Newcastle vs Hull, Saturday 15:00
– An excellent display from Hatem Ben Arfa propelled the Magpies to a 2-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend and gave Alan Pardew a timely reminder of how devastating the forward can be on his day. Newcastle fans will be hoping he can replicate this kind of form when their side returns to St James’ Park this weekend.
– Such was his attacking intent last weekend, only one player in the entire league (Andros Townsend) could better Hatem Ben Arfa’s total attacking contributions against Aston Villa. The gifted Frenchman racked up an impressive 11 contributions (shot on goal, assist, cross, dribble) to his team’s overall offensive efforts.
– Mathieu Debuchy endured a somewhat difficult start to life in the Premier League last season, however the Frenchman appears to have now found his feet on Tyneside. His 21 attempted tackles so far this season places him firmly within the top ten on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, but it is his defensive success rate that really separates him from the pack. His stellar 76.2% makes him the second highest rated player in the league for those who have attempted more than 20 challenges.
– Moussa Sissoko’s importance to the Newcastle midfield has been quickly underlined by his position as their most successful passer in the opponent’s half. He is the only player to have moved into triple figures in this regard, his 111 successfully completed passes in opposition territory marking him out as the conduit through which Newcastle are launching their attacks this season.
– Newcastle will need Papiss Cisse to start finding his range as the season progresses, with the striker struggling for form somewhat at the start of this campaign. Of his 9 attempts on goal this season, only 33.3% have been on target, a low return for such a talented frontman.
– In a battle of Premier League newcomers, Steve Bruce’s Hull were unable to find a real foothold as their encounter with Cardiff ended with honours divided after a 1-1 draw.
– Hull fans will no doubt have been pleased with the performance of Sone Aluko last weekend, the Nigerian forward ranking third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the most attacking contributions (shots on goal, assists, crosses, dribbles) with 9.
– Maynor Figueroa may prove to be a very shrewd signing for Steve Bruce’s side as the season progress, his experience of the top flight providing a crucial element of knowledge to the Hull dressing room. Figueroa has also apparently brought his tough-tackling style with him to his new club, leading the Hull squad as he does for both tackles attempted (14) and tackle success rate (78.6%).
– Steve Bruce will be looking for Ahmed Elmohamady to kick on and continue to lead the Hull midfield forward this weekend. The Egyptian international last weekend became the first Hull player to break the 100-barrier for passes completed in the opponent’s half, and now sits on 108.