West Ham take on Tottenham at the London Stadium this Saturday in what is expected to be another fiery London derby between the two sides.
And the middle of the park, in particular, could have a real derby feel to it with both teams possessing robust midfielders.
Declan Rice currently occupies the role of shielding the West Ham defence, while Eric Dier is just one option for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino when it comes to choosing a defensive midfielder for his starting XI.
So with that in mind, how do Rice and Dier compare ahead of their potential midfield battle?
During the summer, Manuel Pellegrini brought in Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko to strengthen West Ham’s attack, something they have done significantly.
However, amid all the attacking talent the Hammers have fielded, the team has looked unbalanced at times.
The introduction of Rice, though, has helped to even things out with the 19-year-old having managed to string together an array of solid performances in recent weeks.
Against Manchester United and Chelsea, in particular, Rice did his job as West Ham’s deepest midfielder efficiently.
He was pivotal in helping neutralise the threat of Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard — the Premier League’s most dangerous attacker in this moment of time — and could save West Ham millions going forward if he puts pen to paper on a new deal.
TT Grade: C+
After making an impressive start to life as a Tottenham player, Dier has fallen off somewhat over the last year or so with a failed move to Manchester United a possible reason as to why.
Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has proven to be a very useful player for both Tottenham and England and is someone Pochettino has put a lot of faith in.
Capable of playing in both defence and midfield, one of Dier’s strongest attributes is his tackling — evident from what looked to be a brilliant challenge from him on Spain captain Sergio Ramos in England’s recent 3-2 UEFA Nations League win.
Just as West Ham do, Tottenham obviously also have brilliant attacking players in Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, players who Dier usually provides adequate cover for when playing in midfield.
TT Grade: B
While Rice’s West Ham career is on the rise, Dier’s Tottenham one has stagnated or even regressed.
The England international has just not looked the same compared to his first few seasons at the club.
However, Dier is still one of the leading players in his position in the Premier League and his experience in anchoring the defence is something Rice cannot yet match.
Therefore, the Tottenham man comes out on top in this battle.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!