Premier League leaders Chelsea host Stoke at Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking for another three points that will edge them ever closer to title glory.
It’s a fascinating encounter that will pitch together two of the league’s most dominant midfielders in Nemanja Matic and the Potters’ highly-rated French star Steven N’Zonzi.
The former Blackburn Rovers man has been an influential figure for the Midlands outfit this season, but how does he compare to arguably the best defensive midfielder in England?
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Defensive Duels Won per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the Blues’ Serbia international comes out on top in all six key categories, and his dominance goes to show what a tough job N’Zonzi has on Saturday.
Matic, currently in his second spell in West London, averages 2.81 tackles and 7.63 defensive duel wins per Premier League encounter.
Moreover, the 26-year-old is reliable in possession and works extremely hard at winning the second balls, demonstrated by his impressive average of 8.74 ball recoveries.
N’Zonzi, in contrast, has averaged just 1.33 tackles per encounter, however his average number of defensive duel wins and ball recoveries are in line with the league’s best.
It has all the hallmarks of an intriguing clash in the middle of the park, and visiting boss Mark Hughes will be hoping at the very least that Matic walks off the pitch knowing he has been in a battle.