If two months ago, any Arsenal fan was to say that Francis Coquelin would turn out to be one of our most influential players of 2015, you’d be easily laughed off the internet.
Just two months ago, the French defensive midfielder was playing Championship football at a struggling Charlton Athletic side. But following the injuries of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta, there suddenly stood a chance for the 23 year old to step up.
Coquelin’s success stemmed from his performance in the 2-0 win over Manchester City in January, and since then its been a consistent showing of impressive performances.
His latest job was to block out this afternoons pressing Newcastle side, and the stats are there to back up what has been another influential showing at the core of Arsenals defence.
WhoScored Rating: 7.61
Although you would be reluctant to think Coquelin didn’t put out a stellar performance by simply looking at his player rating, the Frenchman did exactly what he had to do in the full 90 minutes that he did play today.
In the seven key tackles he made, Coquelin achieved six of them, giving him a success rate of 86%, and putting him as the second highest tackler of the game, closely behind Callum Chambers.
Those stats are something that can’t be looked past when you consider the amount of games the midfielder has played recently, with Wenger referring after the game to how fatigue played a key part in the breakdown of the Gunners.
Arsenal’s play was dictated just in front of the defence, which is shown in the fact Coquelin and Ramsey created 115 passes between them. 46 of those passes from Coquelin were accurate and influential, with him racking up a success rate of 82%.
The constant pressure from Newcastle was intensive in the second half, and so the way Coquelin clearly controlled the play is impressive for the man who came through the Arsenal academy.
If you’re still not convinced he put in a good show today, the 23 year-old successfully achieved 100% of his aerial duels made, a stat that will be key to when we play the likes of Liverpool in a few weeks time.
The only doubt that can be seen in this position at the moment is how and where does captain Mikel Arteta fit into the picture. Coquelin has revived a position that was at most threat at the beginning of the season, and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arteta spending some time on the bench when he returns from injury in three weeks time.