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Key battle: Dusan Tadic v Eric Dier

Ollie Francis (Sky Sports) 20 Jan 2018
Dusan Tadic, of Southampton, and Eric Dier, of Spurs

Sky Sports' Ollie Francis on how Southampton's creative source can trouble Spurs' go-to man

If Southampton are to end a run of three successive defeats against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday they will need Dusan Tadic to be at his best, writes Sky Sports’ Ollie Francis.

Tadic set up both goals in Southampton’s only Premier League win against Spurs since 2005, a 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane in May 2016.

The Serb leads the way for the club in assists and chances created since his PL debut in August 2014, underlining his importance going forward.

And encouragingly for Saints, only Gylfi Sigurdsson, with 28, has more assists by players from clubs outside the “Big Six” than Tadic’s 27 since the start of 2014/15.

Saints' most creative since 2014/15
Player Assists Player Chances created
Tadic 27 Tadic 243
Ward-Prowse 15 Davis 152
Bertrand 12 Ward-Prowse 128
Long 11 Redmond 88
Davis 8 Mane 81

The responsibility to stem Tadic's creativity could fall to Eric Dier, a mainstay of the Spurs team whether in defence or midfield.

He has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Spurs, with only Christian Eriksen (132) and Hugo Lloris (128) playing more PL matches under Mauricio Pochettino than Dier’s 124.

Primarily in the team for his defensive capabilities, only Jan Vertonghen, who has played 112 minutes more, has made more interceptions and tackles this season.

Most tackles and interceptions for Spurs in 2017/18
Player Interceptions Player Tackles
Vertonghen 35 Vertonghen 41
Dier 32 Dier 37
Dembele 20 Aurier 36
Alli 16 Trippier 34
Aurier 16 Eriksen 29
Eriksen 16 Davies 26

Furthermore only Eriksen (267) and Dele Alli (244) have covered more distance than Dier’s 231km this term.

The 24-year-old has been on the winning side in five of his seven PL appearances against Southampton and has not won more against any other club in the competition.

Stopping Tadic at St Mary’s Stadium will be key to continuing that run.

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