Arsenal host Liverpool in arguably the most fascinating Premier League clash of the weekend, as both teams eye three points and a massive boost in their respective top-four push.
The Gunners head in to the encounter having won 11 of their last 13 league matches, including eight victories in a row at the Emirates Stadium.
The Reds, on the other hand, tasted their first league defeat in over three months in their last outing against Manchester United, a Juan Mata double securing the Red Devils a 2-1 victory.
It promises to be an exciting match in the early kick-off in North London, and two players in particular could have a big say on the result as we look at this potential key battle.
Francis Coquelin v Joe Allen
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Def Duels Won per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Touches per Game||Pass Success % per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Arsenal’s defensive midfielder heads in to the cash with a clear better record than his Liverpool counterpart so far this season, triumphing in as many as seven key areas.
The French star has been one of the biggest successes of 2015 so far, and his introduction in to Arsene Wenger’s midfield has coincided with his side’s huge on-field improvements.
Coquelin has averaged 2.93 tackles, 3.13 interceptions, 8.8 defensive duel winners and 7.87 ball recoveries per league encounter this campaign among many other impressive attributes.
Allen, a former Swansea City idol, has often played the unassuming role in Brendan Rodgers’s midfield, but his presence is just as important as the team’s more recognisable flair players.
Defensively, he has plenty of responsibility and gets the job done. However, other than producing more average passes per match, he comes out as a distant second to Coquelin in every other key category.
The Gunners ace’s progress this season has been startling, especially considering he struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot while on loan with Championship outfit Charlton Athletic.
However, the Reds’ fabulous attacking qualities and blistering pace will arguably pose a threat he has yet to face this year, and it will be interesting to see how he stands up to the test.