Aston Villa captain Richards has plenty of experience of English football, of course, but moved to the Midlands after spending time in Italy.
Van Dijk, meanwhile, joined Southampton after time with Scottish champions Celtic. Both have made an impression so far this season, despite Aston Villa's struggles and the Saints' poor recent results.
|(Per Game)||Tackles||Interceptions||Headers||Clearances||Minutes Played|
|Virgil van Dijk||1.4||2.8||5.4||7.3||900|
That said, as Opta data shows, there's a clear winner based on the stats so far this season. Indeed, Southampton's Van Dijk averages more tackles, interceptions, headers and clearances per game.
That's despite Richards facing far more pressure at the heart of Aston Villa's defence.
Both will be key should they feature this weekend, as Southampton will no doubt want to bounce back from conceding six goals against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup - and prior defeats to Manchester City and Stoke.
Richards, though, will need to be at his best and most influential if he is to help Villa stop the rot at the foot of the league table.