Watching them both play this season, you might think that Gareth Bale's explosive performances place him ahead of Juan Mata, but a look at the Premier League's player profiles will show you that the midfielders are statistically closer than you might expect.
Mata has scored or assisted 23 goals for Chelsea whilst Bale has made 21 for Spurs, making them two of the biggest providers in the league behind Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie.
Whilst Bale's quicker and more aggressive style of play is likely to draw the plaudits, Mata's approach has proven to be just as effective. In fact, the Spaniard's statistics suggest that he has made a bigger impact than the Welshman, having scored 10 goals and assisted 13, whilst Bale has scored 16 and made five.
Obviously there is more to the game than what the statistics suggest, but by looking at a number of sources it is clear to see just how important these players are for their teams, both in the attacking and defensive areas of the pitch.
According to the Premier League's official website, Mata has helped his team keep 10 clean sheets, whilst Bale in a wide position has had a greater influence on his team's back four, making 25 clearances.
EA sports have placed both of them in the top three for their overall performance this season with only Van Persie ahead of them, and Opta list Mata at the top of the shot per goal chart. The statistics website has also stated that Bale is the most improved player this season in terms of reducing his shot to goal ratio.
Mata and Bale have arguably been the most in-form players during the 2012/13 campaign, and the season's statistics suggest both Chelsea and Spurs have heavily relied on their attacking attributes. The impact they have made is also largely comparable despite their different styles of play, but Cheslea's number 10 marginally leads the race as we come towards the end of the season.
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