Man Utd v Liverpool, Sunday 13:30
– Man Utd thrashed Wigan 0-4 at the DW stadium last week to maintain their advantage at the summit of the Premier League. Two braces from Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez ensured all three points returned to Old Trafford in a fixture which underlined just how ruthless their rivals can expect them to be as they attempt to regain the league title.
– Robin van Persie continues to rightly grab all the headlines for Man Utd, having now put clear distance between himself and the other highest scorers in the league. Somewhat surprisingly though, his shot on target percentage rate is only 57% from 69 attempts.
– It is sometimes easy to forget the array of attacking talents that Sir Alex Ferguson has at his disposal. Whilst RVP and Wayne Rooney often steal the show, Javier Hernandez has a goal per minute ratio to rival almost anyone in the league. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the Mexican finisher as finding the net once every 82.3 minutes this season, with many of the appearances coming off the bench.
– Patrice Evra continues to defy the critics who say at 31 he is approaching the end of his peak years. Only Michael Carrick has bettered his total of 436 passes completed in the opponent’s half in the Man Utd squad this season.
– Man Utd know what they’re going to get from Antonio Valencia and Sir Alex Ferguson clearly appreciated the stability he gives his side on the flank. He’s delivered a solid 43 crosses this season according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Tom Cleverley has been encouraged to step up this season and start to fulfill his eventual role as Man Utd’s midfield dictator. If last week is anything to go by he certainly can’t be faulted for a lack of effort, having ran for a very impressive 6.98 miles.
– A fine 3-0 victory over Sunderland showcased the progress made by Liverpool under Brendan Rogers since the start of the season. Two goals from Luis Suarez and one from youngster Raheem Sterling capped a strong team performance from the Reds, in a game where they showed they may be coming back to somewhere near top form.
– It will be a clash of two of the most talented strikers in the Premier League on Sunday as Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez square off. Suarez may be 3 goals behind RVP in the race for the golden boot but the Uruguayan has been the busier in front of goal, racking up 58 shots on target to Van Persie’s 39.
– Brendan Rogers will still be looking for continual improvements in Suarez’s discipline though, his talisman having given away more fouls than any other Liverpool player with 29.
– Steven Gerrard has continued to dictate play for Liverpool this season, as he has done for much of the last decade. He sits fourth on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for assists with 9 and has seen his dazzling array of passing give him a successful pass total of 626.
– Right-back Glen Johnson if often criticized for his slight defensive lapses, which sit in stark contrast to his ability going forward. However the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him as having successfully completed more tackles than any other Liverpool player with 32, something his detractors should bear in mind.
– Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel has been repeatedly getting in the way of the Liverpool goal and oncoming danger this season. His 35 clearances is a squad high according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.