Sunderland v Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light will be won in front of goal, where Steven Fletcher has been deadly so far and Papiss Cisse and even Demba Ba to some extent have been wasteful, as the following stats illustrate…
– Both teams competing in the North East derby this weekend are looking to bounce back from 3-0 defeats at the hands of the Manchester clubs from their last outing
– Jack Colback has been at the heart of Sunderland’s play this season, receiving the ball 251 times, more than any other player
– Steven Fletcher remains a revelation since joining the Black Cats, and has five goals from just 11 attempts at goal so far this season making him the highest scoring British player in the Premier League
– Tellingly, Liverpool star Luis Suarez has the same number of goals as Fletcher but has required 36 attempts at goals in order to get them compared to Fletcher’s 11
– Sebastian Larsson began to show signs of a return to last season’s excellent form in the second half against City, supplying a great cross for Fletcher whose volley was blocked by Micah Richards
– Larsson has two assists so far this season, but has only delivered 7 crosses in 6 games. Last season Larsson delivered 113 crosses in 32 games, averaging 3.5 crosses per game compared to 1.2 this season
– Newcastle were one of the hardest working teams in the league last season, and despite the result the game against United saw them returning to that. The 63.49 miles covered by the team was their second highest of the season so far, while Yohan Cabaye’s 6.52 miles was the second highest individual distance
– Papiss Cisse must be hoping for a return of last season’s goal scoring touch. The striker has had more shots without a goal than any other player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
– Although rightly backing himself in front of goal as any striker should, Demba Ba has a little work to do in fine-tuning his accuracy in front of goal. At the moment the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index ranks him third for shots off target, the Senagalese frontman having being wayward with 58% of his 24 shots on goal this season.
– Saying that, Ba has still netted six goals this season which makes him Newcastle’s highest ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in 12th place overall, and is the Premier League’s top scorer so far this season
– Newcastle fans may be missing Tim Krul after a stuttering display by Steve Harper in the game against Manchester United. Krul was the second highest ranked goalkeeper in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index at the end of last season, behind only Joe Hart
Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League.