Arsenal vs Norwich, Saturday 15:00
– A second-half goal from Jack Wilshere saw Arsenal grab a point last time out against West Brom at The Hawthorns. The 1-1 draw saw the Gunners impressive string of wins come to a halt but Arsene Wenger will no doubt have been pleased at the level of grit and mental fortitude shown by his side to come back from a goal down at a notoriously difficult away venue.
– Arsenal fans will have been sweating on the fitness of Mesut Ozil after the midfield maestro appeared to pick up a knock whilst on international duty with Germany. Ozil’s influence since arriving from Real Madrid has been enormous and he was once again near the top of the stats in the last round. He completed 51 passes in the West Brom half, placing him third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. This total also made him one of only three players (Michael Carrick, David Silva) to have an average minute per succesfull pass rate of less than 2 minutes (1.76).
– Olivier Giroud will once again be looking for greater consistency in front of goal this weekend, despite a superb overall start to the season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Giroud has had the second most off-target attempts on goal this season, with only 42.1% of his 19 efforts on goal testing the keeper.
– Aaron Ramsey’s performances of late haven’t just been eye-catching for his willingness to drive at defenders and pop up with far more goals than in recent seasons, but also in the development of his all-round game. No player has won more tackles than the Welshman, with 34 successful challenges and an overall tackle success rate of 73.9% to his name.
– Ramsey is hot on the heels of fellow contenders for most influential midfielders Michael Carrick and Yaya Toure, currently sitting third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 253. That works out as an average of one every 2.36 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.
– Norwich found themselves on the wrong side of 1-3 loss at home to Chelsea during the last round of fixtures, a solitary Anthony Pilkington goal the sole bright spot on a difficult afternoon for the Canaries against a Blues side in full flow.
– Jonny Howson has so far been one of the most pivotal members of the Norwich midfield this season, his 153 successful passes in the opponent’s half representing the highest total of any Canaries player this term.
– Youngster Nathan Redmond continues to shine for Norwich this season, his emergence providing Chris Hughton with an extra creative outlet up front. Redmond tops the Norwich squad for both attempts on goal (10) and overall attacking contributions (32) (crosses, assists, dribbles, shots on goal). He may well force his way in Roy Hodgson’s thinking should he be able to maintain these impressive performance levels.
– Robert Snodgrass will be hoping he can fashion more end-product from his runs forward for the rest of the campaign. The Scotsman so far has the second highest numbers of crosses to his name without registering an assist (9) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.