Head to head: Who will come out on top between Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista and Manchester United's Chris Smalling?

Gabriel Paulista v Chris Smalling: Head to Head: Gabriel v Smalling H2H: 20151001

Arsenal and Manchester United meet in the Premier League on Sunday, with defences likely to play a key role at the Emirates.

Gabriel Paulista v Chris Smalling: Head to Head: Gabriel v Smalling H2H: 20151001

Any fixture between Arsenal and Manchester United has always been a huge game in the Premier League, and both sides will be looking to prove they have the credentials to challenge for the title this weekend. 

Manchester United went a point clear of their local rivals Manchester City at the top last time out, and while Arsenal's form in Europe may be letting them down, they recorded an impressive win against Leicester City and could find themselves at the summit on Sunday afternoon if results go their way.

Gabriel is likely to line up at the heart of the home side's defence, given that Laurent Koscielny looks likely to miss the game through injury, while Chris Smalling has been an ever present for United this season, and has received plenty of plaudits for his performances - so how do they compare when it comes to key statistics?

  PositionTeamPassing AccuracyTackles AccuracyDuel Won GAMEError Lead To ShotGoalsAppearancesMins Played
Gabriel Paulista DF Arsenal 90% 75% 4.75 0 0 4 315
Chris Smalling DF Man Utd 87% 71% 5.71 0 0 7 630

The first thing to note is their appearance record. At the moment, Gabriel seems to be on the fringes of the Arsenal team, with some commanding performances required to nail down a regular role, while Smalling appears to have the complete faith of his manager Louis van Gaal.

In terms of accuracy in both their passing and tackles, they are pretty evenly matched, with Gabriel shading his opponent in both areas while Smalling's superiority when it comes to duels suggests he relishes the physical side of the game a little more than the Brazilian.

The high passing accuracy for both players does give a clue as to the type of football that both managers will want their teams to play, with the two sides happy to play out from the back and control the game through possession.

What will be heartening is that neither have made an error to allow their opponents to get a shot on goal, though they have yet to notch at the opposite end in the Premier League - though Smalling did manage to find the net in the Champions League in midweek. 

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