West Ham vs Stoke, 15:00
– Despite creating the better chances, West Ham were unable to break their deadlock with Newcastle last weekend and could only leave Tyneside with a point for their efforts. Winston Reid was one of the standout performers on the day, further cementing his position as one of the most effective fullbacks in the league.
– Guy Demel looks to have the bit between his teeth this season, the imposing defender establishing a tackle success rate of 83.3% from 6 challenges so far according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Indeed, the Hammers look to have a solid back four ahead of a long campaign, with Demel’s defensive colleague Winston Reid once again positioning himself as a key part of their backline. The New Zealand international ranks 4th in the league for clearances with 24.
– Jussi Jaaskelainen will be more than happy to sit behind what has been a rock solid defence so far this season. Not only have West Ham yet to concede a goal but Jaaskelainen has only had to make 1 save in his 180 minutes on the pitch.
– At the other end of the park though, Sam Allardyce will be looking for more potency in front of goal at home this weekend, having seen only two of his players (Maiga and Cole) manage to establish a shot accuracy rate in front of goal of 50% or more.
– Mark Hughes’ Stoke fought back from a goal down to register their new manager’s first home win of his tenure thanks to goals from Charlie Adam and Ryan Shawcross.
– Mark Hughes will be looking for his defense to start providing Asmir Begovic with more protection this weekend. His keeper currently leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for saves with 14, 5 ahead of David De Gea in second place.
– Midfield enforcer Steven N’Zonzi looks to have been working hard on his technique over the summer, quickly racking up a tackle success rate of 91.7% from 12 attempted challenges. Along with Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward, this represents the joint highest success rate of any Premier League player who has attempted more than 5 challenges.
– N’Zonzi has also proved more than adept with the ball at his feet, leading the Stoke squad for passes in the opponent’s half with 50.