Premier League statistical preview, including Aston Villa vs Manchester United; Newcastle vs Sunderland; Liverpool vs Arsenal

WhoScored.com, who offer the largest online database for detailed football statistics, preview the top matches the Premier League this weekend

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Aston Villa vs Manchester United

Aston Villa host the league's in-form team Manchester United, who have now won 6 games in a row, with a number of absentees to have to cope without. Alan Hutton, who is Villa's top rated player with more than 5 appearances this season (7.22), is suspended along with Kieran Richardson. Meanwhile Tom Cleverley is also banned, with a fifth yellow card of the season last time out exposing somewhat of a loophole given that he was already ineligible to face his parent club.

With Ashley Westwood also sidelined the return to fitness of Fabian Delph has been timely, while Lambert may be tempted to experiment with a back three given the form of Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark and return of captain Ron Vlaar. The Dutchman was an apparent target for United in the summer and while they have certainly improved defensively from the beginning of the campaign David de Gea's heroics last time out, producing 8 saves against Liverpool, highlighted the fact that there is certainly still work to be done.

Video: Premier League preview

At the other end, however, the Red Devils look in good shape following a return to form from Robin van Persie and the continued threat of Wayne Rooney. The United captain has scored more goals against Villa than any other team (14), while Van Persie has a further 8 against the Midlands outfit. The fact, then, that Villa haven't kept a clean sheet at home in 6 should spells goals for the visitors, who have netted 17 goals in their previous 5 meetings with Paul Lambert's men.

 

 

Newcastle vs Sunderland

Sunderland will be hoping to secure a fourth successive Wearside derby victory  when they travel to St. James' Park on Sunday with what would be only their third league win of the season. They face a Newcastle side that have conceded 8 goals in a week against North London rivals Arsenal and Spurs, following on from a shock win over Chelsea, so it's fair to say you never know what to expect from Alan Pardew's men.

The Black Cats are a little more predictable having played out 10 draws already this season and in the 8 matches since their humiliating 8-0 defeat at Southampton, 6 have seen two goals or fewer scored. Indeed, having failed to score in 3 of their last 5 matches - netting just twice in that time - goals have been hard to come by for Gus Poyet's men, with Steven Fletcher their only player to score more than twice despite the fact that the Scot has netted in just two matches.

The fact that Sunday's hosts have somewhat of a goalkeeping crisis on their hands will be a relief then, with Jak Alnwick now picking up an injury to exacerbate the absence of both Tim Krul and Rob Elliott. If there is one player perhaps able to expose any frailties that Newcastle have this weekend it may be Adam Johnson. Knowing all about this rivalry having grown up in the North East, he has scored in each of his last 2 trips to St. James' Park.

Liverpool vs Arsenal

The late kick-off on Sunday sees Liverpool host an Arsenal side that put in one of their strongest displays of the season against Newcastle. The Reds had a morale boosting performance of their own in midweek, though neither of the sides most recent wins have exactly papered over the cracks of what have been disappointing campaigns to date. Between the two they have racked up just league 13 wins thus far, compared to 21 after 16 gameweeks last season.

Oxlade-Chamberlain.jpg
Oxlade-Chamberlain in action for Arsenal

The league table at this time last season is indeed the greatest indicator of how far the two sides have fallen. Arsenal sat top of the league, two points above Liverpool in second this time last year, and while the Gunners are better placed once more their standing of 6th to the Reds' 11th represents a clear regression. The loss to United last time out meant that Brendan Rodgers' men have already suffered more league defeats this season (7) than they did over the entirety of the 2013/14 campaign (6).

The match between these two sides at Anfield last season, when Liverpool were rampant 5-1 winners, seems a distant memory considering the way the Merseysiders have played this season and their counter-attacking style has all but diminished. Arsenal, meanwhile, have looked familiarly fragile at the back at times but are at least scoring goals this season, with the arrival of top scorer Alexis Sanchez (9) playing no small part. It is, however, an in-form Santi Cazorla that the hosts should be wary of this weekend, with the Spaniard having netted in 2 of his 4 appearances against Liverpool and 3 times in his last two matches.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings

Comments