Race for the Premier League title: Midfields analysed
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 10/02/16 7:15pm
The Premier League's top four go head-to-head on Sky Sports on Sunday, with leaders Leicester travelling to Arsenal and Manchester City hosting Tottenham.
Just six points separate the teams in the table and this weekend offers the perfect opportunity for them to make a statement of intent in the title race.
To build up to the big showdowns, all this week Sky Sports will be analysing the teams.
Now, it's time to check each team's midfield. Here's what the stats say…
The key midfielders
|Player||Team||International caps||Transfer fee|
|Riyad Mahrez||Leicester City||22 (Algeria)||£400k|
|Dele Alli||Tottenham||4 (England)||£5m|
|Mesut Ozil||Arsenal||70 (Germany)||£42.5m|
|David Silva||Man City||94 (Spain)||£24m|
Riyad Mahrez, Dele Alli, Mesut Ozil and David Silva have been the key attacking midfielders for the top four sides so far this season. But how do they compare?
Mahrez v Alli v Ozil v Silva
|Player||Goals||Assists||Chances created||Passing accuracy||Successful passes||Tackles||Interceptions|
Leicester's Mahrez starred in Saturday's 3-1 win at Manchester City and his goal and assist in that game means he's the first player to reach double figures in those two categories in the Premier League.
Alli, meanwhile, registered his fifth assist of the season on Sunday, when he teed up Kieran Trippier, just 176 seconds after stepping off the bench. Alli has now had a hand in 11 goals in his last 14 Premier League games for Spurs (six goals, five assists).
Ozil was also on the scoresheet at the weekend, taking his tally to four for the season. However, it's in assists that the Arsenal man really stands out. He has recorded a Premier League-high 16 assists so far this season and created a remarkable 100 chances for his team-mates.
Silva is also a top chance-creator, conjuring up 44 opportunities for Man City, and has been involved in 10 goals so far this season.
It's not all about those four star names, though. Many other midfielders have played their part in propelling Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man City into the top four.
Here, we look at key categories and which names are the top performers among those four clubs…
|N'Golo Kante||Leicester City||102||103|
|Daniel Drinkwater||Leicester City||65||41|
Leicester's N'Golo Kante's stats set him apart among other defensive midfielders in the top four. The Frenchman is the only player in the Premier League to pass the 100 mark for tackles and interceptions so far this season.
|Yaya Toure||Man City||1213|
When it comes to passing, it's Arsenal players to the fore. Aaron Ramsey has made 1,228 successful passes this season and his team-mate Mesut Ozil is just one behind. Only Man City's Yaya Toure is close to matching their output.
And it's an Arsenal player top of the top-four pile when it comes to passing accuracy, too. Francis Coquelin rarely gives the ball away and has completed 90.96 per cent of his attempted passes so far this season. His team-mate Santi Cazorla (90.33 per cent) is also in the top five, as are Man City duo Fernando (90.82) and Fernandinho (88.24).
|Player||Team||Passing accuracy % (over 400 passes)|
- Riyad Mahrez - 14
- Dele Alli - 7
- Kevin de Bruyne - 5
- Yaya Toure - 5
- Mesut Ozil - 4
- Christian Eriksen - 4
- Aaron Ramsey - 4
No top-four midfielder comes close to matching Riyad Mahrez's goal-scoring exploits this season. The Leicester ace has 14 to his name this season - only Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Mahrez's Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy have more.
The next-best among top-four midfielders is Tottenham's Dele Alli, with seven - which includes that wonder strike at Crystal Palace.
- Mesut Ozil - 16
- Riyad Mahrez - 10
- Kevin de Bruyne - 9
- Christian Eriksen - 8
- David Silva - 8
Mesut Ozil is now just four assists away from matching Arsenal legend Thierry Henry's record Premier League assist total of 20 in a season. The Gunners star has been the standout playmaker in the top flight this term and his 100 chances created is well clear of second-placed Christian Eriksen.
|Kevin De Bruyne||Man City||67|
|Marc Albrighton||Leicester City||45|
|David Silva||Man City||44|
Ozil is also top of the pile among top-four midfielders when it comes to shooting accuracy. The German hits the target with 68.42 per cent of his shots. Despite scoring far more goals than his fellow midfielders in the top four, Mahrez only has the third-best shooting accuracy.
|Player||Team||Shooting accuracy (min 10 shots)|
|Riyad Mahrez||Leicester City||64.58|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Man City||61.54|
Watch Arsenal v Leicester from 11.30am and Man City v Tottenham from 4pm on Sky Sports 1 HD on Sunday