Chelsea v West Brom
After a run of nine games without defeat, Chelsea suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Newcastle United in their last Barclays Premier League outing.
Debate continues to rage around Chelsea’s midfield, with 22 year old Brazilian sensation Oscar keeping out more experienced players. Oscar has had more attempts at goal this season than any other Chelsea player, with 16 to date. While his accuracy could improve, with just 44% on target, Oscar clearly has luck on his side at present as one in four of his shots has hit the back of the net to give him a tally of four in the Premier League so far this season.
In comparison, Eden Hazard has got 61% of 13 efforts at goal on target but has a smaller goal tally than Oscar, with three goals to his name. Hazard is 19/10 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Saturday.
Much has been made of Fernando Torres’ differing styles of play in the Premier League compared to Europe, and a telling statistic is that Torres has had just nine shots at goal in the league this season. Defenders Branislav Ivanovic (13), and John Terry (10), have both troubled goalkeepers more than Torres this season.
In contrast, West Brom’s form took a turn for the better in their last league game. Having gone five games without a win the Baggies beat Crystal Palace 2-0 thanks to goals from Saido Berahino and Gareth McAuley.
If Chelsea want to get back to winning ways they’ll have to find a way around Claudio Yacob. The West Brom midfielder has won 35 tackles so far this season, the 9th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and 64.8% of those he’s attempted.
Youssuf Mulumbu has been equally effective alongside Yacob, but via different means. Mulumbu has stayed on his feet to make 35 interceptions, the third highest in the Barclays Premier League, to compliment Yack’s tackling.
They will also have to work around West Brom’s commanding centre back Jonas Olsson. Olsson finished last season as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s most frequent clearer of the ball, and he is top of the Index again so far this season having made 97 clearances.
Morgan Amalfitano has quickly settled into the West Brom team this season, and leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with fourteen, resulting in three assists to date.