Everton vs Stoke
In arguably the game of the season so far, Everton drew against rivals Liverpool 3-3 in an enthralling Merseyside derby.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice against Liverpool to continue his impressive start to the campaign, and looking at his shooting statistics on Saturday, it isn’t difficult to see why Lukaku hits the back of the net on a regular basis. Lukaku took four shots on Saturday, and in addition to scoring twice, he also tested the keeper every time. Only Sergio Aguero had a better record than the Belgian.
Roberto Martinez has encouraged an offensive, possession based style of play this term, and this was certainly on show against Liverpool in a classic end-to-end encounter. Steven Piennar’s performance encapsulated this philosophy that Martinez has instilled, as he completed an impressive 25 passes in Liverpool’s half on Saturday.
Kevin Miralles may have been at the centre of an unwanted row at the weekend following a slightly reckless challenge on Luis Suarez, but this should take nothing away from his overall performance – as he scored one goal, and was involved in the other two. The Belgian has thrived under Martinez this term, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates how influential he has been through his assist tally. Miralles has registered 4 assists this term, which is more than any other player in the Everton squad.
Leon Osman may have felt slightly aggrieved by Roy Hodgson’s decision to discard him from the international fold, as he performed perfectly respectively in the 2 matches he featured in. Osman has always had an eye for a pass, and this knack has been evident this season, as he has completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes.
Stoke ended their 9 match winless run with a victory over Sunderland last weekend, with goals from Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi helping them on their way.
Erik Pieters has been in impressive form all season, and he produced another stellar performance to keep Sunderland at bay on Saturday. The former PSV man attempted 6 challenges, and won an impressive 5 of them.
Steven N’Zonzi scored Stoke’s second goal on Saturday, which was just one part of an impressive offensive performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Frenchman made a total of 34 attacking contributions on Saturday (based on shots, passes in the opposition half, crosses and dribbles). This was the most in the Stoke team.
Charlie Adam has shown how determined he is to cement his place in the Stoke lineup by shedding half a stone. Adam has always had great striking ability, and this skill of his has been on show this season, as he has managed to hit the target with 71% of his shots – a better rate than any of his teammates.
Mark Hughes has hinted in recent weeks that Glenn Whelan is in pole position to become the anchorman in Stoke’s midfield, and by looking at his performance against Sunderland, it is clear to see why Hughes sees the Irishman as an integral part of his team. Whelan completed a pass in Sunderland’s half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.8 minutes, demonstrating how competent he is at maintaining possession.