Aston Villa v Chelsea, Saturday 12:45
– Aston Villa put five points between themselves and the relegation zone last weekend with a 2-1 victory over Norwich. A brace from Gabriel Agbonlahor secured a vital win for Villa.
– Agbonlahor’s second came from a perfectly weighted through ball from Ashley Westwood.
– Aston Villa’s season has been defined by the emergence of a promising generation of young players, not least Joe Bennett who was one of three players to make five clearances in the last round of games, the highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Young defenders such as Bennett and Matt Lowton have benefited from the experience of Ron Vlaar this season. Vlaar has the cleanest tackling record in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, attempting 59 tackles and committing just 6 fouls, a rate of one every 9.83 tackles, and with a tackles won percentage of 81.4%.
– Behind Villa’s defensive line Bradley Guzan will be welcoming the close season, as he has been the busiest goalkeeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index making 217 saves to date. Last season’s busiest goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey made 223 saves, and Guzan looks on course to beat that total.
– Chelsea missed out on the chance to cement their Champions League spot by conceding a late equaliser against Spurs which saw two of the three teams fighting for the two remaining Champions League places share the points. Oscar and Ramires were on target for Chelsea in that game.
– Despite Chelsea’s point in that game being vital to their Champions League spot, their pass completion of 73.1% was actually the lowest they’ve managed at Stamford Bridge this season.
– Demba Ba has continued to struggle to hit the same goal scoring form for Chelsea. He had 13 Premier League goals for Newcastle upon joining Chelsea, but has scored just two since. That’s despite him being the fourth most prolific shooter in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index averaging a shot every 22 minutes and 42 seconds this season.
– Eden Hazard has been among Chelsea’s star performers in his first season at Stamford Bridge. He is ranked second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for dribbles completed with 54 this season, just one behind Luis Suarez who tops the rankings with 55, and 8 ahead of the third placed player Adel Taarabt with 46.
– Juan Mata has been equally impressive, contributing an incredible 18 assists this season, 1 in 4 of Chelsea’s goals, while Hazard has contributed 14 assists.