Crystal Palace vs Stoke 15:00
Crystal Palace fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham last weekend, with Tony Pulis’ side left to rue a number of missed opportunities. Most notable among these was Jason Puncheon’s missed penalty but his manager was quoted after the game saying that he was pleased with the team’s reaction after the miss. They will need all that character when they visit Pulis’ old side at the Britannia this weekend.
Captain fantastic Mile Jedinak has been the standout performer for Palace in what has been a difficult season to date for the Eagles. Jedinak passed a personal barrier last time out, becoming only the fifth player in the league this season to pass 100 or more attempted tackles. The Australian currently sits on exactly 100, winning 75% of them according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Jason Puncheon may suffer some ribbing in the dressing room for his penalty miss but he remains statistically the most likely Palace player to work the opposition ‘keeper. His 27 attempts on goal is the highest in the Eagles squad.
Damien Delaney continues to be Palace’s most effective defender this term, the Irish centre half setting the tone for the rest of the back four. Tony Pulis knows a good central defender when he sees one as well and no doubt he’s been bolstering Delaney’s confidence even further. He leads the Palace squad for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) with 269.
Having the confidence to take on the opposition when you are collectively enduring a turbulent time is never easy, but Joel Ward has maintained his willingness to have a go this term. He places second in the Palace squad for dribbles with 21.
A thrilling encounter last weekend saw Stoke eventually succumb to a 3-5 loss at the hands of Liverpool. Despite goals from Peter Crouch, Charlie Adam and Jonathan Walters, the home side were unable to stem the flow of goals from the Reds but Potters fans will have taken heart from an impressive attacking performance of their own as they head into this weekend.
Erik Pieters remains one of the most effective defenders in the league this season. The Dutchman has won more tackles than any other defender with 70 to his name, placing him fourth overall on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
His defensive colleague Ryan Shawcross remains the most physically committed player in the Stoke squad this term, repeatedly throwing himself in front of the opposition’s attempts on goal. He ranks second in the league for blocks with 29.
Young though he may be, Jack Butland appears more than ready to make the step up to a consistent starting place in the Stoke XI. Displacing Asmir Begovic will be no mean feat though but if his performance last weekend is anything to go by he’s up capable of making a serious challenge. He made the second highest number of saves in the last round with 5.
Marko Arnautovic continues to showcase the talents which brought him to the attention of Stoke last summer. The Austrian has a great combination of strength and technical ability and he showcased this again against Liverpool, completing the second highest number of attacking contributions (crosses, dribbles, shots on goal, assists) of any player in the league with 8.