Tottenham travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend hoping to inflict damage on Chelsea's title challenge while staying in touch of fourth place themselves.
Spurs are adrift of the top four after a defeat to Norwich City, meaning Tim Sherwood's men have a tough job on their hands if they want to qualify for next season's Champions League.
This huge clash will be decided with two battering rams of a midfield going head-to-head. Sandro, Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are all set for a titanic fight in the middle of the park.
The talent for each side is evident in attack with Eden Hazard in the form of his life and Emmanuel Adebayor like a reignited flame for Spurs. But Ramires vs. Dembele will be a keenly fought and intriguing battle.
The power and guile of both players is as clear as a summer day. They're both comfortable with the ball at their feet and are capable of causing damage in the final third of the pitch. Who comes out on top, though?
Using statistics from Squawka, we can find out.
Creativity, Passing and Skill
Tottenham's Dembele has played 25 games in the league this season, one less than Ramires, but the telling statistic is that the Brazilian has played 576 more minutes than the Belgian.
You'd think, then, that Ramires would dominate the stats—far from it.
Dembele has actually created more chances than Ramires. The Belgian powerhouse has created 31 chances for his teammates, compared to Ramires' 30. A slight difference; but when you take into account the number of minutes they've both spent on the field, it's an admirable figure for Dembele.
In fact, over the average of 90 minutes, Dembele creates 1.63 compared to Ramires' 1.18.
They have both only assisted one goal, but that may be down to the fact that both Chelsea and Tottenham have not scored bundles of goals like their top-four rivals, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Chelsea's top scorer is Hazard with 12, and Tottenham's is Adebayor with just eight so, despite the obvious levels of talent, it may be harder than one would think for Ramires and Dembele to provide assists.
In fact, with the other players at both clubs who can create dozens of chances, Dembele and Ramires' numbers are commendable—especially the former who leads the way at Spurs.
Both Ramires and Dembele see plenty of the ball during matches, so it is no surprise to see the pair completing around 1,000 passes each. Obviously, with Ramires' (1,012) extra time spent on the pitch, he has completed more passes than Dembele (966).
However, if we narrow it down to their average over 90 minutes, Dembele comes out on top with ease. The Belgian averages 50.6 successful passes every 90 minutes, while Ramires is successful with just 39.74—quite a difference.
Dembele is a machine on the ball; he's one of the best in the Premier League at beating his man with the ball at his feet.
A simple drop of the shoulder and a quick turn of pace sees the Belgian leave his marking man in his wake. He does it time and again—it is Dembele's signature move, much like Sergio Busquets' is the little drag back of the ball to drift past a player (not seen it? YouTube).
Tottenham's midfielder has completed 66 take-ons in the league this season, dwarfing Ramires' 28. He is also hugely successful, having completed 82.5 percent of his. Chelsea's Ramires has struggled, completing just 41 percent of his attempts.
Tackling and Defending
Defending isn't either of these players' key traits, but both are still quite capable. Ramires has often been deployed in the defensive '2' in Chelsea's midfield just behind their attacking quartet.
Dembele was often deployed in the '3' under Andre Villas-Boas, but with Sherwood now choosing a more conservative and traditional 4-4-2, Dembele has spent a lot more time in the centre of midfield.
Both players have contested a lot of tackles this season despite their attacking nature. Their position in the team has forced them to protect their defence, and it has seen them win a combined total of 117 tackles.
Ramires has won 60 tackles, three more than Dembele, but the Belgian averages more per 90 minutes; 2.99 to 2.36.
The key stat to look at here is how many they've lost, and it doesn't look good for Ramires who has lost 87 tackles to Dembele's tidy 24. That's a shocking figure and perhaps explains why he's not great in a defensive position within Mourinho's midfield.
An important job for a midfielder is to intercept passes, and both are very good at that. Ramires (25) has intercepted more passes than Dembele (17), but it is much closer when we average their figures out per 90 minutes. Dembele is slightly behind, as he averages 0.89 interceptions per 90 minutes while Ramires is at 0.98.
Both midfielders are exceptionally talented but need to add quite a bit to their games. Both have just one goal this season, which is a disappointing return. They create enough chances and are good and effective moving forward with the ball.
However, Dembele trumps Ramires for his defensive work. His powerful physique helps him come out on top in a higher percentage of tackles and his ability to beat men with the ball means he can quickly start counter-attacks with pace and guile.
Chelsea and Spurs are lucky to have these players on their respective books, but it is Dembele who may just come out on top at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
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