Arsenal take a trip to the North East this weekend in order to take on Newcastle United in a Premier League encounter which will see defensive midfielders Vurnon Anita and Francis Coquelin go head to head.
Steve McClaren has yet to taste Premier League victory as Newcastle head coach, but the signs are encouraging following their 0-0 draw away at Manchester United last weekend.
The Magpies have a tough encounter at St. James’ Park with Arsenal, especially considering that the Gunners will be keen to bounce back after a fairly sluggish start to the season with just four points claimed.
As both sides will look to break with pace and attack through the middle, Vurnon and Coquelin will have a key job to do on Saturday and we take a look to see how they have fared so far this season.
|Tackles per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Interceptions per Game||Aerial Winners per Game||Def Duel Winners per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Coquelin has made the bigger impact this season as he outshines his opposite defensive midfielder in as many as five key areas
The former Charlton Athletic loan star has averaged more tackles, aerial duel winners, defensive duel winners, ball recoveries and accurate passes per Premier League encounter.
There are still doubts over whether Coquelin is strong enough to help his side challenge for the Premier League title, but his contribution to the side is evident and there aren’t many better who do what he does.
Anita, likewise, is a key cog for the Magpies and the protection he offers the back four is vital, as proven by his excellent performance at Old Trafford last weekend.
The duo will face plenty of challenges on Saturday and their importance should not be underestimated as they will be tasked with stopping the attacking talents of Giorginio Wijnaldum and Alexis Sanchez.