Norwich v Wigan, Saturday 15:00
Norwich have now gone an incredible nine games unbeaten in the Premier League after a dramatic 4-3 victory over fellow second season syndrome defiers Swansea.
Four different goalscroers showed the depth of attacking talent in the Norwich squad as Steven Whittaker, Sebastian Bassong, Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass all struck, but the Canaries will need to tighten up defensively as their league cup defeat to Villa has made it 7 goals conceded in 2 games for Chris Hughton’s side.
Holt set the Premier League alight last season prompting calls for an England call up. This season Holt has quietly been going about his business scoring the goals to try and establish Norwich as a Premier League force, rather than a plucky newly promoted side. Holt has four goals from 25 efforts at goal with 56% on target this season. At this point last season Holt had 6 goals from 17 efforts at goal with 82.3% on target, so he will need to rediscover that form to keep Norwich in a tight mid table cluster which sees them four points away from a European spot and 7 points above the relegation zone.
John Ruddy is another Norwich player who excelled last season, earning himself the England number two slot behind Manchester City’s Joe Hart. The Canaries have missed the England stopper who is now out for three months. Prior to picking up that injury Ruddy had made 74 saves conceding 19 goals, at a rate of 3.89 saves per goal. Compare that to England number one Hart who has made 43 saves and conceded 14 at a rate of 3.07 saves per goal and Ruddy has been the busier, but more effective keeper this season.
Robert Snodgrass has made the transition from Championship to Premier League football seamlessly having joined from Leeds in the summer. Snodgrass has 3 goals and 3 assists to his name this season and has delivered 51 crosses, the 4th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and more than established Premier League wingers such as Gareth Bale, Adam Johnson and Sebastian Larsson.
Wigan rescued a point against QPR thanks to two James McCarthy goals in their last outing, but remain just two points clear of the relegation zone
They were McCarthy’s first goals of the season, though a decent shots on target percentage of 68.4% from 19 efforts suggests that there may be more to come from the midfielder.
McCarthy has been at the heart of the Wigan engine room this season, and is ranked top at Wigan and 13th overall in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for distance run this season with 96.21 miles
It’s that work rate, combined with the 7th highest number of tackles won in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with 38, which means opposition midfielders rarely have a quiet moment against Wigan.
McCarthy is one of four Wigan players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s Top 100 so far this season, along with Kone, Beausejour, and Emmerson Boyce
Beausejour is ranked 6th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered this season with 48 in total, contributing 5 assists