Sunderland vs. QPR (19:45)
Both sides will have something to prove heading into this tie, with new R’s boss Harry Redknapp hoping to weather the Black Cats’ determination to bounce back from a loss on Saturday. There is plenty of reason for Sunderland fans to be cheerful despite the result, and they’ll have high hopes for a strong performance:
* Although the Black Cats have only one victory to their name at home this season, they have a solid defensive record at the Stadium of Light- with only seven conceded in five games, just four other clubs can boast a tighter backline in home games.
* Their ability to score will be greatly helped by the presence of Steven Fletcher on Tuesday. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows him to be one of the most accurate finishers in the league with 68.1 percent of his shots on target so far. By comparison, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez and Demba Ba have all failed to reach 60 percent.
* QPR have struggled for possession according to the stats, with none of their players yet to notch up 50 successful passes this season. Sunderland will be hoping their confident passing style continues, with three of their players currently on more than 150 (Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and Sebastian Larsson).
* Defender Carlos Cuellar will be highly influential on the game’s outcome. Having won 91.7 percent of the challenges he’s gone in for, he is the league’s second most successful tackler according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, and is capable of scoring too as he recently showed against Fulham.
Harry Redknapp’s appointment has given bottom club QPR’s fans a renewed sense of optimism that they can beat the drop. The club will be hoping to put in another confident performance after an improved showing at Old Trafford on Saturday:
* The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that, for each of the last three sets of fixtures, QPR’s men recorded a faster total average speed than the Black Cats. Three R’s averaged 4.4 miles per hour over the course of 90 minutes at Old Trafford, with no Sunderland players achieving the feat in their game.
* Although their recent form has been inconsistent, QPR have scored at least once in eight of their last ten games, a record not shared by many others in the league- scoring early as they did at Old Trafford will be vital if they are to get something out of the game.
* Estaban Granero’s crossing ability may be one way to beat the Sunderland defence on Tuesday. The Spanish midfielder is one of only 30 league players to have played 20 successful balls in from the wing this season, at a rate of more than one every 48 minutes.
* Just ten players have gone on more than ten successful dribbles this season, and Adel Taarabt leads the way for QPR. With twelve at a rate of one every 66 minutes, he’ll be looking to cause problems for the Sunderland defence.
* Jamie Mackie gave the R’s the lead at Old Trafford, and was also their hardest worker during the game- the striker covered 6.75 miles, 14.8 percent more than United’s famously tireless Wayne Rooney.
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