Vertonghen v Koscielny: Comparing the defenders' derby performances

We take a closer look at the Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal centre-backs' contributions at the weekend.

Jan Vertonghen v Laurent Koscielny: Head to Head: Comparing the Spurs and Arsenal defenders' derby performances: 20150209


Tottenham Hotspur fans will be celebrating their latest success in the North London derby for some time to come, while Arsenal supporters will be looking ahead to the Gunners’ upcoming match against Leicester.

But while both sides have midweek games to prepare for, Saturday’s encounter is one that should be reflected upon for more than just Mesut Ozil’s opener and Harry Kane’s second-half brace.

Both sides impressed in defensive areas, with Tottenham ensuring Arsenal had just seven goal attempts and only three on target, and the Gunners holding firm – for a while at least – in the face of an onslaught.

Surely that is the only way to label it when Mauricio Pochettino’s side had 23 goal attempts (eight of which were on target).

While Kane took the headlines, here we take a look at two players at the opposite end of the pitch, in the form of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and Spurs centre-back Jan Vertonghen.

As you can see from the statistics above, there was not a great deal to choose between the two players on Saturday.

Vertonghen had a considerably better passing accuracy – 88 per cent compared with Koscielny’s 74 per cent – while the Tottenham player also won more duels, more interceptions and more tackles.

But the Arsenal defender came out on top in terms of outfield blocks and effective clearances, which is no surprise when you consider the amount of times Spurs threatened their opponents’ goal.

The two players were level when it came to effective headed clearances and aerial battles but while Nacho Monreal was the stand-out Arsenal defender, Koscielny played his part.

Ultimately it was not enough and Vertonghen had the last laugh…or at least the latest laugh. But it will be interesting to see if this is the start of a new dawn at White Hart Lane given the squad at Pochettino's disposal.

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