Chelsea v Sunderland 15:00
– Chelsea’s mixed season continued over the last week after a 2-1 defeat in the league at the hands of Southampton was followed by a cup victory over Manchester United. John Terry scored the consolation goal against Manchester United while Demba Ba score the cup winner.
– As well as scoring, John Terry showed his influence and experience in breaking up play, making 22 interceptions against Southampton. That was matched by Branislav Ivanovic, and bettered only by his opponent in the last game Jos Hoosiveld in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for the last round of games.
– Ivanovic has now made 99 interceptions so far this season, so all being well he willmake his 100th against Sunderland. Ivanovic was also in the goals earlier in the season, but hasn’t scored for a while.
– Chelsea fans will be hoping that Ba’s goal in the cup will see a return to goalscoring form in the league for the Senegalese striker. Ba has 15 goals in the league this season, but 14 of those came at Newcastle.
– To us the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to compare, at Newcastle Ba averaged 20 minutes per shot and 6.28 shots per goal. At Chelsea he has averaged 39 minutes per shot and has 13 shots for a return of just one goal. Ba’s more shot shy play at Chelsea suggests he is being utilized in a different role, or is yet to regain the confidence he had at Newcastle.
– Sunderland are now without a win since January 19th after they fell to a 1-0 win against Manchester United in their last game, thanks to a Titus Bramble own goal.
– Despite that poor run, Steven Fletcher remains the most accurate shooter in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, discounting those who have had less than 30 shots at goal this season. Fletcher has had 49 shots at goal with 75.5% on target.
– That result could have been worse if it weren’t for the heroics once again of Simon Mignolet. Mignolet made 9 saves in that game, the joint highest in the last round of games.
– If Sunderland’s poor run continues, it won’t be for lack of desire to win the ball. Of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top 20 most frequent tacklers, only Matt Lowton comes away with the ball more often than James McClean. McClean has won exactly two thirds of his tackles this season, 70 out of 105.
– John O’Shea, meanwhile, is now ranked second overall for defensive contributions this season having made 292 overall across tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances.