– An inspired performance from Leighton Baines handed Everton a 3-2 victory against West Ham in the last round of Premier League fixtures, whereas Newcastle were involved in a game with the same scoreline, but unfortunately were on the wrong side of it.
– The battle between Baines and Ashley Cole for England’s left back position has stepped up a gear in the past year, with many hoping that Baines’ offensive ability will put him in the driving seat. Baines’ crossing is central to his offensive supremacy, and this season shows exactly why. Everton’s number 3 has crossed the ball 8 times this season, more than any other defender. Baines scored 2 freekicks against West Ham, and he’s 14/1 with 888sport.com to score the first goal on Monday.
– Baines is one of the stalwarts of this Everton side, but one of the new boys who has made a real impression is Gareth Barry. Manchester City’s on-loan midfielder completed 51 passes in the opposition half on Saturday, the second most in the league.
– According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Barry completed a pass in the opposition half every 1.7 minutes.
– Everton are the only side yet to be beaten in the league this year, and this is, in part, due to their resilience in defence. This resilience is evident in the fact that Tim Howard has only made 9 saves this season – the least of any keeper to feature in every game.
– It has been an absolutely phenomenal season for Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, and this is in part because of his dribbling ability. The skillful midfielder has completed 22 dribbles this year, the most in the league.
– Newcastle’s topsy-turvy year continued with their loss at home to Premier League new boys Hull.
– Hatem Ben Arfa is considered central to Newcastle’s chances of success, and it isn’t hard to see why. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows the Frenchman has completed 17 dribbles this campaign – the third most in the league.
– Compatriot Mathieu Debuchy has been similarly impressive at the opposite end of the pitch. The French international has made the third most interceptions in the league.
– Joe Kinnear has had his critics this year, but the acquisition of Loic Remy looks to be a shrewd piece of business. The Frenchman scored 2 goals against Hull, but also took more shots than anyone else in the league. Remy is 7/1 with 888sport.com to maintain his fine form, and score the first goal of the match on Monday.
– The French contingent in Newcastle’s squad appears to be integral to their chances of success, and this is personified through Moussa Sissoko. The Frenchman has completed 136 passes in the opposition half this campaign, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which is more than any other player in the Newcastle team.