Tottenham vs Swansea – Sunday, 16:00
As the Premier League’s sole representatives in the Europa League this year prepare to lock horns, it is likely that the Spanish strikers on either side will be the focus of attention.
Spanish sensation Michu made an instant impact in his first season in Britain, finding the net eighteen times. His ability to find the target was evident again on Saturday as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Swansea’s Spanish star had 3 shots on target after the first round of fixtures – the third most in the league.
Another Swansea Spaniard that Tottenham should be wary of is José Cañas. After coming off the bench in the thirteenth minute, the Spanish maestro completed 44 passes in the opposition half – the seventh most of any midfielder in the Premier League. The closest a Tottenham midfielder came to matching this was Aaron Lennon, who completed 31 passes – 26th in the last round of games.
Fresh from completing his move to the Swans, Jonjo Shelvey made an instant impression. Despite suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the champions, according to the EA Sports Player Performance Index, Shelvey swung in 4 crosses, the third most in the league.
Likewise, left-back Ben Davies finished fourth in the number of crosses category, as he crossed the ball a total of 3 times. This was the second highest by a defender, as only Leighton Baines crossed the ball more (5)
Wilfred Bony may have opened his Premier League account against Manchester United at the weekend, but he still proved to be fairly wasteful in front of goal. His total of 3 shots off target was third-equal highest in the league.
Swansea may have conceded four goals at the weekend, but it would be tough to put too much blame at the feet of Chico Flores. With a total of 11 clearances, the Spaniard made the sixth most at the weekend. 888Sport.com think that Flores and Swansea are likely to have another bad day at the office, as they are offering odds of 5/1 for Swansea to keep a clean sheet.
Tottenham’s goal scoring feats are expected to rest heavily on Roberto Soldado’s shoulders, with the Spanish striker expected to operate as Andre Villas-Boas’ lone striker. Goals are expected to come from the midfield too and Nacer Chadil will be expected to improve his shooting accuracy, as, much like Wilfred Bony, he also had 3 shots off target in his first outing of the season.
Swansea won plaudits last season for their slick short-passing style of play, however they must be wary of Tottenham’s Etiene Capoue this weekend. Despite only featuring for 33 minutes, the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has shown that the French defensive midfielder made 6 interceptions against Crystal Palace – the most in the league.
Tottenham made a habit of breaking up the play against Crystal Palace, as in addition to Capoue, both Paulinho and Jan Vertonghen were in the top 15 players who made interceptions, intercepting the ball 3 and 4 times respectively.
Since ousting Brad Friedel as Tottenham’s goalkeeper last season, Hugo Lloris has justified AVB’s faith in him with a number of top quality performances. This was no different on Saturday as by making 3 saves, he made the most saves in the league without conceding a goal.
Kyle Walker has earned a reputation as an attacking full back over the past couple of seasons. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index demonstrates why this reputation was gained, as his 5 dribbles were the second highest number of dribbles in the league, and the highest of any defender.
By Sean Cotterell