Everton’s John Stones vs Manchester United’s Chris Smalling; who comes out on top?

The two defenders are vying to be part of England's first-choice defensive pairing, but who has been better this season?

When Everton host Manchester United this weekend, the focus will likely be on some of the English talent on show in both defences.

Blues youngster John Stones has firmly established himself as one of the brightest talents in the Premier League over the last two seasons, with many now expecting him to be a starter for England in Euro 2016.

Similarly, Chris Smalling has enjoyed marked improvement under Louis van Gaal in the last year to become another of England’s first-choice centre backs, with the duo competing to be Roy Hodgson’s preferred pairing next summer.

But who has performed better this season? We decided to take a look at their stats to find out.

Head Clearance
Duel SuccessAerial Duel 
Chris Smalling 2015-2016 78% 78% 94% 59% 62% 100%
John Stones 2015-2016 84% 88% 94% 64% 60% 100%

Starting with tackling, Stones comes out on top in that area, with 84% of his efforts proving successful compared to Smalling’s score of 78%.

He comes out on top when it comes to effective clearances as well, with a score of 88% beating Smalling’s of 78%. However, the duo are level when it comes to effective headed clearances with a score of 94%.

They are also level when it comes to successful interceptions, with both defenders enjoying an impressive score of 100% in that area.

When it comes to duels, the players are split. Stones edges things when it comes to successful battles on the deck, 64% to 59%, but Smalling comes out on top in terms of successful aerial tussles, 62% to 60%.

A win for Stones in this particular battle then, with him coming out on top in three key areas, but whether he comes up trumps on Saturday remains to be seen.

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