Arsenal host Premier League rivals Liverpool on Monday in a game which will see dominant centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Martin Skrtel go head to head.
The duo have long been the most consistent defenders at their respective clubs and both possess a number of key talents such as determination, leadership and solidarity.
On Monday, they will be tasked with keeping an array of attacking talent, such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Philippe Coutinho and Christian Benteke, at bay in what should be a classic encounter.
Ahead of the clash, we take a look at how the two have fared in comparison throughout 2015 so far.
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Def Duels Won per Game||Aerial Winners per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the duo excel in different areas of the defensive game, with their contrasting styles illustrated clearly above.
Liverpool’s Slovakia international averages more tackles, effective clearances and accurate passes per Premier League fixture – the latter demonstrating Skrtel’s ease with the ball at his feet.
The Reds will look to play the ball out from the back regardless of who their opponent is, therefore it’s crucial to have defenders who are equally comfortable distributing the ball as winning it back.
Koscielny, on the other hand, averages more interceptions, defensive duel winners, aerial duel winners and ball recoveries per match, and some may suggest that he’s arguably the more technical of the two.
The France international was sorely missed through injury during a disrupted 2014/15 campaign, and his return evidently coincided with the club’s better 2015 defensive record.
The aforementioned statistics are unlikely to count for much on Monday, but they do show the importance of both defenders and how much they give to their respective teams.