West Ham vs Everton, Saturday 15:00
– West Ham had Jussi Jaaskelainen to thank for rescuing a point for The Hammers following a series of dramatic saves during their 0-0 draw with Southampton. Sam Allardyce will be desperately hoping for a more clinical finishing in front of goal when the always dangerous Everton visit Upton Park this Saturday.
– Until last weekend Jasskelainen had actually been one of the quieter keepers in the league, but his 5 saves against the Saints was the joint second highest total of any keeper in the last round of fixtures.
– Few players can currently match the defensive work of James Collins so far this season, the Welsh defender sitting joint top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) with 60.
– Mohamed Diame will be looking to improve his accuracy in front of goal this weekend. He has so far only managed a return of 16.7% on target attempts on goal from 6 total shots.
– Mark Noble has once again been excelling in attacking positions this season, leading the Hammer’s squad as he does for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 86, giving him an average rate of one every 4.1 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.
– Everton managed to pull off a 1-0 win at home to Chelsea last weekend after a pulsating encounter at Goodison Park. Steven Naismith, celebrating his 27th birthday, popped up with a crucial header which proved the difference between the two sides after an excellent display of grit and tactical discipline from the Toffees as they held off a strong attacking performance from the Londoners.
– Leon Osman’s value to the Everton midfield is well-known, the England international’s passing technique being a key attribute in the Toffee’s arsenal. His defensive work continues to need sharpening however, with Osman ranking second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for tackles lost so far this season (10).
– Gareth Barry was the talk of Goodison Park last weekend after a sterling performance against Chelsea which helped his side to a hard-fought three points. Sometimes the holding midfielder role necessitates putting in the hard challenges required in a Premier League engine room so it’s perhaps no surprise that Barry topped the league for fouls conceded in the last round of fixtures with 5.
– Whilst speed over the ground may wane with age, speed of thought clearly doesn’t if Sylvain Distin is anything to go by. He’s racked up 12 interceptions this season, making him the oldest player to have broken into double figures so far this term.
– Nothing seems to be fazing Ross Barkley as he continues his excellent form so far this season, the youngster continuing to lead the Everton squad for attacking contributions to the cause (shots on goal, dribbles, assists, crosses) with 25 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.