Manchester United v Aston Villa 20:00
– Manchester United came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with West Ham in their midweek game, thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia and Robin van Persie.
– After a long drought by his own high standards Robin van Persie has now scored in his last two Premier League games for Manchester United, breathing life into the golden boot race as he now has 21 goals compared to Suarez’s 22.
– Van Persie has been the more efficient of the two strikers in getting to this tally, taking just 5.52 shots per goal compared to Suarez’s 7.4 shots per goal.
– If Manchester United do go on to win their 20th Premier League title it will be down to their lethal and efficient attacking play which has allowed United to continue to dominate even during van Persie’s goal drought. United have three of the top five players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for minutes per goal or assist this season.
– Hernandez leads the ranking, averaging a goal or assist every 71 minutes this season, while van Persie is ranked third with one every 84 minutes, and Rooney fifth with one every 93 minutes.
– At the other end of the pitch, Patrice Evra won 8 tackles against West Ham, more than any other player in the matches taking place last weekend or in midweek. That made Evra’s tackling performance the best in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index by a United player so far this season, judged on the number of tackles won.
– Aston Villa earned a vital point in their fight for survival in their last league game against Fulham, and have the benefit of not having played in mid-week when facing United today.
– Ron Vlaar’s defensive performances will be key to Villa’s survival chances this season, and the Dutch defender has managed to put in a dominant defensive performance without giving away the fouls that can place a team in danger. Vlaar has attempted 51 tackles, giving away just 6 fouls, a rate of 8.5 tackles per foul conceded, the best in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (excluding those players who have attempted less than 30 tackles)
– Charles N’Zogbia scored for Villa against Fulham, just his second of the season, although he’s been more prolific at creating chances, clocking up six assists this season. That’s an average of one every 170 minutes while on the pitch, the sixth highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for player’s with more than one assist this season.
– Fabian Delph has made a name for himself for being tough in the tackle this season. He attempted twelve against Fulham, more than any other player in the last round of games and just one short of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s record for tackles attempted in a game this season.
– Nathan Baker also boasted impressive defensive stats against Fulham, contributing more defensively than all but one other Villa player has in a game this season. Baker contributed defensively 27 times across won tackles, clearances, interceptions and blocks, one every 3 minutes 20 seconds. The only Villa player to have done more in a game this season is Ciaran Clark against Sunderland in November.