West Ham lost out in the battle of the claret and blues in the last round of Barclays Premier League fixtures, losing 2-1 to Aston Villa.
– Joe Cole forced an own goal from Villa to set up an exciting final ten minutes which also saw Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole both come close to an equaliser.
– Joe Cole has played just 598 minutes for West Ham since returning to the team where he first learnt his trade, but has already racked up 158 completed passes in opposition territory and 22 crosses.
– Kevin Nolan is one of 25 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have had more than 50 efforts at goal this season, and of those he has the second best shot on target percentage with 70.3% on target.
– West Ham will have their work cut out containing an in form Gareth Bale against Spurs. Bale has now scored four goals in Spurs’ last three Barclays Premier League games to put them four points clear of North London rivals Arsenal in fourth place.
– The task of shackling Bale will fall to West Ham right back Winston Reid, who has stats to suggest the tussle will be less one sided than some people may think. Reid has won 60.8% of tackles attempted this season and has made 113 interceptions, one of 30 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have made more than 100.
– He has also made 20 blocks, and is one of only 14 players to have made 20 or more, so the New Zealand international is not afraid of throwing himself in front of one of Bale’s pile drivers.
– West Ham will need that, as Bale got six shots on target against Newcastle, the second highest total by a Spurs player this season, while at the other end of the pitch Kyle Walker’s 5 clearances is the joint third highest total by a Spurs player this season.
– One player who has not shared Bale’s luck is Spurs team mate Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson remains the player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index to have most shots at goal without scoring this season, with 30.
– Steven Caulker has been enjoying pitch time recently for Spurs and has one of the best ‘tackles won’ percentages in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index winning 82.6% of his 23 attempted tackles this season.
– The aerial tussle will be key to Spurs containing Andy Carroll. That task will most likely fall to Michael Dawson, who has made 22 clearances this season at a rate of one every 48 minutes, and Jan Verthonghen, who has made 29 clearances at a rate of one every 79 minutes.
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