Stoke City host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in a match that will see the impressive Nabil Bentaleb take on fellow midfield enforcer Steven N’Zonzi.
This particular fixture at the Britannia Stadium has seen six red cards over the past six fixtures, a disciplinary record among the very worst between two fellow Premier League clubs.
While both teams this season have been anything but dirty, tackles are likely to be strong and competitive as both sides try to wrestle control of the middle third.
Bentaleb and N’Zonzi is the standout battle ahead of the encounter, but which player has outperformed the other in a number of key midfield categories this season?
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Defensive Duel Winners per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Spurs’ Algeria international heads into the fixture having posted better numbers in as many as six key areas.
Bentaleb is shown to have averaged more tackles, interceptions, effective clearances and ball recoveries per Premier League fixture.
Moreover, the 22-year-old comes out on top in the possession stats – taking more touches and recording more accurate passes per match than his upcoming opponent.
N’Zonzi has been one of the Potters’ best players this season, in what can only be described as another successful top-flight campaign for Mark Hughes’ side.
However, his head-to-head with Bentaleb doesn’t make for particularly good reading for the Frenchman as he heads into the encounter only coming off best in defensive duel winners.
Nonetheless, the Midlands outfit have a good record against Spurs and their hopes of finishing in the top half will take another step closer to reality with a solid performance and subsequent victory.