Kick off 17:30
Despite making it difficult for themselves, Manchester City eventually overcame a spirited Fulham performance to win 2-4 at Craven Cottage. Manuel Pellegrini could do without such uncharacteristic mistakes from his side as they face a Liverpool side high on confidence, and not short of quality, on Boxing Day.
Fernandinho appears to have fitted well into the system that Manuel Pellegrini is attempting to create at Manchester City, providing yet another option in a midfield full to the brim with attacking talent. However one area in which he has struggled is in his defensive work, the Brazilian ranking joint second on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for tackles lost with 33.
Yaya Toure continues to boss the Premier League midfield statistics according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The intimidating Ivorian has completed more passes in the opponent’s half than any other player, with an enormous 676 to his name.
City fans will have been glad to see their skipper Vincent Kompany make it through the Fulham game unscathed, such is his importance in organising this City side. Indeed, out of all the City centre-halfs, only Matija Nastasic can match the Belgian for success in the tackle this season, Kompany winning 81.8% of his 22 attempted challenges this season (Lescott – 64.3%, Demichellis – 61.9%).
Yet another virtuoso performance from the effervescent talent that is Luis Suarez saw Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 at Anfield and displace Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League. A trip to the Etihad will be a true test of the title credentials though and Brendan Rodgers should leave Manchester with a much clearer idea of just how much work is left to be done on his developing side. Suarez is 8/7 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Suarez continues to defy his critics and turn in performances filled not only with sublime goals, but with a visible maturity that has seen him become one of the leading figures in the Liverpool dressing room. He has shouldered this responsibility with ease so far, and against Cardiff passed a notable landmark. He became the first player in the league to surpass the 100-mark for total attacking contributions (shots on goal, dribbles, assists, crosses), with a quite incredible 117 to his name.
For all his wonderful vision and technique, Phillippe Coutinho has been struggling to find his shooting boots this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Brazilian has only worked the ‘keeper with 36.4% of his 33 attempts on goal this season. This is the lowest rate for any player in the top 20 for total shots on goal.
Although talked about very sparingly this season, Lucas Leiva continues to be one of the most effective players in the league in defence this term. No player can match him for total tackles won, Leiva currently having 63 to his name, giving him an overall tackle success rate of 75.9%.