STATS: Ben Arfa’s dribbling skills for Newcastle vs Scholes’ opposition half passing for Manchester United

Newcastle v Man Utd, Sunday 16:00

Newcastle fans were spared defeat as their talismanic frontman Demba Ba scored twice in the second half to ensure a point returned north with the Magpies. It continued Newcastle’s fluctuating start to the season as they again turned to their prolific striker to rescue them on a day when they seemed to be unable to create many clear chances.

Jonas Gutierrez turned in a typically hard-running performance against Reading as he ran for 5.37 miles, the most of any Newcastle player.

– French midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa continues to torment defences this season. He’s made 9 dribbles this season, making him joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

Papiss Cisse showed some of the reason why he’s able to split defences so often as he showcased his speed against Reading. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index recorded him at 20.26mph, the quickest of any player on the park.

– His countryman and fellow striker Demba Ba has also shown what he can do to almost any defence as he is now the highest scoring player in the league with 6 goals.

– Defender Mike Williamson has gone quietly about some solid defensive work so far this season. He’s made 31 interceptions and 5 blocks.

– A frustrated Man Utd were beaten 2-3 at home by an impressive Tottenham last weekend. Nani and Shinji Kagawa both struck for the hosts as they tried to reel in their London rivals but despite their relentless pressure towards the end of the match, with Michael Carrick hitting the woodwork, they were unable to find an equaliser.

– It’s unsurprising that Michael Carrick managed to work himself into so many good positions against Tottenham, given that he was the hardest working player on the pitch after running for 6.67 miles.

– That 6.67 miles was the most distance that a United player has covered all season, and the team total of 64.46 miles was also a season high, as United tried to grind a result out against Spurs.

Carrick has also received the ball more than any other Man Utd player, having been passed to 420 times by his teammates according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

– Even at 37, Paul Scholes can’t help but have a huge influence on Man Utd’s play. No other player in their squad has completed more passes in the opponent’s half than him, having racked up a total of 189.

Jonny Evans was evidently alert to the Tottenham threat on goal as he was Man Utd’s quickest player on the day, with the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index recording him at 19.96mph.

– Whilst he was bought primarily for his passing and vision moving forward, Shinji Kagawa has evidently also been alive to the defensive rigours of the Premier League since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund. He’s been successful with 86% of his 7 tackles so far this season.