Francis Coquelin rivals Chelsea's Nemanja Matic in key defensive area

Arsenal's Francis Coquelin has been recording some impressive statistics since his promotion to the Arsenal starting-eleven.

As the general consensus suggests, 23-year-old Francis Coquelin has been excellent for Arsenal since being given his chance to star in the Gunners' first-team.

Since his ascendancy to the Arsenal first team, Coquelin's performances have become renowned the for dogged-defensive work-rate that he displays. In truth, he has been a welcome relief to a star-studded midfield that had previously been criticized for a lack of bite.

 Defensive Statistics (per game) Mathieu FlaminiMesut ÖzilTomas RosickyAlex Oxlade-ChamberlainAaron RamseySantiago CazorlaFrancis Coquelin
Ball Recovery 1.67 2.33 3.2 5 6 8 9.83
Tackles 0.67 0.33 0.6 1 1.67 1.67 3.17
Interceptions 1 0.33 0.8 1.25 1.33 1.17 4.83
Clearances 2.33 0.33 0.4 0.5 1.67 0.67 3.5
Block 0 0 0 0 0.33 0.17 0.5
Aerial Won 0 0 0.4 0.25 1 0 3.33
Appearances 3 3 5 4 3 6 6

When comparisons are made to his midfield team-mates, it's clear to see just how much of an impact his arrival has made. He has made significantly more tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks, while also winning the highest number of aerial duels.

When it comes down to measuring the number of times he has recovered possession for his club, Coquelin compares very favourably to Nemanja Matic of Chelsea - widely regarded as the best defensive midfielder in the league - along with a host of other experienced defensive-minded players.

  PositionTeamBall RecoveryAppearancesMins Played
James McArthur MF C. Palace 68 6 539
Nemanja Matic MF Chelsea 60 6 540
Jason Puncheon MF C. Palace 60 6 540
Francis Coquelin MF Arsenal 59 6 539
Steven Davis MF Southampton 53 6 517

Since his first start of the season - 28th December 2014 - in which he completed a full ninety-minutes, the Frenchman has won back the ball an impressive 59 occasions; a total only bettered by Crystal Palace's James McArthur (68), Nemanja Matic and Jason Puncheon (60), across the English top flight. 

It's no coincidence that Francis Coquelin's run in the first team has seen a dramatic upturn in form for the North London outfit. The club's weekend defeat to rivals Spurs may have left a sour taste in the Arsenal supporter's mouths, but the Frenchman was easily one of his side's top performers.

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