Everton vs West Brom, Saturday 15:00
– Only a stunning header from Norwich new boy Ricky van Wolfswinkel denied Everton all three points at Carrow Road last weekend. Roberto Martinez will be expecting more ruthlessness at the back this week but must have been impressed by the all-round performance of the effervescent Ross Barkley, who capped a top draw display with an expertly taken long-range finish.
– Midfield enforcer Marouane Fellaini turned in yet another impressive all-round display against Norwich. The Belgian recorded the highest number of passes in the opponent’s half of any away player last weekend with 49.
– Sylvain Distin is clearly looking to make an immediate impact this year, the oldest defender in the league already ranking joint third for interceptions last weekend with 4.
– Indeed, only Jose Fonte of Southampton made more total defensive contributions than Distin. The Frenchman made 19 interventions against Norwich.
– Leighton Baines picked up where he left off last season against Norwich, his trademark runs up the left flank still terrifying defenders. Baines is already dominating the EA SPORT Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with 5, tying for first with the Saints’ James Ward-Powse.
– A last-minute Ricky Lambert penalty broke West Brom hearts as they fell to a 0-1 defeat after Youssouf Mulumbu brought down Luke Shaw in the area at the death.
– Jonas Olsson’s defensive awareness and positional instincts were once again crucial to West Brom as they looked to repel a vibrant Southampton side last weekend. The Swede is tied for the most clearances recorded with 14 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Much of the defensive responsibilities through the middle of the field will also clearly be falling on the shoulders of Claudio Yacob. The Argentinian was West Brom’s most enthusiastic tackler last weekend, committing to 8 tackles and winning 62.5%.
– Baggies fans will be expecting more from Nicolas Anelka this weekend, the French striker having been hailed as a strong replacement for Romelu Lukaku who returned to Chelsea in the summer. Against Southampton however, Anelka failed to register a single attempt on goal during his 83 minutes. Anelka is 10/3 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
– Ben Foster achieved the rare EA SPORTS Player Performance Index distinction for a goalkeeper of being credited with a dribble against Southampton, the England keeper showing his skills aren’t confine to just those between the sticks!