Sunderland v Southampton 15:00
– A John O’Shea goal saw Sunderland fight back to earn a point at home to Stoke in their last outing.
– Adam Johnson remains the main creative driving force behind the Black Cats and manager Paulo Di Canio will be expecting to see him to continue to develop next season regardless of what division Sunderland are playing in. The winger has made a squad high 97 crosses this season.
– Carlos Cuellar has a record to be proud of this season, excelling in the defensive duties. The Spaniard has a quite superb tackle success rate of 85.9% from 64 attempted challenges and will be integral to Sunderland’s efforts to shackle a dangerous attacking force in Southampton this weekend.
– Although a rare goal against Stoke will have pleased John O’Shea, he, like Cuellar, has been performing magnificently in his main role at the back. He has now joined the small group of players to have surpassed the 200-interception barrier this season (202).
– Southampton were the latest team to suffer at the hands of Gareth Bale, the Welshman’s late strike sending the Saints away from White Hart Lane with nothing after a 1-0 loss.
– Although noted as creative midfielder who will often be able to fashion chances for those around him, Gaston Ramirez has shown a distinct ability to get a shot off when he’s found himself near goal this season. He’s has a shot on goal on average once every 36.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season.
– For a player who should supposed still be coming to terms with his first season of top flight football, Nathaniel Clyne has been regularly defying expectations. Despite possessing an excellent tackle success rate of 74.5% from 98 challenges, the youngster has only conceded 16 fouls according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. This maturity beyond his years could see several clubs linked with his signature come the summer.
– Morgan Schneiderlin could learn a thing or two from Clyne, as although he has made more attempted tackles than anyone in the league this season with 147, he’s also committed more fouls than any other Southampton player with 65. That’s a full 30 indiscretions ahead of his nearest team mate in Rickie Lambert.