Manchester United host Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Monday and a number of key battles all over the pitch are to ensue.
With both teams possessing enormous firepower up front, two players in particular will have an important job to do at Old Trafford - defensive midfielders Daley Blind and Francis Coquelin.
The pair have had somewhat different seasons so far, but their importance to their respective causes is evident and we have taken a closer look at how they compare over the past six months.
|Tackles Completed %||Interceptions per GAME||Effective Clearances per Game||Defensive Duels Won %||Ball Recoveries per Game||Fouls per Game||Pass Completion %||Appearances||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, both men come out on top in specific categories but it is the Gunners star that has been the most impressive – trumping Blind in as many five key areas.
The former Charlton Athletic loan star was almost set to be discarded at the end of last season but after breaking in to the starting XI, he has performed far beyond expectations.
Aside from making more tackles than Blind, the Gunners star has a higher tackle success percentage while also coming out on top in effective clearances and defensive duels won.
Blind, a United summer signing from Ajax, has also been a key performer for Louis van Gaal’s side and in possession he’s pivotal to the Red Devils’ style of play.
The 24-year-old Dutch international records an impressive 89.6% pass completion rate, and sitting in front of the defence he beats Coquelin in the number of interceptions made.
However, the Gunners schemer is unmistakably cleaner in the tackle – committing fewer fouls on average per match – and is also more mobile, making on average 7.38 ball recoveries per encounter.
The duo will have a huge role to play at Old Trafford on Monday, but additionally both clubs will be heavily dependent on them staying fit as they prove invaluable in the race for a top-four spot.