Following his double-goalscoring performance for Schalke 04 in their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first-leg defeat to Manchester City last night, rumours of a return to Tottenham Hotspur for midfielder Nabil Bentaleb have been ramped up.
The Algerian international netted a brace as his team came so close to defeating the reigning Premier League champions and it has helped to spark up rumours that his former manager Mauricio Pochettino may have his eye on him for the summer transfer window.
Bentaleb spent five years at White Hart Lane before departing for the Bundesliga, initially on loan, and then permanently at the end of the 2016/2017 season.
However, now, it’s looking like he could be heading back to north London after less than two years having caught the eye in his time at Schalke so far. Today, in a statistical tactical analysis, we are going to see how he compares with Spurs‘ current first choice in central-defensive-midfield and former teammate, Eric Dier.
The comparison we are going to carry out is a statistical one, with the help of the below image from whoscored.com, comparing their stats for 2018/2019 thus far in midfield. Bentaleb for the German top-flight season and Dier, currently out injured, the Premier League campaign.
As you can see, one player has seen more action than the other, this is down to Dier’s term being more injury-disrupted than Bentaleb’s, who has made six more league appearances and played nearly 400 more minutes. However, this isn’t a huge difference in football.
Unsurprisingly, the African has more goals with three to the England international’s two as the player with more of an eye for goal. While neither have registered an assist in their respective leagues or picked up a red card, they are tied on a high three yellow cards each, displaying their similar styles.
The man with the more shots per game has been Bentaleb, but his pass success rate on average is inferior to Dier’s, the latter being a huge part of a midfielder’s game, especially a centrally-positioned one. Despite being smaller in height, the Schalke man has impressively won more aerial duels and what is eye-catching is that he’s won two Man of the Match awards to his ex-comrade’s one. However, the argument that he’s been playing in a league of a lower standard can always be made.
In conclusion, it’s quite clear to see that the winner of our comparison in this statistical tactical analysis is Bentaleb, coming out on top in five more individual stats than Dier.
There are undoubtedly many factors for this to take into account but if this comparison proves one thing. It’s that the 24-year-old could certainly give the current stalwart of the Spurs midfield a run for his money, should he re-join.
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