When Manchester United take on Tottenham this weekend, could this battle prove pivotal?
This fixture marks the first day of Mauricio Pochettino and Louis van Gaal's second seasons in charge at their respective clubs; a season they will be hoping to open in the perfect manner - with three points against their fellow top-four competitor.
In a game that is likely to be won and lost in the centre of the park, the individual battles that take place will make for an intriguing spectacle.
Based on the assumption that Ryan Mason will start over Dele Alli - who has impressed throughout pre-season - at Old Trafford on Saturday, he is likely to face a difficult task opposing Manchester United summer signing Morgan Schneiderlin.
Ahead of the weekend's match-up, HITC Sport have analysed the statistics to see who will come out on top.
Of the seven key criteria analysed, Schneiderlin comfortably outperformed Tottenham's breakthrough star, Mason, despite playing fewer Premier League games than the Englishman last season.
Schneiderlin made more successful passes per game than the England international (54.58 to 43.39) in the Premier League, while he also completed a greater percentage of his total attempts to find a teammate in possession - 89% pass accuracy to Mason's 84%.
With 0.94 key passes per game to Schneiderlin's 0.77, Mason is creatively superior to his weekend counterpart. However, this is where his brief dominance ends. Indeed, when it comes to dribbling, the Manchester United man regains his advantage.
Defensively the Red Devils midfielder also holds a clear advantage; averaging more interceptions and successful tackles per appearance. Based on his total tackles made, he also boasts the superior overall success rate - 82% to Mason's 73%.
Based on the statistics - and with it, his supposed dominance in the centre of the park - Schneiderlin will be expected to win the midfield battle for Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
In a game that could be decided by the narrowest of margins, the Frenchman's contribution may prove key.