STATS: Fulham vs Newcastle

Fulham vs Newcastle

A disappointing loss to Cardiff, in a match that can only be classified as a six-pointer, means that this match at home to Newcastle becomes even more significant in the Cottagers’ fight for survival. They host the Magpies, who will be without manager Alan Pardew, following the seven match suspension imposed on him by the FA.

He may not have scored on Saturday, but Kostas Mitroglou showed the Fulham faithful that he may just be able to score the goals to keep the Cottagers in the top flight. The Greek international showed his willingness to take efforts at goal all match, taking a shot at an impressive rate of a shot every 15 minutes. Mitroglou is 9/2 with to score the first goal on Saturday.

Sascha Reither was handed the Player of the Season Award for Fulham last campaign, with the German full back proving to be a big hit at the Cottage. His probing runs down the flank were a key factor behind him winning the accolade, and on Saturday, he produced another effective offensive performance which suggests that he might be starting to hit form again at just the right time. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Reither completed a total of 24 passes in the opposition half on Saturday, which was the second most of any defender in the league.

Hugo Rodallega may not have played as much football as he would have liked this term, with former manager Rene Meulensteen not fancying the Colombian forward. In the limited opportunities he has been given, however, Rodallega has showcased his excellent shooting ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the former Wigan man has hit the target with every shot he has attempted this season.

If anyone can inspire Fulham to survival this season it is midfielder Scott Parker. The former England international is an established Premier League player, and although it’s been a poor season for Fulham by all accounts, the former West Ham man has been a rare bright spark. Parker has impressed at both ends of the pitch for the Cottagers this term, completing a total of 539 passes in the opposition half (more than any of his teammates), and also winning an impressive 76% of his challenges.

Newcastle will travel to Craven Cottage without manager Alan Pardew at the helm, following his 7 game stadium and touchline ban. With safety all but guaranteed, the Magpies are playing for pride during the remainder of the season, but will want to finish their respectable campaign in the top 10 in the league.

One of Newcastle’s most consistent performers this term has been centre half Mike Williamson. Although the former Watford man hasn’t always been a regular for the Magpies in seasons gone by, this term, he’s featured in 23 league games for Pardew’s men and in this time, has made a real impression. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Williamson has made a total of 265 defensive contributions, (based on blocks, clearances, interceptions and tackles won), which is the second most in the Newcastle squad.

With the number of Frenchman in the Newcastle squad, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the three players who have registered the most assists for the Magpies are all from the land across the Channel. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko have registered 5 apiece, whilst defender Mathieu Debuchy has 4. Head to if you fancy Ben Arfa to score the first goal of the match (7-1).

Manager Alan Pardew has previously described ‘keeper Tim Krul as ‘the best in the League’ as the Dutchman has played a prominent role this season in shutting out opposition strike forces. Krul’s importance can probably be best demonstrated through the fact that he is one of only four players to have featured in every minute of every match so far this season, and in the process, he has racked up a total of 83 saves – the sixth most in the league.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has struggled at times during his spell on Tyneside, but his natural defensive ability should never be questioned. The EA SPORTS Player Performance shows that the Frenchman clearly has an excellent eye for a tackle, as he has won an impressive 81% of his challenges this term.

Sunderland vs Crystal Palace

Sunderland host Crystal Palace, looking to bounce back from a fortnight in which they were eliminated from the FA Cup and were defeated by Manchester City in the League Cup final.

Liam Bridcutt is a new arrival at the Stadium of Light, linking up with Gus Poyet once again. The former Brighton man has featured in 3 league games since he arrived in Humberside and has showcased his excellent ability to shield the back four in that time. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has won an impressive 63% of his challenges, and has completed a total of 45 passes in the opposition half.

One of former manager Paulo Di Canio’s final act as Sunderland manager was signing centre half Valentin Roberge, who arrived on a free transfer from Portugese side Maritimo. The Frenchman hasn’t featured as regularly as he would have liked this term, making only 9 appearances, but he has shown his excellent eye for a tackle in this time. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that Roberge has won an incredible 82% of his challenges this season.

There was a lot of excitement amongst Mackem fans when the club announced the signing of Emmanuele Giaccherini, as the winger is a fairly established Italian international. The Italian hasn’t always reached the heights that the Sunderland fans expected, struggling at times to adapt to the pace of the Premier League. He has, however, shown glimpses of his undoubted talent when it has come to his dribbling as he has completed 24 dribbles, the second most in the Sunderland squad.

If Sunderland are to remain in the top flight they will need Adam Johnson to maintain the excellent form that he’s shown since the turn of the year. Such is the former Manchester City man excelling, that rumours that he may break back into the England squad are rife. His importance to Poyet’s team can be underlined by the fact that he has made a total of 11 goalscoring contributions (based on goals and assists), which is more than any other player in the squad. Johnson is 15/2 with to score the first goal of the match on Saturday.

Eagles manager Tony Pulis has described the last 10 games of the season as ’10 cup finals’ as he seeks to steer his side away from the dreaded relegation places. Palace will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat to Southampton.

Palace may have drawn a blank against Southampton, meaning that they now scored less goals than any other Premier League side, but for the vast majority of the game their defence continued to look robust. Central to this fine rearguard effort was left back Dean Moxey, who won an impressive 83% of his challenges.

Yannick Bolassie has earned high praise for his excellent dribbling ability this term, with the winger’s willingness to take his opposite man a key asset in the Eagles’ offensive play. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he utilized this skill to great effect on Saturday, as he completed 6 dribbles – the most in the entire league.

Captain Fantastic Mile Jedinak has led by example for the Eagles this term, with the Australian excelling in all areas of the pitch all season. His importance to the Eagles is probably demonstrated best by the fact that he has featured in 2520 minutes this term, the third most of any outfield player in the league.

Thomas Ince was signed by Tony Pulis to bring added pace and width to the Eagles’ offensive play, so what may come as a surprise to many is that he has also impressed defensively too. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has won a superb 81% of his challenges this term. You can find Thomas Ince at 8/1 with to open the scoring on Saturday.

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