London-based duo Nemanja Matic and Francis Coquelin were both in action on Saturday – but which player comes out on top as HITC’s top London-based defensive midfielder?
According to the table provided by Opta Stats, both players were in excellent form as they helped their respective teams to stunning away victories.
Premier League leaders Chelsea travelled to Wales to take on Swansea looking to put an end to a rather disappointing run of form on their travels – winning just two of their previous seven away games.
The Blues were utterly ruthless as they put Gary Monk’s side to the sword, crushing the hosts 5-0 with goals from Diego Costa, Oscar and Andre Schurrle.
While they were brilliant as an attacking force, Matic was once again a rock in the middle of the park for the West Londoners, contributing five interceptions and eight ball recoveries.
|Tackles Won||Interceptions Won||Effective Clearances||Ball Recoveries||Touches||Accurate Passes||Lost Possession||Fouls||Mins Played|
Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin was perhaps a surprise inclusion for his side’s trip to Manchester City, but whatever Arsene Wenger’s thoughts were pre-match the selection certainly paid off.
The 23-year-old was absolutely magnificent, sitting in front of the back four and offering the necessary pressure and protection as the Gunners pulled off the best result of their season, winning 2-0.
Coquelin completed two tackles, six interceptions, ten ball recoveries and a whopping 11 effective clearances in a defensive performance worthy of being branded as perfection.
In possession, Serbian ace Matic provided the perfect balancing act and was composed throughout, taking 80 touches, making 66 accurate passes and losing possession just five times over the 90 minutes.
Coquelin, in contrast, naturally found possession harder to come by at the Etihad stadium and made just half as many accurate passes, while also handing the ball over on seven occasions.
However, the former Charlton Athletic loanee surprised many with his resilience and top professionalism, committing zero fouls in the entire match which is an achievement in itself.
Both players were key contributors to their respective teams’ victories, but the performance of the weekend belongs to Wenger’s side and in particular their unheralded defensive star.