As Newcastle United travel to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in the Premier League tonight, Demba Ba is their only player in the top 100 in the league. Here is that shocking stat, along with a few more…
– Fulham will be looking to bounce back from a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spurs in their last game.
– Steve Sidwell will be key to disrupting Newcastle’s play and winning possession for Fulham. Sidwell has impressed so far this season and has won more tackles than any other player with 47, winning 61% of all attempted.
– Add to Sidwell’s tackling prowess the fact that defender Aaron Hughes has the third highest number of interceptions of any player in the league with 103 so far and Newcastle will find that Fulham are not an easy team to break down.
– In fact, Fulham have three of the top twenty busiest defensive players in the league (only Wigan have more with four). Along with Hughes’ 155 defensive contributions this season and Sidwell’s 143, Brede Hangeland has stepped in defensively 135 times this season. That is broken down as 31 attempted tackles, 18 clearances, 77 interceptions and 9 blocks.
– Perhaps the most surprising stat to come out of analyzing Fulham’s defensive work is that Dimitar Berbatov has contributed more defensively than any other striker in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, including 25 tackles attempted, 12 clearances and 34 interceptions.
– Newcastle, on the other hand, were on the positive side of a 3-0 scoreline in their last game against Wigan, with two goals from previous joint league top scorer Demba Ba and a stunning first goal from Gael Bigirimana. That ended a run of four straight defeats for the Magpies.
– Ba is now on ten goals for the season, one behind Robin van Persie and two adrift of Michu in the race for the golden boot. Ba has taken 53 shots at goal to score his 10 goals, but has managed to get less than half on target (49%).
– It’s no surprise therefore that Ba is Newcastle’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. However, his team mates will need to start matching him as he is the only Magpies player in the top 100.
– Newcastle’s next ranked player is Davide Santon, who has won 25 tackles this season, 61% of all those attempted. He’s also made 14 clearances, 41 interceptions and 2 blocks for the Newcastle cause.
– Danny Simpson is out of contract in the summer and has stated his desire to remain at the club. Simpson’s season has been disrupted by injury, but he has still managed to contribute 15 clearances and 29 interceptions while winning 73.3% of tackles attempted. Meaning he has made a defensive contribution every 14 minutes 22 seconds this season.
Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League.