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Dusan Tadic v Eric Dier: The key battle when Southampton face Tottenham
Last Updated: 17/01/18 12:24pm
Will Dusan Tadic or Eric Dier come out on top when Southampton host Spurs on Sunday? We check the stats...
Tottenham travel to Southampton for their Sky Live clash on Sunday aiming to extend their excellent recent run against the Saints, having won their last three Premier League meetings and nine of their previous 11.
Key to Southampton's hopes of a positive result could be the form of playmaker Dusan Tadic, who set up both of his team's goals in their only Premier League win against Spurs since 2005 - a 2-1 success at White Hart Lane in May 2016.
Goals have been sparse for Mauricio Pellegrino's side this season, having scored just 23 in 23 Premier League games and one of the reasons could be a downturn in Tadic's creativity. The 29-year-old Serbian has only four assists in his last 32 Premier League appearances having had 23 in his first 87.
However, despite this recent form, Tadic still easily leads the way for Southampton in assists and chances created for the club since his Premier League debut in Aug 2014, underlining his importance to the club going forward.
Southampton - Premier League since 2014/15
In fact, only Gylfi Sigurdsson has more assists from players from clubs outside 'The Big 6' since the start of 2014/15.
Most assists - players outside of Big Six since 2014/15 PL
As well as creating chances, Tadic has also been at the forefront of goal attempts for Southampton this season, with only Nathan Redmond having more efforts and Charlie Austin having more attempts on target. His last goal actually came as a sub in the Saints' 5-2 defeat against Tottenham at Wembley on Boxing Day.
Southampton attacker - PL this season
|Player||Most attempts||-||Player||Most on target|
The responsibility to negate Tadic's creativity could fall to Eric Dier, a mainstay of the Tottenham team, whether in defence or midfield.
Dier, who celebrated his 24th birthday this week, has been one of the first names on Mauricio Pochettino's team sheet, with only Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris playing more Premier League games for Tottenham since the Argentinean's appointment in May 2014.
Most Tottenham apps in PL since 2014/15
He is primarily in the team for his defensive capabilities and he has performed well for Spurs this season, with only Jan Vertonghen, who has played 112 minutes more, making more interceptions and tackles.
Interceptions & tackles - Tottenham in PL this season
|Player||Most interceptions||-||Player||Most tackles|
Dier has also got across the pitch impressively this season, with only Eriksen and Dele Alli covering a greater distance.
Most distance covered - Tottenham in PL this season
|Player||Distance covered (km)|
Dier has won on five of his seven Premier League appearances against Southampton and has not won more against any other club.
If the England international can help nullify the attacking threat of Tadic at St Mary's on Sunday, it is a run he and his team-mates will hope will continue.