By Adam Clark

This week's head-to-head could be the most accurate of the season.

Its two subjects have both made 26 Premiership appearances and, intriguingly, one has played just 40 minutes more than the other.

So the two have walked toe-to toe all season but on Sunday they will come face to face. They are Gilberto and Mikel Arteta. 

Gilberto, the Brazilian, is the midfield enforcer behind Arsenal's fluid, flowing football. Arteta, the Spaniard, is the midfield engine for Everton; the first back tackling, the first driving forward.

The Arsenal man excels doing what we all now call 'the ugly things' but it would be unfair to overlook his all-round talents. In front of goal, for example, he has succeeded five times this season. In comparison, Arteta has managed four goals, but also six assists.

In terms of distribution Gilberto is out in front however. He has attempted 234 passes to the Spaniard's 197 and found his target 65.3 per cent of the time. Arteta's success rate is 59.8 per cent.

Defensively Gilberto has also returned the superior ratios. Interceptions? 14:12. Blocks? 4:1. Clearances? 29:23. And then there's tackling, an area in which the Brazilian's 54 per cent success rate just edges Arteta's. The Everton man has produced 52 tackles - 13 more than Gilberto - and won exactly half of them.

Where the Spaniard does come into his own is dribbling and crossing. Indeed, he has tried to take on at an opponent 66 times this season - Gilberto has done so just eight times. And of those 66 attempts, 37 have produced an end product.

As for crossing, the statistics suggest it's something Gilberto leaves well alone. In fact, his tireless work this season has produced just three centres, compared to Arteta, who's just seven short of a century of crosses.

If the statistics are anything to go by this industrious pair are certain to offer up effort in abundance on Sunday. Whatever the outcome, the battle between Gilberto and Arteta will be one for all to savour.

Player Profile
View Gilberto' player profile

Head to Head Statistics Gilberto Mikel Arteta Premiership Appearances 26 26 Minutes on pitch 2299 2339 Attacking Goals 5 4 Shots on target 12 15 Shots off target 9 17 Shots blocked 4 4 Offside 0 4 Supporting Assists 0 6 Passes made 234 197 Passes complete 153 118 Passes incomplete 81 79 Crosses successful 0 21 Crosses unsuccessful 3 70 Total dribbles 8 66 Dribbles successful 6 37 Dribbles unsuccessful 2 29 Defending Tackles made 39 52 Tackles won 21 26 Tackles lost 18 26 Interceptions 14 12 Blocked Shots 4 1 Clearances 29 23 Penalties Conceded 0 0 Own Goals 0 0 Discipline Fouls 27 45 Yellow Cards 1 6

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16 Mar 2007