Arsenal and Liverpool meet at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday in a game that could prove pivotal in the race for a Champions League qualification spot.
This tie will see the English top-flight's most in-form playmakers go head-to-head.
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho has been his side's best player this season, with his inspirational performances guiding the Reds to key victories over the likes of Manchester City and Southampton. His impressive recent form has seen him earn a well-deserved recall to the Brazilian national set-up; a move that, the Anfield faithful would suggest, has been a long time in the offing.
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, meanwhile, has returned from a spell on the sidelines with supreme confidence - he has assisted four goals and scored a further two in his last seven appearances. After a tough debut season at the Emirates, the former Galactico finally seems to have recovered the form that earned him a move to North London, and Arsene Wenger is reaping the rewards.
|Goals per Game||Shots per Game||Assists per Game||Key Passes per Game||Passes per Game||Pass Accuracy (%)||Dispossessed per Game||Ball Recovery per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the two midfielders excel in different areas, but who comes out on top in a head-to-head over the previous eight months?
Somewhat surprisingly, Ozil has scored more goals per Premier League game than Coutinho this term, despite fashioning far fewer attempts on goal than his Brazilian counterpart.
The Arsenal midfielder has also proved more prolific in a creative sense, fashioning more chances via key passes per appearance, as well as recording more assists - Ozil has set-up five goals, to Coutinho's four.
Furthermore, the Brazilian's passing range - with a success rate of 87% - is trumped by the former Real Madrid man both in quantity and accuracy, with Coutinho averaging an 80% completion rate across his 27 league appearances.
In a defensive capacity, however, Coutinho seemingly offers the greater level of protection.
Having recovered possession on 5.41 occasions per match, he is responsible for winning the ball once more than Ozil on an average match-day. Nonetheless, the statistics suggest he is also dispossessed more often.
While the general consensus points to Coutinho as having enjoyed the more fruitful season of the duo, the statistics actually suggest the opposite.
Indeed, Arsenal head into their weekend encounter with Liverpool with the more prolific creative midfield player at their disposal; an advantage that could ultimately swing the outcome of the tie.