Aberdeen v Hearts is one of the standout fixtures on the opening card of Premiership fixtures.

Derek McInnes’ side go into the game off the back of a brilliant Europa League result, a 5-0 hammering of Chikhura Sachkhere at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen v Hearts is one of the weekend’s standout matches. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

Hearts, however, are under a bit of pressure to start the season well. After a poor League Cup group stage left many fans unsatisfied, Craig Levein knows that a good start is needed to get some supporters back on side.

There will be key individual battles all over the park. Here are three in particular that’ll help define the course of the Pittodrie clash.

Greg Leigh v Jamie Walker

Leigh is helping Aberdeen fans quickly forget about former left-back Max Lowe. Leigh’s performances in the Europa League have been assured defensively and equally exciting going forward.

Leigh’s been terrific so far. (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

His battle with Hearts’ Jamie Walker will be one key battle. The Jambo winger will be keen to make a good impression on his second league debut for the Tynecastle side.

Walker will be the hardest opponent Leigh has come up against so far. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.

Lewis Ferguson v Sean Clare

Clare has recently just transitioned into a central midfielder. In what will be his hardest challenge yet, his battle with Aberdeen’s Ferguson could alter the outcome of this match.

Clare’s a midfielder now. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The Dons midfielder is a bundle of energy, a nightmare to play against if he is on form.

Hearts midfielder Clare will have to match everything his counterpart does. Failure to stop Ferguson going forward will lead to Aberdeen creating plenty of chances for their in form attack.

If he can’t get by Ferguson going the other way though, the Jambos’ misfiring strike force will be starved of service they desperately need. This clash could be one of significance to the game as a whole.

Sam Cosgrove v Craig Halkett

The blockbuster clash, Aberdeen and Hearts’ two top scorers will likely lock horns with each other in the Granite City.

A tantalising battle between Cosgrove and Halkett awaits fans and neutrals alike. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

Fresh off the back of a hat-trick and six goals in four games, nothing seems to be able to stop Cosgrove at the moment. His maroon opponent Halkett will be keen to prove that the Dons frontman can be halted.

Halkett’s been doing his fair share of work up front too, netting twice in three League Cup games from centre-back. The pair are their respective side’s in form players right now.

Their clash will be one both fans and neutrals will be intrigued to watch.

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