Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are set to face off at White Hart Lane on Saturday with a number of key battles all over the pitch fairly apparent.
Strikers Harry Kane and Christian Benteke have 12 goals between them over the past month, but another intriguing match-up will take place in the middle third.
Villa’s Fabian Delph and Spurs star Ryan Mason were England international teammates just last week, but now it’s back to the blood and thunder of the Premier League and an extremely appealing encounter.
Tim Sherwood takes his relegation-threatened Villa side to his former club Spurs knowing how vital victory could be in his quest to beat the drop.
He will need to get his tactics right on the day, and much will depend on how he utilises star midfielder Delph against the impressive Mason.
|Key Passes per Game||Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Pass Success % per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, heading into the encounter it is the Villa man who has had the better of things, outshining his upcoming opponent in five key midfield areas.
Delph has proved to be more solid defensively, averaging more tackles and ball recoveries per Premier League encounter than his rival.
Furthermore, the former Leeds United star retained possession more impressively, averaging more touches and passes as well as distributing the ball better, illustrated by his 84.6% success rate.
Mason, in contrast, appears to have more of a cutting edge going forward – scoring once over the past month and providing on average more key passes per top flight fixture.
The duo were deservedly included in Roy Hodgson’s squad last week, and similar performances over the next two months will surely see them again among England’s best for the Euro Qualifier in June.