Stoke City vs. Newcastle United (19:45)
Stoke City won yet again at the Brittania Stadium on Saturday, a stadium that has become one of the league’s most reliable fortresses. With the mid-table teams so close, every point the Potters can pick up will be extremely valuable:
– Zero defeats, one goal conceded and twelve points is a superb home record from Tony Pulis’s men this season- Newcastle are yet to win on the road, so the stats appear to bode well for the Potters.
– Robert Huth is in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index team of the week after a strong showing against Fulham. The German is currently in the top 15 best performing defenders over the course of the whole season, the only representative from the bottom half of the table. He’s won 19 of the 40 tackles he’s gone in for this season, just under 50 percent.
– Ryan Shawcross was another defensive rock against Fulham, and has made 16 blocks so far this season- only QPR’s Ryan Nelsen has made more with 17.
– Jonathan Walters was also excellent for Stoke last weekend, covering 6.77 miles. Not a single Fulham player managed to reach 6.3 miles, and Walters’ high work rate will be critical on Wednesday.
– Charlie Adam scored the winner against Fulham on Saturday to become the third Stoke player with two goals to his name this season. He’s notched up ten shots on target this season, with eleven off his efforts heading off target.
An inconsistent run of form has dented Newcastle’s bid to repeat their strong fifth-place last season, but eight points from a possible fifteen at the start of the current campaign proves the team is capable of putting together a string of results- they’ll be aiming to become the first side to win at Stoke this season:
– Newcastle appeared to miss Hatem Ben Arfa against Southampton, and will be looking forward to his return from injury in December. The Frenchman is the best dribbler in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 26 successful attempts at an average of just over one every 44 minutes.
– Tim Krul was on sensational form against Southampton last weekend, pulling off a string of saves to keep the score down. His selection rival Steve Harper has also proved himself this year however, coping well with being the league’s fourth busiest keeper. With almost one save every 14 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the veteran will be keeping Krul on his toes (Krul has made 52 at a rate of just under one every 17 minutes).
– The Magpies recorded more possession than their opponents for the third consecutive game on Sunday. Keeping the ball away from Stoke may frustrate the side, who are used to depriving away opposition of the ball at the Brittania.
– 71.4 percent of Newcastle’s league points have come at home so far, with no wins away from home heading into a match against a team that are yet to lose at home. Football can be a strange game however, and Newcastle’s determination to end a run of three defeats may have more bearing on the outcome than the statistics.