– Alan Pardew’s search for an extra striker to bolster his squad is clearly something of a priority and so it should be. His entire squad between them have so far only mustered 1 on target attempt on goal.
– Hatem Ben Arfa continues to be one of the few bright spots in what has been a turbulent and disappointing start to the season for Newcastle. He currently sits joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for attacking contributions with 14. You can find Ben Arfa at 40/17 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
– Hard-tackling midfielder Cheick Tiote looks to have curbed his tendency towards giving away fouls this season, with a much more measured approach to his defensive work. The Ivory Coast international has so far given away no fouls this season and has won 60% of his five attempted challenges.
– A consolation goal from new signing Darren Bent was not enough to stop Fulham from dropping to a 1-3 defeat on a wet afternoon at Craven Cottage last Saturday.
– The acquisition of Scott Parker from Tottenham appears to have been a solid piece of footballing business by Fulham. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Parker has already completed a pass in the opponent’s half on average once every 2.1 minutes this season, a better rate than anyone else in either the Fulham or Tottenham squad.
– Adel Taarabt looks like he is in the mood to take much of the creative pressure off the shoulders of Dimitar Berbatov this season, having already racked up a squad-high 11 attacking contributions for his new side (cross, assist, dribble, shot on target).
– Aaron Hughes’ 12 clearances was the 5th highest total of anyone in the league last weekend, the Northern Irishman taking on much of the burden of repelling the waves of Arsenal attacks last Saturday.
Norwich vs Southampton 15:00
– Despite holding a man advantage over Hull for over an hour, Norwich were not able to capitalize and found themselves on the end of 1-0 defeat to the Premier League newcomers. Recordsigning Ricky van Wolfswinkel had only one chance of any real purpose on goal and Chris Hughton will be hoping his summer squad additions will be able togenerate more opportunities against a Southampton side which has conceded in it’s last two fixtures.
– Ricky van Wolfswinkel may have been brought in for his clinical finishing but Chris Hughton will be expecting much greater discretion from him in defense as the season progresses. He isjoint first on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for fouls committed with 8.
– Midfielder Jonny Howson has been the lynchpin through which Norwich’s attacking play has functioned this season, establishing an impressive average rate of a pass in the opponent’s half once every 3.2 minutes.
– Nathan Redmond has been one of the surprise packages for the Canaries so far this campaign. The 19 year old leads the Norwich squad for attacking contributions (cross, assist, dribble, shot on target) with 14.
– A late header from centre-back Jose Fonte rescued a point for Southampton as they scraped to a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland. Mauricio Pochettino’s side dominated the match for large periods but will be expecting much more clinical conversion of chances from his side this weekend.
– Despite clearly knowing how to put the ball in the back of the net on last week’s evidence, Jose Fonte certainly knows how to perform his primary role equally as effectively. He leads the league for defensive contributions (clearances, interceptions, blocks, tackles won) so far this season.
– Rickie Lambert looks to have taken tremendous confidence from his recent England call-up, so far rankingjoint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for total attempts on goal with 9. A relatively solid 55.5% of these have been on target. You canfind Lambert at 16/11 to score at any time with 888sport.com.
– It surely won’t be long before James Ward-Prowse starts to grab the attention of the England management team after his roaring start to the season for the Saints. The young midfielder currently tops the league for crosses delivered with 7. With his Southampton teammate, and aerial presence, Rickie Lambert already in the England setup, Roy Hodgson may well see the value in having another solid provider of the ball in the ranks.
– Saints fans will be excited to see how Calum Chambers develops in the coming seasons, as despite being thejoint youngest player in the squad along with Luke Shaw, he has quickly established an excellent tackles success rate of 75% from 4 challenges.
Charlie Richards, EA Sports