It’s a widely accepted opinion that Arsenal are short of a quality defensive midfielder to complete a highly talented side.
Arsene Wenger has had several of those, such as Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, in his successful sides over the years, and they have been linked with several potential signings in the summer as a means of bringing that type of player back into the team.
While youngster Francis Coquelin has stepped up this season and performed much better than anyone expected, he is not yet firmly established as the top quality defensive lynchpin that the Gunners need.
Two such players that could be that man are Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. We decided to compare their stats this season to see which of the two Arsenal should really target.
Using WhoScored for the stats, it seems the Southampton man is the clear winner.
The Frenchman has a better defensive score than the Spaniard, 7.46 compared to 6.59, registering more tackles per game, 3.6 to 1.4, and a better interception rate as well, 2.6 to 1.4
He also wins on the possession front as well. Schneiderlin has a higher number of passes per game, 62 to 31.6, while he has also produced more key passes per game as well, 0.8 to 0.3. One area Illarramendi does come out on top is the passing success rate, with a score of 92.8% compared to the Frenchman’s 89.5%.
In this head to head then, it seems Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin comes out on top. Whether his club would be willing to sell him, especially after last season’s summer of sales, remains to be seen.