Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in arguably the most intriguing tie of the weekend as both battle for a top four spot.
The Red Devils will start the game in fourth spot regardless of Saturday’s results, but given the vast sums of money they spent last summer many observers expected much more of Louis van Gaal’s side.
Spurs, on the other hand, are three points adrift of United in sixth spot though there is a wave of optimism surrounding White Hart Lane at the moment with the club evidently progressing well.
As the match at Old Trafford approaches, we decide to focus on a potential key battle and two players in particular who could provide the creative spark to earn their side the three points.
Juan Mata vs Nacer Chadli
Among United’s expensively assembled frontline is Spanish international Juan Mata, a big-money addition to Old Trafford during last season’s January transfer window.
The former Chelsea ace has an exquisite style of play and more importantly ability in abundance, however as per the table provided by Opta Stats, he comes off a clear second best to Spurs’ Nacer Chadli.
|Goals per Game||Shots per Game||Shots on Target per Game||Key Passes per Game||Take-ons per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Appearances|
The Belgian international outshines Mata in as many as five key categories, including the average number of goals, shots on target and successful take-ons per Premier League encounter.
Mata is renowned for picking up the ball in pockets of space, retaining possession well and above all being a striker’s dream due to his knack of playing accurate through-balls with such precision and regularity.
However, even in this area he has been trumped – Chadli creating on average 1.32 chances per match via key passes in contrast to the Spaniard’s average of 1.26.
The 25-year-old has been at the centre of a number of excellent displays by Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season and his inclusion epitomises the club’s positive outlook.