Stoke vs West Brom 15:00
– A late goal from Darren Bent saw Stoke leave London with nothing as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage. Mark Hughes will be hoping that his side can bounce back immediately on their return to Britannia this weekend.
– Hughes will also be hoping for greater accuracy in front of goal from Marko Arnautovic this weekend, the forward topping the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total shots off target in the last round of fixtures with 4.
– Arnautovic has been exceptional when called upon to defend this season though, something slightly out of the ordinary for Premier League strikers this season. He’s completed an excellent 81.8% of his 11 attempted challenges so far this term.
– However Hughes will be looking for a general increase in the effectiveness of his players in front of goal this weekend. Still only one player (Marc Wilson) has a shot accuracy rate of 50% or more, with exactly half of his 6 attempts working the opposition goalkeeper.
– Wilson will be looking for greater consistency from his defensive work as the season continues though. Wilson currently sits second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for tackles lost with 17, giving him a overall success rate of 57.5% from 40 attempted challenges.
– West Brom will have been disappointed they could not cling on for all three points after taking the lead against Arsenal, instead seeing their contest with the high-flying Gunners end with honours even at 1-1. The Baggies have been showcasing the kind of football their fans know they’re capable of in recent weeks and will be hoping for a continuation of their good form when they travel to Stoke on Saturday.
– Saido Berahino has caught the eye of many with some excellent performances at the beginning of this campaign for the Baggies. There has been plenty to suggest he could figure in England’s World Cup squad next summer should he maintain this form and there is plenty of evidence to suggest he knows how to grab an opportunity when presented with one. He’s fashioned an on-target attempt on goal on average once every 48.8 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season, the best rate of any West Brom player.
– Morgan Amalfitano has been in highly impressive form in recent weeks, highlighted by a superb solo goal against Manchester United a few weeks ago. The Frenchman has also proved himself equally adept at providing opportunities for others though, his 3 assists placing him on top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index and also representing a higher total than any of the next 25 players behind him.
– It’s clear Amalfitano has taken to the Premier League exceptionally well since his arrival on loan from Marseille, the Frenchman also leading the West Brom squad for overall attacking contributions (assists, dribbles, crosses, shots on goal) with 24.
– When given the opportunity, James Morrison has excelled for Steve Clarke’s side this season. Out of West Brom’s midfielders, only Claudio Yacob and Youssuf Mulumbu can better his total of 27 defensive contributions, with both playing significantly more minutes than the Scottish international. Morrison can also boast the best average minutes per pass rate of any of his colleagues, completing a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 3.54 minutes.