No midfield partnership has won recovered possession on more occasions than Sandro and Dembele, and Spurs have allowed the second fewest shots on goal in the division, with only Manchester City being more stingy in that regard.
Dembele and Sandro have been integral to that strong defensive showing, providing a huge screen in front of the back four.
But these two are clearly not only defensive players, and whilst everyone already knows about Dembele's skill on the ball, his Brazilian counterpart has also been ranging forward with success this year. In the match against Aston Villa, Sandro only attempted one fewer pass than Dembele in the attacking third, and his distribution was vital all over the pitch, as he completed the second most passes (behind Dembele) of anyone.
It is in matches like the one against Villa at home where Sandro will need to be more than a destroyer of opposition attacks. With teams sitting back at White Hart Lane, the presence of the Brazilian will be important in breaking sides down, and pushing Spurs' whole defensive line up the pitch.
This should give Spurs more opportunities to win the ball near the opposition's goal, and create chances as a result.
Sandro is also important as a ball-carrier. Again he is not as proficient as Dembele in this regard, but he can certainly dribble up the pitch with enough pace to begin Spurs' counter attacks.
With two players able to kickstart Tottenham's forward movement, the other team cannot simply focus on Dembele and ignore Sandro as a purely defensive player. The Brazilian creates space not only for the Belgian when he roves forward, but also for Spurs' trio of attacking midfielders.
Sandro has spoken recently of how he is enjoying working under Villas-Boas, and that he now has a clearer idea of what is expected of him. His attacks may sometimes look a little cumbersome, but he is effective. For proof we need look no further than this marvellous 720 turn to escape two Villa players last weekend.
image: © crystiancruz