of the Stoke midfield and has the stats to prove it. So far this season he’s completed 206 passes in the opponent’s half, making him the only player in the top 12 of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in this category to come from a team outside of the top ten in the league.
– Defender Geoff Cameron has been showcasing some excellent form so far this season, the American international seemingly willing to adapt to Mark Hughes’ philosophy and push higher up the pitch when the opportunity presents itself. Only one other defender in the Premier League (Everton’s Seamus Coleman) has attempted more dribbles than Cameron’s current total of 11.
– Marc Wilson’s commitment to the Stoke cause is most certainly not in question with 39 tackles attempted so far this season, the third highest total in the league and an average of one every 13.8 minutes he’s been on the park. However he could perhaps do better to time these challenges better as he currently has the lowest tackle success rate of any player in the top ten on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total tackles attempted with 56.4%.
– Normally relatively reliable in front of goal, Jonathan Walters has been surprisingly off-form when it comes to his shooting so far this season. So far only 37.5% of his 8 shots this term have tested the opposition keeper.