Southampton v West Ham, 15:00
– Southampton all but ensured their survival in the top flight with a fine 0-2 win over Reading last weekend.
– It is little wonder Southampton are flying high at this point in the season when you consider the solid defensive foundations that have seen them concede just three goals in their last five outings. Between then Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshida have amassed a highly impressive 538 defensive contributions between them this season.
– Midfielder Adam Lallana continues to prove that he belongs at Premier League level, posting some incredibly impressive statistics this season. The creative Englishman has been posting some fantastic all-round performances, racking up a tackle success rate of 71.6% as well a completed pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 4.4 minutes.
– Southampton will be desperate to cling onto the services of Luke Shaw come the summer, the youngster maturing with every game he plays in the top flight. At only 17 years of age, only 3 other players in the Southampton squad have contributed more defensively than Shaw (Schneiderlin, Yoshida and Fonte).
– A highly organized West Ham managed to negate Liverpool’s potent attacking threat as they battled to a 0-0 draw at Anfield last time out.
– James Collins gained plenty of plaudits last weekend for his superb marshaling of the in-form Luis Suarez and his defensive authority will be needed again this week against a Southampton side full of attacking players. The Welsh international has the second best tackle success rate of any player in the Hammers squad to have made more than 10 attempted challenges, completing 70.6% of his 68 attempts according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Despite now being in his 30s, Joe Cole still has enough to influence proceedings when given the chance. Despite only playing 705 minutes for the Hammers this season, Cole has still managed to average a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 4.1 minutes, the best rate in the West Ham squad.
– No West Ham player has been more willing than Mohamed Diame to take the game to the opposition this season, the Frenchman currently sitting the highest in the squad for dribbles with 19. Sam Allardyce’s side will need his powerful runs from the midfield to give the likes of Lallana and Schneiderlin something else to think about when moving forward.