STATS: Who ran the fastest, covered the most ground, put in the most tackles…

Ahead of Saturday’s fixtures, EA Sports Player Performance Index have all the stats from the opening game of the season, looking at which players worked hardest offensively and defensively, how much ground they covered, how many fouls they were guilty of, amongst others.

Swansea v West Ham 12:45

• Swansea showed great defensive determination last weekend, as well as being impressive in front of goal with that 5-0 win, by completing the third highest number of defensive duties of any team. That comprised 76 defensive interventions across tackles, interceptions, clearances, and blocks, a shift that was needed as surprisingly QPR registered the joint highest number of shots for the opening round with 20 attempts at goal.
• However, Wayne Routledge was one of only three players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to commit four or more fouls in the opening round of games. The others were Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Norwich’s Bradley Johnson.
• Routledge shares another honour in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, being one of only two players along with Eden Hazard to be credited with two assists in the first round of games
• New Swansea signing Chico covered the most ground for the Swans in the game with 5.64 miles, just ahead of Routledge who covered 5.55 miles
• West Ham also found their back line busy on their return to the Premier League, contributing 78 tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions en route to a clean sheet and a 1-0 win against Villa
• That included the highest number of tackles of any team, with 39 tackles attempted by the Hammers, led by goal scorer Kevin Nolan with seven tackles
• Mark Noble also put in an all action performance, covering 6.47 miles, the highest among West Ham players and 4th highest of any player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the first round of games

Aston Villa v Everton 15:00

• Aston Villa fans had a difficult time last season, and this season got off to a tough start with a 1-0 loss against fellow claret and blues West Ham
• Villa’s backline was put to the test, having to chip in with a total of 70 tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions… the 5th busiest defence in EA SPORTS Player Performance Index after the opening weekend
• Villa were also out run by West Ham’s 57.32 miles to their 55.85 miles, with Stephen Ireland covering the most ground for Villa with 5.78 miles
• Ireland also clocked the fastest top speed of the Villa squad with 21.31 mph
• Everton meanwhile put in a terrific performance to beat Manchester United on Monday night, with Marouane Fellaini scoring the only goal
• Everton outran United in that game by 57.05 miles to 55.39 miles, led by Fellaini with 6.13 miles
• Everton went on the attack against last season’s runners up, and had 16 attempts at goal, the third highest from the opening round of fixtures, with Fellaini contributing 5.
• However, Fellaini also committed more fouls in that game than any other player in the first round of fixtures, with five fouls on the United
• An attacking game was rewarded by two great goalkeeping performances. Howard and de Gea made seven saves each during the game, a number bettered only by Petr Cech in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
• At the other end of the pitch, Phil Jagielka made seven clearances in the game against United, more than any other player in the opening round of games

Man Utd v Fulham 15:00

• Manchester United fans hoping for a bright start to the season were disappointed as they were defeated by North West neighbours Everton in their first game
• Paul Scholes and new signing Shiji Kagawa also shone in midfield and were each in the EA SPORTS Player Performance index’s top five for passes completed in the opponent’s half from the first games with 56 and 50 passes respectively
• Kagawa also covered more ground than any other player for United with 6.11 miles, ahead of the evergreen Paul Scholes with 5.68 miles
• Overall United completed 324 passes in Everton’s half during the game, a number bettered only by neighbours Man City in the opening fixtures
• United may also rue their chances having had 18 shots at goal, the second highest from the teams in their first matches
• Fulham fans will be delighted with their 5-0 win against Norwich in the first match of the season, with new signing Mladen Petric contributing a brace and Alex Kacaniklic also getting on the score sheet
• Fulham boss Martin Jol seems to have done some inspired business in the transfer market, as Kacaniklic also covered the most ground for the Cottagers with 6.2 miles and put in the third highest registered top speed in the Premier League with 23.05 miles per hour
• Fulham also covered the fourth highest amount of ground in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index as team en route to the win with 61.73 miles

Norwich v QPR 15:00

• Norwich had a great season in 2011/12 on their return to the Premier League, but their first performance in 2012/13 was one to forget, falling to a 5-0 loss against Fulham
• In a game that brought few bright points, one was new signing Jonathon Howson who clocked the fastest speed of any Premier League player from the first round of games clocking 23.12 mph, while another Canary Russell Martin put in the fourth fastest time with 22.74 mph
• QPR will also be looking to bounce back after being on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss in the last game against Swansea
• Despite drawing a blank in that game, QPR had 20 attempts at goal, the joint highest in the first round of games after reigning champions Manchester City, led by Adel Taarabt with 7 attempts at goal
• They also attempted the fourth highest number of tackles with 33, led by new signing Fabio de Silva with 8
• New QPR signing Ji Sung Park was renowned for his work rate at Manchester United, and covered more ground than any other QPR player with 6.2 miles, ahead of his fellow former United team mate Fabio da Silva who covered 5.4 miles

Southampton v Wigan 15:00

• Southampton announced their return to the Premier League by running champions Manchester City close in a 3-2 defeat in their first game of the season
• Last season newly promoted Norwich under pinned their great start by frequently outrunning every other team in the league, and Southampton have obviously taken a leaf out of the Canaries books as they covered more ground than any other team in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index after the opening round
• Southampton covered 66.24 miles in total, led by Schneiderlin and Lallana who covered the top two individual distances by any player in the Premier League with 7.31 and 6.87 miles respectively
• Wigan were unlucky to lose two early goals against Chelsea in their first game, and will be pleased with their overall performance
• The Latics, who ended last season on fantastic form to avoid the drop, attacked Chelsea down the wings and have three players in the top 5 for crosses delivered after the first round of games: Maynor Figueroa, Victor Moses and Antolin Alcaraz.
• Wigan can also be proud of being in illustrious company when it comes to numbers of passes completed in the opposition’s half. Wigan completed 222 against Chelsea, the fourth highest in the league and behind only City, United, and Arsenal

Sunderland v Reading 15:00

• Sunderland got their season off to a positive start with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal
• Keiran Richardson put in an all action performance, contributing more defensive duties than any other player on the opening round of games. Richardson made 20 defensive contributions across tackles, blocks, interceptions and clearances. Craig Gardner also contributed 17 defensive duties, the second highest after team mate Richardson
• Gardner and team mate Lee Cattermole are currently joint 3rd in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for interceptions, having each contributed eight interceptions in the game
• That set Sunderland up as the hardest working team in the league defensively last weekend, putting in 95 defensive duties in total
• New signing Danny Guthrie covered 6.3 miles on his debut, more than any other Reading player
• Meanwhile Jobi McAnuff clocked the highest top speed of any Reading player with 21.6 mph
• They continued their good form in their second fixture on Wednesday, running last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea close before eventually losing 4-2
• In that game against Chelsea Reading went even further, covering a massive 64.83 miles  compared to Chelsea’s 60.99 miles
• Mikele Leigertwood topped the charts for distance covered in that game with 6.61 miles while goalscorer Danny Guthrie again put in the yards covering 6.51 miles

Tottenham v West Brom 15:00

• Spurs and Newcastle are likely to be among the clubs competing for fourth place at the end of the season, so neither would have welcomed facing each other in the first weekend of the season
• Unfortunately for Spurs, it was Newcastle who came away winners this time, with Jermain Defoe scoring the only goal for Spurs in a 2-1 loss
• New boss Andre Villas Boas had little choice but to select Defoe up front as he continue to battle for Adebayor’s permanent signature, but Defoe repaid him with a return of one goal from five attempts at goal
• Spurs will look to their explosive wide players for impact this season, and Kyle Walker and Gareth Bale covered more ground at a sprint than any other players in the first round of games, with 9.6 and 8.9km respectively
• Spurs were also in the top 5 for crosses delivered with 11, making an aerial threat up front a ‘must purchase’ for AVB
• West Brom were one of the teams to pull of a shock on opening weekend, defeating Liverpool 3-0
• Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and loan signing Romelu Lukaku were all on target, as West Brom peppered the Liverpool goal with 15 attempts, the fourth highest of any team
• New Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob was awarded man of the match for the Baggies, and an all action display saw him cover more ground than any other West Brom player with 6.05 miles
• Meanwhile defender Jonas Olsson clocked the fastest top speed of any Baggies player with 21.31 mph

Chelsea v Newcastle 17:30

• Chelsea got off to a winning start with two early goals sealing a 2-0 win against Wigan last weekend
• Hazard was one of only two players to be credited with two assists in the opening round of games, the other being Swansea’s Wayne Routledge
• Despite coming away 2-0 winners, Chelsea should thank goalkeeper Petr Cech who made ten saves against Wigan, the most of any Premier League goalkeeper in the opening weekend
• John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic also needed to be on good form, with each contributing 6 clearances, putting them joint second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for that category after one round of games
• Full back Ryan Bertrand has been lauded by many as the long term replacement for Ashley Cole for both Chelsea and England, and the youngster covered more ground than any other Chelsea player against Wigan with 5.67 miles
• Chelsea then went on to bounce back from 2-1 down to beat Reading 4-2 in midweek. Frank Lampard showed there is still a place for him in the team as he covered the most ground for Chelsea in that game with 6.42 miles
• Juan Mata completed 52 passes in Reading’s half in that game, enough to put him into the top 5 passing performances so far for the season
• Newcastle and Spurs are likely to be among the clubs battling it out for fourth place at the end of the season, and Newcastle took the early bragging rights with a 2-1 win at the weekend
• Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa continued their outstanding form from the end of last season to net for the Magpies
• Newcastle outran Spurs by 58.94 miles to 57.14 miles in that game, with Cheik Tiote and Jonas Gutierrez continuing where they left off last season by covering most ground with 5.93 miles and 5.64 miles
• Full back Danny Simpson surprised many people with his performances last season, and the young defender clocked the fastest top speed of any Newcastle player with 22.5 mph, only marginally slower than Spurs flying winger Gareth Bale who clocked 22.66 mph

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