Comparing the best defensive midfielders from Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Manchester United

Coquelin V Matic Oulala

Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin has made more tackles and interceptions than Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Chelsea and Manchester United rivals since March.

Arsenal head in to their encounter with Premier League leaders Chelsea in wonderful form with a number of key players at the top of their game.

Attacking quartet Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla have all been irresistible of late and have earned widespread praise with a number of mesmerising performances.

Yet, one player who has often been left out of the limelight is the Premier League’s best defensive midfielder since March – Frenchman Francis Coquelin.

The former Charlton Athletic midfielder has been an absolute revelation since the turn of the year, and his inclusion in the Gunners’ first-team XI has coincided with their title-winning form.

  Tackles per GameInterceptions per GameAerial Winners per GameDef Duel Winners per GameBall Recoveries per GameTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameAppearances
Francis Coquelin 3.83 4.17 2 8 9.5 74 45.17 6
Alexandre Song 2.2 1.6 0.8 8 10.4 56 28.6 5
Nemanja Matic 1.8 1 4.2 8 9 68.4 42.2 5
Nabil Bentaleb 1.71 2.43 2.29 6.29 7.57 75.14 53.14 7
Michael Carrick 0.2 2.2 0.6 2.2 5.2 59.8 46.8 5

Since spring began, the aforementioned players have been the Premier League’s outstanding defensive midfield stars, and each has dominated in one way or another.

Chelsea ace Nemanja Matic is widely regarded as the league’s best enforcer as he continues to offer balance and protection in the Blues’ midfield with minimal fuss.

Manchester United’s superb recent form has also coincided with the introduction of a key underrated player – England international Michael Carrick.

The former Tottenham Hotspur star has been excellent of late, although his real forte is his distribution of the ball rather than the gritty side of a defensive midfielder’s job.

Former Gunner and now on-loan West Ham United star Alex Song has been excellent for the Hammers this season, averaging the most ball recoveries in the league over the past eight weeks.

SpursNabil Bentaleb has also been one of the league’s most impressive deep-lying midfielders of late, recording more touches and accurate passes than his colleagues.

However, as per the table provided by Opta Stats, Coquelin has outperformed them all with a number of performances of the highest quality, adding both steel and class in Arsene Wenger’s midfield.

The 23-year-old comes out on top in the average number of tackles and interceptions while also posting impressive numbers in ball recoveries, defensive duel winners and accurate passes.

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