By Sean Cotterell
Arsenal vs. Tottenham 12:45
– It’s often said that form doesn’t count for anything in a derby game. How both Arsenal and Tottenham will hope that that is true this weekend. The north London rivals meet in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off on the back of two poor weeks in the league. The Gunners poor form continued as they followed up their loss at Old Trafford with a home draw against Fulham last weekend.
– Oliver Giroud made a timely contribution against Fulham, scoring two goals to ease the pressure on the French striker since his arrival at the Emirates. Giroud now has 3 goals from 16 shots on target, however he has also wasted a number of chances, shooting 16 times off target, the 5th highest in the league. Giroud has also been making an effort to endear himself to Arsenal fans by assisting defensively, having made more clearances than any other striker in the league with 14.
– Podolski also grabbed his third league goal of the season against Fulham. The former Cologne star has now converted 3 of his 10 shots on target and placed just 6 wide.
– As well as being one of Arsenal’s biggest threat in attack, Santi Carzorla has shown he is willing to work for his team, covering 6.36 miles against Fulham, the most of any Arsenal player. That is the 6th time this season that Carzorla has lead his side in terms of miles ran, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
– Mikel Arteta saw an injury time penalty well saved by Mark Schwarzer against Fulham. Arteta has seemingly conceded midfield goal scoring duties to Carzola this season, as the Spanish midfielder has had just 9 efforts at goal with 5 on target, but has attempted 44 tackles, winning 19.
– Arteta and Carzola are also in a battle with Man City’s Yaya Toure to be crowned the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s pass master. Carzola leads the charts having completed 495 passes in his opponent’s half this season, with Toure second with 479 and Arteta third with 469
Spurs were unable to bounce back from the home loss to Wigan, losing 2-1 to Manchester City after taking the lead. Pressure continues to mount on manager Andre Villas-Boas as he struggles to get the best out of his side on a weekly basis and is yet to win over the majority of Spurs’ fans.
– Emmanuel Adebayor started against former club Man City, but has endured a frustrating start to the season, playing just 239 Premier League minutes. In those minutes he has mustered just four efforts at goal with two on target and two off target.
– For the third Premier League game in a row, Clint Dempsey covered more ground than any of his teammates. The American international recorded 7.14 miles on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the most ground any Spurs player has covered this season. Last season Dempsey covered more ground over the season than any other Premier League player covering 226.68 miles, so his work rate is a sign that he is now settling in at Spurs and returning to his best.
– The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index supports the general consensus that Gareth Bale has been Tottenham’s best player so far this season. In 10 appearances he has scored 3 times, made 2 assists and put in 36 crosses.
– The Welshman could improve shot to goal ratio however – he has shot 21 times on target for that return of three goals, a conversion rate of just 14%. Bale has, somewhat surprisingly, also completed just 10 dribbles, few than players such as Suarez (23), Ben Arfa (22), Hazard (17) and Pienaar (12).
– Steven Caulker scored for Spurs against City and also on his England debut to mark a great week for him individually, although he was on the losing team on both occasions. Caulker’s Spurs goal was his second of the season, an impressive return for a defender who has also contributed 24 interceptions, 15 clearances and 3 blocks.
– Caulker converted a free kick from Tom Huddlestone, who has returned from long-term injury for Spurs. Huddlestone has now made four appearances for Spurs, covering 21.77 miles and already notching up 2 assists from 70 passes completed in the opponent’s half and 7 crosses delivered.