Arsenal face Everton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday in an interesting match-up which will see defensive midfielders Francis Coquelin and Gareth Barry take centre stage.
Since the beginning of 2015, Coquelin’s presence in the Arsenal starting line-up has coincided with their huge improvements, and he has become a central figure to their style of play.
The French star gives the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez the freedom to bomb on in the final third, all the while knowing that the defence is being well protected through the middle.
On Saturday, his ability will be put to the test against a tricky Everton team who boast plenty of talent, such as Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, covered by the experienced Gareth Barry.
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Duel Winners per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As illustrated by the table provided by Opta Stats above, Coquelin and Barry undertake such an important role for their respective teams, though one performs slightly better than the other.
As shown, Coquelin outshines his upcoming opponent in five key areas, averaging more tackles, interceptions, defensive duel winners and ball recoveries per Premier League match.
Furthermore, the former Charlton Athletic loan star posts slightly more passes per encounter, although the figures are very similar, likewise with the number of touches.
Barry may have the edge in terms of leadership skills and influence, and Everton boss Roberto Martinez will be hoping his veteran midfielder shows his very best against a rampant Arsenal side.
The Gunners head into the encounter buoyed by their Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in midweek.