74 touches, 15 ball recoveries: Arsenal star proving Jamie Carragher wrong

Francis Coquelin

Arsenal star Francis Coquelin was excellent once again in the defensive midfield role.

Arsenal defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin boosted his bourgeoning reputation with another fine performance as the Gunners defeated Aston Villa 5-0.

The Gunners entered the match in good form and high on confidence following their excellent 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium a fortnight ago.

Aston Villa weren’t expected to cause the hosts too many problems and Arsene Wenger’s men restrained from becoming complacent, resulting in a dominant performance throughout.

Goals from Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin wrapped up the thrashing, but another fine display by Coquelin was arguably the most pleasing aspect for Wenger.

  TouchesAccurate PassesTackles WonInterceptions WonEffective ClearancesBall RecoveriesMins Played
Francis Coquelin 74 50 3 5 1 15 90

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the 23-year-old was involved throughout and provided aggression and pressure out of possession which had been previously lacking.

Over the 90 minutes, he seized control of the middle third and recorded 74 touches and 50 accurate passes with an overall success rate of 92.6% - the highest of any player out there.

From a defensive perspective, he protected the back four with assurance and calm, making three tackles, five interceptions and a whopping 15 ball recoveries.

In spite of his excellent performance at the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports that Coquelin doesn’t solve their midfield problem.

“Coquelin played really well against Manchester City. But if we're talking about Arsenal getting to where they want to be, they still have address that position in the summer, no question,” he explained.

However, there is no denying that the Frenchman’s inclusion in the XI has coincided with an upturn in performance and the Gunners appear stronger as a result.

The victory for the Emirates outfit takes moves them level on points with fourth-placed Southampton and in prime position to move back into the top four.

Next up in the league is the short trip to North London rivals Spurs, where they will be counting on Coquelin to put in another fine defensive display in order to gain the bragging rights for this season.

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