Southampton vs West Ham – Wednesday 11th February, 19:45
A last gasp goal from Saido Mane gave Ronald Koeman’s side all three points as they continue their charge towards the European places come the end of the season. They face a West Ham side this week who have similarly defied expectations this term in what could be an intriguing match-up.
Responsibility for repelling the West Ham attack will likely fall primarily to Jose Fonte who is currently enjoying an outstanding season. The Portuguese centre half not only has the best tackle success rate of any Saints player, winning 83.9% of his 56 challenges to date, he’s also compiled the greatest number of defensive contributions (blocks, tackles won, interceptions, clearances) in the Southampton squad, with 264 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Midfielder Steven Davis rarely grabs the headlines but is nonetheless a crucial part of the Southampton machine. He has now completed a squad-best 542 passes in the opponent’s half, which gives him an average rate of one every 3.3 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season. West Ham will have to work hard to prevent Davis from dictating the play from the centre of the park.
Graziano Pelle started life in the Barclays Premier League with a bang with a glut of goals in his first few games and according to his EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics, more shouldn’t be far away. The Italian striker is certainly not short on industry, given that he has now not only covered more ground than any other Southampton player, but more than any other striker in the league with 240.8km to his name. Pelle is 25/19 to score at any time with 888sport.com.
West Ham were denied a famous win against Manchester Utd as Daley Blind rescued a point for the Red Devils last weekend after Cheikhou Kouyate’s opener. This week’s fixture will see two sides both enjoying strong season pitted against each other in what could prove to be a pivotal game for both their seasons.
Defender Aaron Cresswell has been garnering rave reviews for his performances this season and his EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics provide us with some insight as to why. Not only has he covered more ground than anyone in the West Ham squad this season (253.6km), he’s also completed the second highest number of passes in the opponent’s half of any Hammers player (351), behind only Alex Song (364).
The Southampton backline will have to be mindful of the threat posed by Cheikhou Kouyate should he feature this week. No doubt buoyed by his goal at the weekend, the Senegalese midfielder will be looking to utilise his speed to good effect to add to his two goals and two assists so far this campaign. He recorded the highest speed of any player on the pitch against Manchester Utd, clocked at an impressive 20.7mph. Kouyate is 11/1 to score at any time with 888sport.com.
Looking to provide yet more assists will be the revitalised Stewart Downing who is currently enjoying an excellent season after being moved into a more central role by Sam Allardyce. He is still more than willing to roam out wide when the opportunity presents itself though, shown by the fact that he currently ranks third in the Barclays Premier League for successful crosses this season with 32 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.