Midweek in Numbers: West Brom are firing blanks and Southampton look to silence Gunners
Your Tuesday night edition ahead of a busy night in the Premier Legaue16:04 Tuesday 2 February 2016, 16:04 2 Feb 2016
In the shadow of Cup weekend, the Premier League returns with an overwhelming sense of calm and stability.
The frenzied panic that accompanies the Transfer Window has now passed, with little or no change to many squads and now managers will have to make do with what they've got for the closing months of the season.
Taking a look at the statistics, many managers will be glad to hang onto some talent in attack.
West Brom are firing blanks
Tony Pulis spent much of January criticizing the media for the "circus" that is the closing of the transfer window.
However, the former Stoke and Crystal Palace boss did manage to do some good business, snapping up Sandro and Alex Pritchard.
The Baggies are seven points above the dropzone, but the statistics don't make for positive reading: failing to score in eight of their 23 league games, no wins in three games and most damming have only had a solitary shot on target in their past two matches.
We shouldn't discount their impressive 2-2 draw with champions Chelsea at the start of the month or their ability to hang onto Saido Berahino, but their goalless draw against Aston Villa made for grim viewing.
Considering that their two marquee forwards Salomon Rondon and Rickie Lambert have a combined four goals in 37 collective appearences, the visit of a resurgent Swansea City spell even more trouble for the Midlands side.
Salomon Rondon will need to rediscover form if West Brom are to avoid a relegation scrap. Image: Joe Giddens / PA Archive/PA Images
Southampton's defensive solidity deserves recognition
By December 28th, Southampton were in a bad place. A 4-0 win over Arsenal at St Mary's was followed by a 2-1 defeat to West Ham.
This was their fifth defeat in seven games and the Saints were sliding down the table. To the dismay of Ronald Koeman, they would start the new year the way they finished the last, with defeat at Norwich.
As happens in the Premier League, fast nature of their descent was allayed with three impressive performances to get their season back on track.
Starting at the back is usually how managers address a slide in performances and evidence of this is clear, with Southampton keeping a clean sheet in their last three league games.
Like West Brom, Koeman has been able to ensure he retained the services of Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama, while adding Charlie Austin to his forward line for relative peanuts (£4m).
They've picked up only one yellow card in those three games and will look to keep Arsenal quiet got back to winning ways against Burnley over the weekend.
Virgil van Dijk has been a constant in the heart of the Southampton defense this season, while chipping in with two goals. Image: Jon Super / AP/Press Association Images
Sunderland's persistence can guide them to safety
Sam Allardyce knew exactly the system he wanted to play when he took over at Sunderland. At Crystal Palace, he attempted to stop the rot by sitting deep and utilising the speed and predatory instincts of Jermain Defoe up front to get something out of the game.
Defoe has racked up an impressive nine goals this season. The only players who have more than him belong to teams competing for the top four and Watford's Odion Ighalo who looks to steer his side to a top-half finish.
This confidence has permeated through the team; the Black Cats have scored nine goals in their last four games, an average of 2.25 goals per game.
Sunderland face Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United in their next three matches, so they'll need all the goals they can get if they are to trick knick points of the top four challengers.
Jermain Defoe has been influential this season for Sunderland. Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images
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