Sunderland v Stoke 19:45
Sunderland showed the sort of heart that is characterizing Gus Poyet’s reign by coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Southampton in their last league game. Goals from Fabio Borini and a revitalized Adam Johnson earned the Black Cats a vital point, and increased the volume of calls that Adam Johnson may make the plane to Rio this summer.
Johnson now has five goals and four assists this season, contributing directly to 42.8% of Sunderland’s goals this season. He is also ranked top for crosses delivered (14), second for dribbles (20), and fifth for passes in the opposition half (235) within the Sunderland squad in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, showing he is their main attacking threat.
Ki Sung-Yeung, on loan from Swansea, has also been a threat in the Sunderland midfield, topping the squad for passes completed in the opposition half with 421.
Vito Mannone rightly received plaudits for his performance against Southampton, with his six saves in the game the most of any goalkeeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
Stoke fans’ superb tribute to former manager Tony Pulis at Selhurst Park could sadly not inspire their team to a victory in their last game, with Stoke losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace.
Geoff Cameron has shown his versatility for Stoke this season with the American impressing in the full back position, as well as slotting into centre back or central midfield whenever necessary. His positional adaptability is, in part, a result of his excellent defensive ability, with his tackling in particular, a key asset. This skill of his was on show against Everton as he won an impressive 72% of his challenges.
Charlie Adam has really established himself as one of Stoke’s key men in the last few weeks with his guile and creativity an integral part of Mark Hughes’ new passing philosophy. His importance can be underlined by his excellent offensive performance against Crystal Palace in which he made a total of 37 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target). This was more than any other player in the Potters’ squad.
Oussama Assaidi swung in 3 crosses against Crystal Palace which took his overall cross tally this season to 13. This is an impressive figure for the Moroccan as it places him second in the Stoke table for crosses swung in behind Austrian Marko Arnautovic. Assaidi’s figure is all the more impressive when one considers that he has featured in over 300 less minutes.