Manchester City triumphed in an exhilarating game at St James’ Park, and the title contenders play host to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff.
Many saw Sergio Aguero’s injury last month as a catastrophic blow to Manchester City’s hopes of reclaiming the title as the Argentinean has been in scintillating form all season. However, in the absence of their talisman, Alvaro Negredo has stepped up to the mark, fully justifying the money that Pellegrini spent on bringing him to the Etihad. ‘The Beast’’s direct style of play has won over the doubters this term, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he was in the thick of the action again on Sunday as he took 8 shots – the most in the league. Negredo is 11/4 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.
Samir Nasri’s injury will be a bitter blow to the Citizens, with the Frenchman out for at least 6 weeks. However, in the form of David Silva, Manuel Pellegrini has an attacking midfielder who can offer the same threat as the former Arsenal man. Silva’s excellent offensive ability was showcased against Newcastle as he made a total of 40 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target). No other Manchester City player made more.
Martin Demichelis hasn’t managed to convince all of his doubters this term, with many claiming that he shouldn’t be considered first choice partner to Vincent Kompany. The Argentinean went some way to answering these criticisms on Sunday, however, as he made a total of 16 defensive contributions (based on clearances, blocks, interceptions and tackles won). This was the most in the Manchester City squad and the fifth most in the league.
Pablo Zabaleta has earnt plaudits for his propensity to make rampaging runs down the flank, and he has done this to great effect this term, registering a total of 5 assists. No defender has made more than the Argentinean.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game at the helm of Cardiff didn’t go exactly to plan as the Bluebirds succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at home to West Ham.
One of the first moves that Solskjaer made was handing Mark Hudson his first Premier League start of the season at the expense of Ben Turner, and the former Charlton man fully vindicated his manager’s decision by producing a top quality performance. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he made a total of 20 defensive contributions (based on tackles won, clearances, interceptions and blocks). This was the most in the Cardiff squad and the second most in the league.
Cardiff may consider themselves a tad unfortunate to have succumbed to defeat as they took 19 shots, and boasted 63% of possession. Peter Whittingham was essential to this ball retention effort, as he managed to complete a total of 46 passes in the opposition half – the most in the Cardiff squad.
Magnus Wolff Eikrem marked his arrival at the Cardiff City Stadium with a promising debut, which showcased his excellent passing ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that on entering the fray, the Norwegian completed a pass in the opposition half at an impressive rate of a pass every 1.4 minutes.
Andreas Cornelius has struggled to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League since his arrival in England, but in the few minutes that he has appeared, he has shown his eagerness to take shots at goal. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates that he has taken a shot every 27 minutes, which is a better rate than any other Cardiff player. Cornelius is 13/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Saturday.