As Tottenham Hotspur picked up their form towards the tail end of the 2011/12 season, the final four games saw Sandro integrated into the starting XI at the expense of the injured Scott Parker. The 32-year-old had succumbed to an Achilles injury and, despite playing his part in all four of England's Euro 2012 games, returned to domestic duty still hampered by the problem.
As such, Spurs' final four games last season saw the north London side pick up 10 points from a possible 12 as the club narrowly missed out on a place in the Champions League as a result of Chelsea's exploits in Munich last May.
Regardless of the fourth placed finish, Spurs were forced to ply their trade in the Europa League this season and, having missed out on third, saw Harry Redknapp relieved of his duties. In came Andre Villas-Boas and with it, a complete change of formation from the usual 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1, with the onus on ball retention and probing the opposition, rather than the Gung-ho approach in the attempt to pick up maximum points.
With that in mind, the need for players of a higher technical ability was a necessity, a facet of Sandro's game that eclipses Parker. While Redknapp often struggled to accommodate the pairing in the middle of the park, with Luka Modric one of the first names of the team sheet prior to his move to Real Madrid, Villas-Boas' decision was made that bit easier as Parker missed the opening half of the campaign.
Alongside Mousa Dembele, the Brazil international has become an integral part of the Spurs starting XI as he looks to harry the opposition in their defensive third as a result of his high intensity approach to the game. As such, this limits the creativity of opposing midfielders, which in turn can be capitalised upon by the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe.
Disaster then struck back in early January as Sandro attempted to loft a ball over the Queen's Park Rangers defence, twisting on the Loftus Road turf and falling to knee ligament damage that will see the 24-year-old unavailable for selection until next season, at the very earliest.
The injury saw Parker thrust back into competitive action in west London in the same fixture and has seen the England international become a prominent member in the starting XI once again, beginning all 11 of Spurs' Premier League games since the 0-0 draw with the R's up until, and including, yesterday’s 3-1 win over Manchester City.
Nevertheless, his performances in the first team have been nowhere near the level of consistency as Sandro. Parker has continuously taken it upon himself to press high up the pitch, much like his teammate, only without the high energy levels of the midfielder aptly dubbed 'The Beast'.
It has regularly seen the 32-year-old caught higher up the field than the likes of Bale and Lennon and, perhaps more pertinently, Clint Dempsey, with the USA international providing the physical attacking outlet for Spurs, especially when Jermain Defoe is the preferred choice to lead the frontline.
His decision making when it comes to pressing regularly compromises the defensive solidity of Spurs and it's no shock that the club have conceded marginally more goals per game (1.27) when Parker has played in the Premier League this season compared to Sandro (1.23).
Furthermore, of the 22 league starts Sandro has made, three of those came at the beginning of the season when he started alongside Jake Livermore, and a further four came during Spurs' poor run of form earlier in the season when Dembele was sidelined with a hip injury.
Regardless, the stats weigh heavily in the favour of Sandro. The Brazilian ranks 10th in the interceptions chart across Europe’s top 5 leagues, having made 3.6 per game in his 22 domestic appearances.
In comparison, Parker ranks at 260th in the same table, making just 2.2 interceptions per game across the 17 games he has been involved in. When it comes to tackling, Sandro is again the stronger of the duo, making 3.3 per game compared to the England international's 2.4, a figure that places the Brazilian 89th in the overall leader board, 236 places ahead of his teammate in 325th.
When it comes to passing, Sandro is again the dominant of the two players. He may attempt just 42.3 per game, a figure lower than Parker's 45.2, but his completion rate is 2.1% higher, having found a teammate with 85.7% of his passes in comparison to 83.6%.
With two assists and one key pass per game, figures better off than Parker's one assist and 0.9 key passes, it's clear to see that Sandro is the stronger of the two midfielders in the desired position, offering the threat that Villas-Boas demands of his players.
However, Spurs' loss percentage drops to 18% in the games Parker has begun from the off in comparison to the 27% of Sandro's starts, but as mentioned, the Brazilian was part of the team that lost four times in six appearances during the period in which Dembele played just 11 minutes, not to mention the opening day defeat to Newcastle United.
While the win percentage may be level when both players have started - 54% - the individual statistics indicate that Sandro is the stronger of the pairing, with the Brazilian performing his necessary defensive duties to a higher standard, not to mention the higher pass completion from the Spurs midfielder.