Match preview: Saints v Norwich
A 2-0 home win against Newcastle on Sunday saw Southampton move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season (although they have since dropped back down to 18th, due to Villa’s win over Reading last night) and also picked up their first clean sheet of the season in the process.
The Saints head in to tonight’s fixture against the Canaries knowing that a win could lift them back out of the relegation zone and help to increase the gap between themselves and 18th placed Reading.
Norwich are yet to record their first away win of the season, but are unbeaten in their last six – having drawn 3 and won 3 – and certainly won’t make things easy for Southampton.
Here’s a look at the best performing players from each team, with stats provided by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index:
- With seven points from the last possible nine, Southampton are one of the league’s form sides. Only West Brom have had a better trio of results in the last three games.
- Adam Lallana has been in superb form for the Saints, making 28 successful crosses at a rate of one every 44 minutes according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index (the fourth best rate in the whole league). Steven Gerrard, Santi Cazorla and Yaya Toure are just three of the midfielders who’ve failed to match Lallana’s record.
- Lallana was joined by Gaston Ramirez in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index’s top 10 players for the last round of fixtures – the Uruguayan has been a key player during Rickie Lambert’s goal drought, which has seen the striker score just one goal in eight.
- There is little to choose between Lambert and Ramirez in terms of shooting accuracy. With 47 percent of his efforts on target (8/17) compared to the English forward’s 46.4 percent (13/28), the two are neck-and-neck. Lallana, meanwhile, has a much higher success rate with 68 percent (17/25).
- Norwich will be looking to improve their away form against struggling Southampton. Only four of the Canaries’ fifteen points have come on the road, and only Aston Villa have scored less goals in away games.
- Alexander Tettey was once again the Canaries’ hardest worker in last weekend’s game, covering 6.37 miles. For six consecutive matches, he’s been in his team’s top two hardest workers.
- Norwich should prepare for a tough game as Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is the league’s only man to have committed 30 fouls.
- Russell Martin, on the other hand, is statistically the league’s cleanest player. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he holds the best ratio of successful tackles (17) for each foul (just one).
- Martin will return to the Norwich defence on Wednesday night after overcoming a back problem. Turner has won an excellent 81% of tackles attempted, 17 out of 21 in total, while also contributing 14 clearances, 27 interceptions and 4 blocks
- Martin’s defensive partner Sebastian Bassong scored Norwich’s equalizer at the weekend, heading home from Javier Garrido’s free kick. Bassong has used his aerial ability to more effective use at the other end of the pitch so far this season. Bassong has made 28 clearances, the 6th highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.