Moussa Sissoko has been unpopular with Tottenham Hotspur fans for most of his time in north London but his energy and tackling skills have provided Mauricio Pochettino with a surprising but most welcome boost in recent weeks.
Spurs have come close to running on empty at times but the Frenchman’s work ethic in the centre of the park has helped protect an injury-hit backline and frequently get his side back on the front foot.
After playing a starring role in Tottenham’s impressive week so far – with Chelsea and Inter seen off 3-1 and 1-0 respectively – Sissoko faces his third huge battle in eight days when he makes the short trip across town to face Arsenal on Sunday.
The powerhouse midfielder will come against the Gunners’ pint-size dynamo Lucas Torreira, who took a little while to bed into English football but has excelled in recent weeks.
He was man of the match in his side’s frantic 2-1 win at Bournemouth last Sunday and has added some long-awaited bite to Arsenal’s midfield.
Like Sissoko, he is full of energy but is a battle-hardened holding midfield player and it will be a full test of the Frenchman’s transformation.
If he comes out the other side having won the midfield battle for the third game in a row then Sissoko will likely have put Spurs on the way to a derby win; but Torreira will make him fight tooth and nail first.