Aston Villa entertain a Cardiff side on Saturday buoyant following their victory over South Wales rivals Swansea.
Andreas Weimann has been a pivotal figure for Aston Villa this season, featuring in all but 60 minutes of the campaign so far – registering two assists in the process. On Saturday, however, his shooting was slightly wayward, as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Austrian took 5 shots at goal – but failed to hit the target once. No other player in the league took as many shots without managing to hit the target. If you fancy Weimann to reverse his fortunes head over to 888sport.com
With the Hammers lineup boasting talent such as Stewart Downing, Ravel Morrison, Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan, managing to keep a clean sheet was a fantastic achievement for Paul Lambert’s men. Credit should be given to holding midfielder Karim El Ahmadi, who totally dominated the midfield. The Moroccan made the second most tackles in the league on Saturday (8), and completed 75% of them.
Central midfield partner Ashley Westwood ably assisted the defensive efforts of El Ahmadi, as no other player in the league made as many blocks as the Cheshire-born midfielder’s 4.
Fabian Delph was absent for the Villains on Saturday, and looking at the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it appears that Villa missed his creativity in the centre of the park. The former Leeds man has made more attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, shots, dribbles, and crosses) than any other Villa player with 223. To put this into perspective, Ashley Westwood sits second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance table with 164.
A Steven Caulker header against his former club handed Cardiff all three points on Sunday.
Peter Whittingham is not best known for his tackling, more for his ability to thread a perfectly weighted through ball, but the thrill of derby day must have affected him as he certainly got stuck in against the Swans. The former Villa man was successful in 5 of his 6 challenges on Saturday – a very impressive success rate. Whittingham is 9/1 with 888sport.com
Manager Malky Mackay paid tribute to Gary Medel following his impressive performance on Sunday, and looking at the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, it isn’t hard to see why the manager was quick to praise the former Sevilla man. Medel marshalled the centre of the park on Sunday, completing a pass in Swansea’s half at an impressive rate of a pass every 3.1 minutes.
Another Summer recruit who has settled into life well in South Wales is centre back Steven Caulker. Mackay has handed the former Spurs man the captain’s armband, and so far this season he has certainly shown a willingness to get stuck in, and put his body on the line for the sake of the team. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that Caulker has made 18 blocks this term – more than anyone else in the league.
The modern full back has become a key component in a team’s offensive play, with many encouraged to overlap their wingers and swing crosses into the box. When thinking of these sort of full backs in the Premier League, players such as Leighton Baines and Kyle Walker spring to mind. It may be surprising to see then, that Cardiff full back Kévin Théophile-Catherine has swung in the second most crosses of any defender this season. His 11 crosses are only bettered by Patrice Evra’s 12.