Tottenham take on West Ham today in a London Derby with plenty of individual battles set to tell the tale of this intriguing encounter.
One such battle will be in the midfield. Who can control the game from the heart of the pitch? The engine room?
Two players who will be hoping to do just that will be Tottenham's Nabil Bentaleb and West Ham's former Arsenal man Alex Song.
So how do the two compare this season. Here is a table from Opta Stats presenting some of the major figures for both players this season so far.
|Touches (mins per)||Accurate Pass (mins per)||Fwd Pass (mins per)||Poss Won Mid 3rd (mins per)||Successful dribbles (mins per)||Interception (mins per)||Won Tackle (mins per)|
Tottenham clearly use Bentaleb a lot. He gets in possession of the ball far more regularly than Song. With that in mind he also makes a more accurate pass than Song on a more frequent basis.
But while those stats are in his favour eventually it is clear to see that Song is perhaps the more complete player.
Firstly there is his forward pass ratio. Bentaleb may be the more frequent passer but Song is more probing, going forward rather than backward or sideways. When it comes to running himself out of pressure Song is also the better, happy to dribble past opponents in necessary.
Then there is the defensive stats. Bentaleb reads the game well, as evident from his superior interception rate. But Song wins tackles on a more frequent basis and wins the ball in he midfield third less than every 15 minutes, quite a rate.
In fairness there is very little to choose between the Tottenham and West Ham midfield maestros and it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top this afternoon.