Southampton vs Crystal Palace 15:00
– Prior to the start of the season, this clash may have been considered a relegation ‘6 pointer’, but on the basis of performances so far this season it should be considered anything but that. Southampton have started the season well, and completed a stunning win at Anfield last week, whereas Palace suffered a disappointing loss at home to Swansea.
– The Eagles result could have been even worse were it not for Danny Gabbidon. The Welshman made 12 defensive contributions (clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles) against Swansea, more than any of his teammates.
– Overall this season, however, Gabbidon’s performances have been overshadowed by his Australian teammate Mile Jedinak. The Australian has made more defensive contributions than any other player in the league.
– Crystal Palace might have conceded twice at the weekend, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the strikers need to up their game too. Between them, the Eagles strikers failed to register a single shot against Swansea.
– Strikers may point to a lack of service as a reason behind their lack of chances, but midfielder Jason Puncheon would refute this claim. He completed 37 passes in Swansea’s half on Saturday, which was more than anyone else on the pitch
– Dejan Lovren’s header was enough to give the Saints all three points in their match against Liverpool on Saturday.
– He may have been active up the pitch, but Lovren also showcased his defensive ability on Saturday, clearing the ball 8 times – more than any other Saints player.
– The performance of another Saints defender, Nathaniel Clyne, was one that really caught the eye. He comes into the match against his former club in fine form according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, as he won 13 tackles against Liverpool, more than anyone else in that round of fixtures.
– Clyne was far more successful than his teammate on the other flank. Left back Luke Shaw attempted 9 tackles at the weekend, but lost 6 of them. No other player in the league lost more.
– Southampton have earned plaudits for their tendency to develop young English talent, and so far this season, James Ward-Prowse has repaid the faith put in him. In addition to completing 10 crosses this season, the saints academy graduate has completed a pass in the opposition half once every 2.8 minutes. He’s 13/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal of the match against Arsenal.