Sunderland vs Southampton 12:45:
An Adam Johnson hat-trick saw Sunderland to a fine 1-4 win away to Fulham last time out. The win helps move Gus Poyet’s side off the bottom of the Premier League table and the Uruguayan will have no doubt been particularly pleased with Johnson’s display, the England international showing signs of returning to some of his best form.
Jozy Altidore would be well advised to curb his current defensive technique should he wish to be more effective whilst leading the line for the remainder of the season. He’s racked up 32 fouls this season, yet has only won 9 tackles, the worst ratio in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Adam Johnson’s performance last weekend was reminiscent of the player who made so much noise when he first burst on the scene, the winger appearing to be adapting well to Gus Poyet’s methods. He only had three attempts on goal against Fulham, but scored with each of them.
Abrasive midfielder Lee Cattermole has been known for straying over the line at times during his career, stockpiling an unwelcome number of red cards. However when on form he has the ability to be a powerful force in the Black Cats’ engine room, much as he was last weekend. He won the highest number of tackles of any player in the league during the last round with nine, representing an overall success rate of 81.8%.
No player in the Sunderland squad has been more committed to shutting down the opposition than Sebastian Larsson this term. He’s attempted more tackles than any other Sunderland player with 66 to his name.
Southampton claimed all three points against West Brom last weekend, with a 1-0 win over the Baggies at St Mary’s. A second half Adam Lallana strike earned the Saints the win in a back and forth affair.
Youngster James Ward-Prowse may not be featuring in every game but when he does get his chance he is certainly making the most of it. The 21-year old ranks third on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered so far this term with 21.
Gaston Ramirez did not have the most distinguished of weekends by his own strong standards last time out. He lost the joint second highest number of tackles of any player in the league during the last round with 4. He’ll be seeking a chance to rectify this at the Stadium of Light so don’t be surprised to see him come out all guns blazing when he enters the field.
Adam Lallana continues to be the driving creative force behind the Saints this season, his full England call-up apparently giving him the confidence to kick on and raise his performances into another gear. He leads the Southampton squad for total attacking contributions (assists, shots on goal, dribbles, crosses) with 81.
Rickie Lambert continues to play an effective role when leading the Saints’ frontline this term. He’s attempted more shots on goal than any of his colleagues, letting fly with a squad-best 41.