With round 15 coming to an end last night as Newcastle beat Wigan 3-0 at St. James Park to make it a total of 5 teams who were able to keep a clean sheet in round 15. Round 16 see’s a number of evenly matched team face off against each other with Arsenal hosting West Brom, Southampton hosting Reading and of course Manchester United make the short trip across Manchester to face Manchester City in what is sure to be the game of the round. These evenly matched games however do make it exceedingly difficult to predict where the clean sheets will come from, but as always our coaches are never one’s to shy away from the challenge and have come up with some contenders for defenders.
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) £3.6 million Fixture: Aston Villa (Away)
The Potters have been in fine form at the back this season with 9 clean sheets from just 15 league games, 4 of which have come in their last 7 games. Shawcross has been an ever present at the back for Tony Pulis’s side and both he and Stoke will be keen to keep their run of impressive defensive performances going as they face Villa at the Villa Park this weekend. Aston Villa’s form has been up and done of late but they are yet to find any real consistency under Paul Lambert. They will have their work cut out against a typically well drilled Potters side. With Benteke their only real goal threat, if Shawcross and co can keep the Belgian quiet, they will be one step closer to their tenth clean sheet of the season.
Matthew Kilgallon (Sunderland) £3.4 million Fixture: Chelsea (Home)
The 28 year old has been at Sunderland since 2010 but has failed to really make an impact and has had a number of loan spells in between but he has been pushed from obscurity into the lime light as Sunderland struggle with injuries at the back, the central defender has started the last two games in a row for the Black Cats and was instrumental in helping Sunderland keep a clean sheet against QPR in round 14. There is little doubt that he will have his hands full as Sunderland welcome a stuttering Chelsea to the Stadium of Light, but with the Pensioners seemingly struggling for goals there is certainly a chance that Kilgallon and co can keep a clean sheet against the Blues.
Joey O’Brien (West Ham) £3.1 million. Fixture: Liverpool (Home)
The Hammers have been playing some good football this season and will be very pleased with their 3-1 victory over Chelsea at the weekend and there is little doubt the they will have another tough game on their hands when they welcome Liverpool to Upton Park but there is good news for the Hammers with Luis Suarez suspended for the visit of Liverpool on Sunday, West Ham could well be on their way to a fifth clean sheet of the season. When you consider that Liverpool have scored 19 goals in total this season and that Suarez has gotten more than half of them (10), you get an idea of just how sorely he will be missed. O’Brien has been one of the most consistent performers for the Hammers this season and has racked up 1 goal, 2 assists so far this season. West Ham should be typically difficult to break down on Sunday and without facing Suarez, you wouldn’t back against them keeping the clean sheet.
Angel Rangel (Swansea) £3.4 million Fixture: Norwich (Home)
The Swans go into this weekends game with inform Norwich on the back of a 2-0 away win to Arsenal and they will be keen to keep things tight at the back, Rangle has been a rock at the back for the Swans but he does also like to get forward and even has a goal to his name this season. Of course given how well Norwich are playing at the moment it won’t be easy but the Canaries have not been as impressive of late on their travels and have only managed 5 goals away from Carrow Road. Swansea will be keen to build on their recent victory and if they can get off the mark early then there is a good chance that the Welsh outfit can record their third clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium.
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