63 touches, 92.7% pass success: Arsenal's Francis Coquelin shines in debut final

Francis Coquelin

Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin had a superb game in the FA Cup final.

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin put in another wonderful performance as he breezed through his debut final during the Gunners’ 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Aston Villa.

The French midfielder has had an unbelievable season, starting the campaign on loan at Charlton Athletic before returning to North London as cover amid an injury crisis.

Coquelin was soon handed his chance by boss Arsene Wenger, and the talented defensive midfielder grabbed it with both hands as he quickly established as a first-team regular.

His presence has coincided with the Gunners fabulous 2015 form, and facing the pressure of his first career final he put on another defensive masterclass to the delight of the Arsenal fans at Wembley.

  TacklesInterceptionsAerial Duel WinnersTouchesPass Success %Accurate Long PassesTake-onsMins Played
Francis Coquelin 2 2 2 63 92.7% 7 3 90

As per the table above, the 23-year-old was calmness personified as he shielded the defence from the Villa counterattacks and instigated his side’s own forays forward alongside the impressive Santi Cazorla.

He took as many as 63 touches, and kept possession well by accurately distributing 92.7% of his intended passes – his team’s second-best behind Spanish international Cazorla.

Defensively, Coquelin recorded two tackles, two interceptions, two aerial battles and played himself out of trouble by completing a rather surprising three successful dribbles.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud handed Wenger’s side the trophy but it was a real team effort as they restricted Villa to just two efforts in goal over the 90 minutes.

Plenty of talk has been about the need of a new defensive midfielder at the Emirates, but considering Coquelin’s form over the past six months it would take a hefty fee to find anyone better.

Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic has often been labelled the Premier League’s best midfield enforcer by pundits and observers alike, but the Serbian international now has a worthy competitor to that high-status title.

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