The weekend’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford stands out as a crucial one in the top-four battle, as both sides continue their respective bids for a Champions League return.
Tottenham sit just three points adrift of fourth-placed United in sixth with 10 top-flight games remaining, and will go into the match hoping that star man Christian Eriksen can pull the strings in the midfield to help cut the gap.
The Danish playmaker will have to contend with former Ajax teammate and close friend Daley Blind on the afternoon, however, in a matchup which could well end up proving crucial towards the final result.
|Position||Team||Goals||Assists||Total Key Passes GAME||Passing Accuracy||Total Dribbles GAME||Dribble Success||Touches GAME||Dispossessed GAME||Appearances||Mins Played|
After experiencing a fine run of form earlier this winter, which saw him net four late league winners, Eriksen's production has tailed off in recent weeks, having recorded just one assist and no goals over the past eight games across all competitions.
Nevertheless, the creative attacker remains a real danger to the United defence, creating almost two and a half chances per match and registering over 70 touches of the football, and Louis van Gaal's side will need the versatile Blind to be at his best in front of the back-four.
|Position||Team||Total Tackles GAME||Interceptions GAME||Total Clearances GAME||Duels Won GAME||Duel Success||Fouls GAME||Passing Accuracy||Ball Recoveries GAME||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Daley Blind||MF||Man Utd||2.19||3.69||2.5||4.5||48%||1.25||90%||5.81||16||1,389|
The Netherlands international has shown his nous for cutting out the final ball since arriving at Old Trafford in August, making 3.69 interceptions and 5.81 recoveries per game, and those statistics should stand him in good stead when facing off against Eriksen on the Old Trafford turf.
With former Spurs man Michael Carrick in line to start, after appearing as a half-time substitute in the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, Blind should have some much-needed help alongside him for the visit of Mauricio Pochettino's side, and that just might be enough to help him stamp out Eriksen's influence, much like the combination of Ramires and Kurt Zouma managed in the recent Capital One Cup final.