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Stats: Skrtel, Mertesacker or Koscielny - A surprise winner?

Martin Skrtel

During a season in which serious questions have been asked of Liverpool's back four, Martin Skrtel has bucked the trend, impressing in several key areas...

So much so, in fact, that the Slovakian centre-back has even out-performed rival duo Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny over five key areas.

The Arsenal defenders have no doubt formed a highly effective partnership this season but, when individual Opta stats from Premier League games are examined, Skrtel proves a surprise winner out of the three.

NameTeamPosWon Tackle / appsTotal Clearance / appsInterception / appsAerial Won / appsAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 0.86 11.45 1.82 3.36 22 1,962
Per Mertesacker Arsenal DF 1.09 6.45 1.73 3.00 22 1,980
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal DF 1.52 6.90 2.95 1.33 21 1,819

Indeed, if we look at four main aspects of defensive duty, the Liverpool centre-back comes out on top in two of them, absolute blitzing Mertesacker & Koscielny in the clearances per match department, while also winning more aerial duels than the Gunners defenders.

Where the 29-year-old does not shine, though, is in the tackles won department, in which Frenchman Koscielny proves a clear winner out of the three. The Arsenal man also makes a whole interception more per game on average than the other two.

That makes it 2-2 after four. Let's go to the decider...

NameTeamPosDuel Won / appsAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 5.14 22 1,962
Per Mertesacker Arsenal DF 4.91 22 1,980
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal DF 3.71 21 1,819

Although a number of different areas could be considered here, if we are to take the overall duels won by the trio - as can be seen, they have almost played an identical number of times in the league this season - Skrtel once again comes on top by some distance.

Indeed, wherever Mertesacker excels and outperforms Koscielny, Skrtel simply proves more effective.

Unfortunately for the Reds, though, it takes two to tango and the 29-year-old has largely been let down by inconsistent performances from the likes of Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure. While neither of the three defenders have particularly struggled, they have proved far less able than their Slovakian team-mate over the course of the campaign.

But, on his own merits, Skrtel has certainly proved his worth so far this season. Now comes one of his biggest tests: Arsenal at Anfield.

Have you been impressed by Skrtel's performances this season?

image: © etyek

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