Swansea v Fulham 19:45
Swansea are now eight games without a win in the Premier League after they were the latest victims of Tim Sherwood’s renaissance at Spurs in their last league outing. Wilfried Bony’s 13th goal of the season in all competitions was not enough to prevent a 3-1 defeat that leaves Swansea just three points clear of the relegation zone.
Bony could have had more if he had improved his accuracy in front of goal. He had six shots against Spurs, the most of any player in the last round of games, but only got two on target.
Swansea’s side might be decimated by injuries at this moment in time, but that hasn’t stopped them from playing the fluid, short-passing game that has become synonymous with the club. This mentality of the Swans is encapsulated by the performance of Angel Rangel, who completed a total of 41 passes in the opposition half. This was the second most of any defender in the league.
Jonjo Shelvey is also enjoying a fine season at Swansea, and has completed 586 passes in the opposition half, making him one of nine English players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top 20 for passing. At the end of last season just four of the top 20 were English.
Another player who impressed with his passing on Sunday was midfielder Alex Pozuelo. The Spanish youngster has made a promising start to life in South Wales and this impressive vein of form continued on Sunday, as he completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 2.6 minutes.
Chico Flores may have scored an own goal against Spurs but to just focus on that would be an unfairly reflection of a robust defensive performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance shows that he made 5 interceptions, the fourth most in the league, and also made a total of 15 defensive contributions (based on clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles won).
Fulham are just one point clear of safety themselves after losing 2-0 to Arsenal in their last game, making this a game that could be vital in deciding who beats the drop at the end of the season.
Scott Parker’s work rate in the midfield for Fulham has never come into question, and he showed against Arsenal the desire to try and win the ball back in midfield. Parker attempted 12 tackles in the game, more than any other player in the last round. However, the speed with which Arsenal move the ball around meant he only won the ball from six of his 12 tackles.
Parker was ably assisted by fellow midfielder Sidwell, who made seven interceptions, the second highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the last round of games.
Parker’s performances this season have solidified his reputation as one of the toughest midfielder in the league. He currently tops the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s midfielders for blocks, with 18, the eighth highest overall. Sidwell is the second best performing midfielder for blocks with 15.
He may not have had the best season in front of goal, by his exceptionally high standards, but Dimitar Berbatov still very much remains the focal point of Fulham’s offensive play. This was evident against the Gunners as the former Manchester United and Tottenham man made a total of 25 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, shots on target and dribbles). This was the most in the Fulham squad.
Adel Taarabt will be disappointed by his goal return this year, as the on-loan midfielder has only managed to hit the back of the net once. Equally, the Moroccan has every right to bemoan bad luck and impressive goalkeeping as the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has hit the target with a staggering 74% of his efforts this term.
Martin Stekelenburg arrived at Craven Cottage with a high stock after not only playing for top Italian side Roma, but also as a result of his appearance in the 2010 World Cup final. Due to injury, however, he hasn’t performed as regularly as he would have liked, with David Stockdale stepping up to fill-in for the Dutch number 1. Despite the difference in their reputations, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has shown that there hasn’t been too much difference in their shot-stopping ability, as they have both made a save at an average of a save every 23 minutes. 888sport.com have Fulham at 5/1 to keep a clean sheet against Swansea.