Southampton have had a fantastic start to the season and find themselves in third place in the Premier League, which is largely down to them having the best defensive record in the Premier League so far. They will look to maintain their defensive form this weekend with their fourth clean sheet of the season, whilst adding to their 11 goals scored.
One man who has hit good form for Southampton up top is Graziano Pelle, with the Italian striker bagging four goals for the club already. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index tells us that his secret is to not be shy in front of goal, with the Italian taking 19 shots at goal already this term. The 29 year old has also grabbed an assist and will be looking to lay on and score more goals in the Saints’ fourth home game of the season. He is 21/20 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
In the middle of the park, Morgan Schneiderlin has been in fantastic form so far this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He has covered 86.4km of ground already this campaign, which is more than anybody in the Premier League. It is this hard work that has seen the French international win 27 tackles and make a further 12 interceptions, whilst getting his name on the score sheet three times already this season.
Southampton’s good work has all stemmed from defensive stability, of which Jose Fonte is a prime example. The Portuguese defender has started the season in prime form, as illustrated by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index statistics. He has won 88.23% of his tackles, made 30 clearances and also made 22 interceptions. He will hope to add to all of those statistics to ensure Southampton maintain third spot in the Premier League.
This week’s visitors to St. Mary’s will come into the game with confidence this weekend, having won their last match 3-1 at home to Stoke, prior to the international break. The Black Cats have lost only one game all season, and will not want that tally to get any higher this weekend, as a win could see them join Southampton in the top four.
In order to walk away with the three points, Sunderland will be relying on in form striker Steven Fletcher to deliver the goods. Fletcher has grabbed two goals already this season, scoring with 33.3% of his shots according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. He has also laid on another goal, but his focus this weekend will likely be finding more goals for himself. He is 7/2 to score anytime with 888sport.com.
In the middle of the park, Sebastian Larsson will be looking to win the battle with Morgan Schneiderlin, to give the Black Cats a stronghold in the game. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Sunderland midfielder has covered 70.06km so far this season, the most of any Sunderland player. His hard work has seen him grab a goal and two assists, and he will pose a threat to the sturdy Southampton back line this weekend.
With Southampton looking so solid in defence so far this season, it is crucial that Sunderland remain equally as astute at the back, given that the Saints’ have concede an average of only 0.71 goals per game. For this to happen, former Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone will have to be on top form. The Italian has already made 23 saves so far this season, but will be looking for a clean sheet to leave Sunderland unbeaten in five games.