Arsenal's Francis Coquelin sets season record in impressive weekend display

Arsenal V Spurs

Francis Coquelin proved a standout performer for Arsenal, despite his side's weekend defeat to North London rivals Tottenham.

Tottenham Hotspur moved above Arsenal in the table courtesy of a 2-1 victory over their local rivals in the North London derby at White Hart Lane. Mesut Ozil gave the visitors a lead after 11 minutes, but a Harry Kane brace in the second half secured the points for the hosts as they moved temporarily into the top four.

The Gunners may have found themselves overrun for much of the match, but the relatively inexperienced Francis Coquelin proved a resolute force in the centre of the park. The Frenchman has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence this season - having made six league starts to date - epitomised by his signing of a new long-term contract with the club. 

  TouchesTotal PassesPass Accuracy (%)Ball RecoveryInterceptionTotal ClearanceBlocksTacklesMins Played
Francis Coquelin 56 31 77 13 8 2 1 3 89

In a defensive capacity, the 23-year-old recorded a match-best nine interceptions - no player has made more interceptions in a Premier League match this season - highlighting his ability to read the game. Meanwhile, he weighed in with four tackles, three clearances and one block, to round off an impressive showing. 

Nonetheless, Coquelin will have disappointed somewhat in possession; an area he quickly needs to improve in order to establish himself as a regular top-flight fixture. He found himself shackled to his defensive duties, and despite attempting the fifth-most passes of any Arsenal player, his distribution left plenty to be desired.  

It well known that Wenger's past teams have staked tremendous pride in their ability to shift control of the ball with maximum efficiency. Having completed just 78.1% of his attempts to find a team-mate, Coquelin's accuracy rate was well below that of the average Premier League midfielder (84%), and far off the standard required at the Emirates (87%). 

That said, it was an impressive display from the youngster, who spent the majority of the afternoon under the cosh, before his removal in the 89th minute. He provided excellent defensive protection for those behind him and a times he even seemed to be enjoying the physical battle up against Moussa Dembele.

He looks a key defensive asset for the Gunners, but needs to improve his game going forward. 

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