West Ham v Aston Villa – 3pm Saturday
Last weekend’s draw was the first time in four games that West Ham have failed to come away with all three points, seeing them slip one place into fifth. Only Newcastle and league leaders Chelsea can boast equal form to that of the Hammers over the last four games, and they will be looking for a fourth successive home win to take their points tally to 20 after just 11 games.
Only the top three teams in the Premier League, as it stands, can boast a better goal scoring record than West Ham this season, which is partially down to new signings Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. The latter will return from injury this weekend and will be a massive boost to the Irons.
The Senegalese striker has bagged five goals already, averaging a goal every 111.6 minutes. What is more impressive is that 71.4% of his shots on target have ended up in the net.
The Downing Effect
Another goal threat comes in the form of winger Stewart Downing, whose impressive performances of late have seen boss Sam Allardyce state that Downing should be in the frame for an England call-up.
The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index illustrates the extent of Downing’s form, with two goals and four assists to his name. He has completed more than twice the amount of crosses that any other West Ham player has, with 15 in total and has covered 104.25km of ground so far this campaign. Combining these facets with having been clocked at a top speed of 35.05km/h, he will be a threat for the full 90 minutes.
Whilst rumors circulate in the public eye around Winston Reid, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can clearly show what a valuable asset he has been to the Hammers. He has played a vital role for the East Londoners so far this term, winning a staggering 92.3% of his tackles. The New Zealand international has also racked up an impressive 91 clearances and 14 interceptions, whilst proving he is equally adept on the ball by completing 82.76% of his passes and getting himself on the score sheet for good measure.
Aston Villa are looking to end their run of poor form this weekend with their first win in seven games. Last weekend’s defeat to Tottenham saw the Villans net their first goal in six games, where they led until going down to ten men and were eventually beaten by an injury time deflected free kick. This should give Villa cause to be optimistic, and hopefully that can restore the good form that saw them sit in second place after four games.
One man who will be happy after last weekend is Andreas Weimann, who returned to goal scoring form with the opening goal of the game. The Villa front man has bagged three goals so far this term, netting 75% of his shots on target. He is also not afraid to work hard for the side, winning 70.58% of his tackles and completing a squad best 573 sprints.
In the middle of the park, Villa will be hoping that Ashley Westwood will be able to get a stranglehold in the game, by overcoming his West Ham counterparts. The 24 year old English central midfielder has won 66.6% of his tackles, making 20 clearances and 10 interceptions already this campaign. He has covered more ground than any other Villa squad member, with 104.4km, and will be looking to use his energy at both ends of the pitch to help deliver three points for the Villa faithful.
The key to Villa’s early season success was a solid defence, which saw them concede just one goal in four games in comparison to the 15 that they have shipped in their last six games. Villa’s Dutch international Ron Vlaar will be crucial to this, as illustrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The World Cup semi finalist has won 100% of his tackles so far this season, made 30 clearances, six interceptions and five blocks.
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