Ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby, statistics released by EA SPORTS FIFA 15 Ultimate Team have put paid to fan arguments across the country and revealed the best combined starting XI of the two clubs.
Much has been made of the supposed shift in power in Manchester and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League, has revealed that the blue half DO now have the edge. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index has taken data from both Manchester City and Manchester United and measured both sides’ players’ contribution to the success of the team using six key indices to calculate the best starting XI as…
Angel Di Maria
Robin van Persie
There will be few surprised to see City stars Sergio Agüero and David Silva make the team. Agüero has scored nine goals in nine games for City this season while Silva has completed an incredible 384 passes in the opposition half. Their performances have kept out the likes of Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney from the combined XI.
There are however, one or two surprise inclusions. The 2013 Manchester City Player of the Year and PFA Team of the Year right back, Pablo Zabaleta, is beaten to the side by United’s Brazilian right back Rafael da Silva, who has missed a third of the games in the league this season. There was speculation at the start of the season that he may not be in Louis Van Gaal’s plans, however Rafael has come back in to the team and performed well, earning himself a place in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index Manchester combined XI.
Joe Hart has met with competition this season, with Malaga keeper Willy Caballero joining over the summer, however Hart has affirmed his place as the City number one, playing eight of the nine Premier League matches. De Gea, meanwhile, went in to this season with the guaranteed number one spot, and has repaid his manager’s faith with some impressive performances. It is Hart, however, who has pipped De Gea to the goalkeeping spot in the Manchester combined XI.
Pablo Zabaleta was offered some competition for the right back spot at City this summer, as the club signed Arsenal fullback Bacary Sagna, however the World Cup finalist has played every game he has been fit and eligible for this season, and thus competes with Rafael for the right back spot in the combined XI. It is Rafael, who makes the team, possibly helped by the fact Zabaleta had points deducted after being sent off in the game against Chelsea.
The centre back position has provided a few problems for Manchester United this season and no fewer than seven players have played in the central defensive positions over the course of the first nine matches. Due to the inconsistency in the United back line, it is the City pair of Kompany and Demichelis who make the team. In the below table, defensive contributions is a combination of clearances, interceptions and blocks.
The summer saw Manchester United let stalwart Patrice Evra depart the club and be replaced by England youngster Luke Shaw. = City already possessed Gael Clichy and Aleksander Kolarov, and both continue to battle for the left back spot, with Clichy spending 528 minutes on the pitch, in comparison to Kolarov’s 373, Clichy edges out the competitors for the left back role in the combined XI.
Manchester City have a variety of players who can play in the midfield, both defensive and offensively. While many have said Yaya Toure has not been on top form, he makes the team due to his influence in the opposition half. David Silva has enjoyed playing the free role in attacking midfield this season and he ranks highest of any midfielder from the two Manchester sides. In the red half of the city, new signing Ander Herrera has looked impressive but has been unfortunate with injuries, while Daley Blind has also settled in well. More recently, Marouane Fellaini has had a good run of form, notably scoring against West Brom, however doesn’t challenge the main contenders yet, due to lack of games.
The outstanding player for Manchester United this season has undoubtedly been the most expensive player in Premier League history, Angel Di Maria, who has kept the likes of Adnan Januzaj out of the side. At City, James Milner has enjoyed a mini renaissance that has ensured he is a firm fixture in the side. Milner is now consigning plenty of talent to the benchin our combined XI, such as Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri.
Neither City nor United lack in firepower, and between both teams they possess six of the best strikers in the league. Aguero has been in sensational form this season and has the second highest PPI score in the league, only trailing Diego Costa. Robin van Persie earns the second spot in the side ahead of Dzeko, Falcao, Rooney and Jovetic.
THE EA SPORTS PLAYER PERFOMANCE INDEX SCORING EXPLAINED…
1. Winning Performance
Players receive points for time on the pitch in a successful team. Players will receive more points if they play the full 90 minutes in a winning team. This index shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they are on the pitch. Only time on the pitch and points scored are taken into account in this first index.
2. Player’s Performance per match
Players receive points for positive influences on a winning performance (shots on target, tackles, clearances, saves etc). Players have points taken away from their score for negative actions such as shots off target and receiving yellow and/or red cards.
Players receive points for minutes on the pitch. The number of points won by ALL teams in the Barclays Premier League are divided among the players according to the number of minutes they have played. This does not take into account the result of a match, it awards points purely for playing time.
4. Goals scored
Players are awarded points for scoring goals. These points are only given to the goalscorer.
Players are awarded points for assists. These points are only awarded to players that make the assist.
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team who makes the last touch before the goal is scored.
If after this touch, an opposing player touches the ball outside the penalty area altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is given, except if this intervention directly results in an own goal.
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick gets an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.
6. Clean sheets
Allocates points for clean sheets to the whole team. The proportionate split of the points is weighted according to the player’s position. Therefore a goalkeeper will be awarded a greater proportion of the points for keeping a clean sheet than a striker. The points are also awarded proportionately to the time spent on the pitch.
The overall EA SPORTS PPI is a correlation between all of the above six indices. The Index only includes actions that can be measured objectively and does not reward one action more than another (e.g. a pass by a midfielder will not gain more points than a tackle made by a defender). Subjective factors relating to individual players’ skill levels or evidence of a specific flair, such as a particularly spectacular pass or goal, are not included within the index.