Crystal Palace vs Sunderland, 17:30
– It may be only the second weekend in the Premier League, but this clash at Selhurst Park could already be billed as a six-pointer with neither side able to muster a win as of yet. and with both teams only scoring one goal apiece in the league thus far, upping their accuracy in front of goal will be paramount.
– The Black Cats task will not be made any easier by the presence of Joel Ward in Crystal Palace’s backline. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index the English right-back has made 11 tackles – the most of any defender. This sort of dogged determination is exactly what the Palace faithful will be yearning for, as they brace themselves for the relegation scrap that they have in store.
– On the opposite flank, Dean Moxey is certainly putting in his own defensive shift making 8 tackles in the first two games, second only behind his team mate.
– Crystal Palace’s defensive feats have also been aided by the contribution of Damien Delaney. He has made 23 clearances so far this season, the eighth most in the league.
– Midfield general Mile Jedinak has also made his fair share of defensive clearances.He cleared the ball 14 times against Stoke, showcasing his ability to protect the back four.
– Sunderland have struggled for goals in the first couple of games of the season, and midfielder Cabral will have to up his game to improve Sunderland’s fortunes. Of the 4 shots he has attempted, he has failed to hit the target once. Only Hatem Ben Arfa has a worse ratio.
– Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has invested in foreign talent this Summer, with 10 foreign players arriving to bolster the ranks. Jack Colback is one of the English players to remain, and he’s certainly proving his worth withb a 100% tackle success rate. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he has won all 5 of his tackles.
– Adam Johnson may have considered himself unlucky to have missed out on Roy Hodgson’s England squad, as, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, his 4 crosses are the second most in the league. His battle with the Eagles’ outstanding fullbacks is something to really wet the appetite ahead of Saturday.
– Hodgson may have been looking at Johnson’s shooting so far this season, as the former Manchester City wideman has had 3 shots and failed to hit the target once. Only Hatem Ben Arfa, Cabral and Nacer Chadil have had more efforts without working the keeper.
– At the other end of the pitch, Sunderland defender Ondrej Celustka has much to work on following the opening two games of the season. Of the thirteen tackles he attempted, he only managed to complete 7 of them.