Stats show what Coquelin must do to secure Arsenal place

Francis Coquelin has really surprised us and started to show why Arsene Wenger was right to have faith in him and keep him at the club, despite having to send the young Frenchman off on various loan moves just to get a game. But the bad luck that hit the Gunners with a string of injury problems was certainly good luck for Coquelin.

However, while the versatile player has begun to set down a marker for that problematic deep lying midfield role, it is still early days. And a lot of us are still hoping that the manager brings in a top class signing like Schneiderlin or one of the Bender brothers from the Bundesliga, either this month or in the summer.

Also, we know that Wenger has not really agreed with our need for a tough tackling defensive midfielder, as proved by his use of Mikel Arteta in the role. He even admitted that bringing Flamini back was not in his plans but the former Gunner convinced him while training with the squad.

Hopefully the effect Coquelin has had recently, especially away to Man City, will have convinced the boss that we do need that sort of player, but it is also clear that Coquelin could do himself, and the club, a massive favour by developing the passing and possession side of his game, as the stats on show.

I did this comparison between the three Arsenal players and included Matic from Chelsea and Schneiderlin from Southampton to give us a better overall view and it becomes obvious where Coquelin falls behind. His possession score is by far the lowest of the five, with Arteta easily in the lead.

When you break this down a bit though, Coquelin’s passing accuracy of 84 percent may be 10 points behind Arteta’s but is only three off Matic and five off Schneiderlin. The same is true of chances created but when you look at key passes per game, he is a bit better than the other Gunners.

Coquelin absolutely rules the defence stats, but if he could just take a little better care of the ball, I think it would be the making of him with Arsenal. Do you think he needs to or should he continue to focus on what he has been doing?

Tags Arteta Flamini Wenger


  1. So far, le coq has been nothing short of awesome! He was amazing against man city, and has showed maturity! He stepped up for the arsenal cause, and i think he has definitely earned a secured spot on the team! Coyg!

    1. If Coquelin keeps the form he has shown then I am a lot more relaxed about CDM signings than I was a month ago. Cue the thumbs down but I genuinely think that FC and MA could form a very decent holding duo in the bigger games. No need for them both in less pressurised or less difficult games – just the sterner tests we get. Arteta remains one of our best, if not the best, possession player we have, good technique, calm head and very professional. This mixed with the younger legs and greater physicality of Coquelin would do well IMO. Assuming Arteta can get fit again, then realistically I see Wenger extending his contract on a yearly basis until time is called and a worldie is picked up in a summer transfer window. Sadly, looks like Diaby will finally have to give up any ideas he may of had of having a worthwhile career with us and it is not outside the realms of possibility that Flamini will leave soon.

      What interests me is Bielik. I had assumed without thinking too much about it that he would be farmed out to the junior squads for a couple of years, then maybe some loan time to get the experience. But I was gobsmacked when I heard Wenger talking in terms that suggests that is not the plan – to casually confirm (as if anyone in the world was expecting him to feature!) that Bielik was not ready for the Brighton game and needed to get fit was not the line I expected. I was waiting for one of those Gallic shrugs and throwaway lines to the effect that he was “just a boy” and “he is one for the future”. Perhaps I read too much in to it. Perhaps he has seen something special in the boy and we know he won’t be scared to play him because of his age.

      OT slightly, have you guys had a look at Odengard? That is one special player and only 16 to boot.

      1. Sorry can’t agree with you.
        Arteta is done, slow, his legs have gone and the only time he is ok on the pitch now is against low table teams.

        Coquelin and Sanchez have shown this team that they need to stop feeling sorry for themselves, grow a pair and fight!
        Let’s not move backward to Arteta and Flamini, they are both the past, forge forward with new and exciting players.

        1. No need to apologise. If you look at Arteta and all you can see is a “slow” player then fair play. And if you think Arteta in a holding role with FC is all about speed then kudos also. You do have to feel sorry for all those players in history with no pace who never quite made it.

  2. hes been a revelation no doubt about that….and in some quarters it even made some people forget that we need proper back up in the position.

    its a fact we have an injury bug for years now and if we don’t have proper back up for that spot , an injury to Coq will set us back once again. But so far hes done well

  3. Oh please, how much more does this boy need to prove his worth??

    Just another proof how fickle and hypocritical (arsenal) fans can be. We have here our own product, who not only does the job required but does it even better then Schneiderlins and Matics of this world. But no, the jury is still on till the end of the season despite him being one of our top players every week, whilst everyone shouting out any foreign name that sounds fashionable or fantasizing about some box2box players like Kheidira, Schneiderlin, VIEIRA, only to prove a lack of footballing knowledge.

    The point is – Coquelin is basically our own product, does the job perfectly and who cares if he misplaces a pass here and there. I rather have that than a highway towards our goal.

    1. You have just said it all. I hate it when fans can’t see quality right in front of them. For the past few weeks, I have only made comments about how good Lecoq is. I think the fact that many people are looking for a big name signing makes them forget that he could be and might be better than whoever we intended in bringing in. Leagues and teams are different and in my opinion, getting another top DM should be to provide more options/cover but not to say Lecoq ain’t good enough (he’s a beast at his current form). Same thing as continuing Carzola in his current role and making Ozil work for it.

  4. Le Coq has been great so far and I hope he can continue developing.

    Key do been successful at Arsenal or any other club is consistency, hard work, team player, and AVOID injuries.

    If Wenger could sign another DM who could go straight into the team then we can have a good cover for that position with new DM / Le Coq/ and Bielik. Its time Flamini/ Diaby/ potentially Arteta to say goodbye and pave way for new recruits.

  5. We all are proud that Coquelin has performed so well. He deserves the plaudits he is receiving. However I think, this is also a vindication to all those who insisted a proper DM who would focus more on defense rather than attack. Now we are more balanced and fluid in our play.

    Plus Sanchez has definitely made other Arsenal players improve their overall game. I am sure of it. He must have been putting them to shame in practice 😀

  6. If we sign Paulista, a Wenger has got to realise we must sign a top class defensive midfielder in the summer, I’d personally get rid of Arteta and Flamini and let Diaby’s contract run down, get rid of them because they’re deadwood and have Coquelin and a new top DM battling it out for a place and then have Bielik coming through.

    1. consult Squawka before making pointless rants. Flamini and Arteta fare better than the DMs you want in defensive and duels stats.

      1. That’s because they play for Arsenal and Arsenal midfield & defence have a lot of the ball. We have also been poor at holding teams further up the pitch.. ie a lot of manic defensive challenging and work rate needed. And also Flamini and Arteta have played a lot more this season & last season. The beauty of the top players is the off the ball influence they have whether it be to your own team i.e Super Sanchez or influence like Keane, Vieira or Yar ya.

        1. These statistics are calculated in relative terms so I do not get your point. You face 5 balls and do well in four balls that is 80%. You face 50 balls you do well in 30 balls that is 60%. That is what I mean when I say relative terms in case you do not know.

          1. 80% of simple two touch football is an example of how you could easily improve your stats.. the effectiveness of your individual play is not a stat its a natural instinct players have in the game
            .. small things make the difference in football not how long you run for or kick the ball.. not that these aren’t good trates to have

  7. The stats are a bit pointless.

    First of all a great passer isn’t a DM. A physically powerful good passer would be used for his passing first. So it is pointless saying he should improve that because that is not his area of expertise.

    Secondly, no point in comparing him to Matic. Last weekend was quite literally the first time in a decade when Arsenal intended to actually play like that. In that situation controlled passing is possible. However, usually when arsenal sit deep it has been panicked situations therefore Coquelin couldn’t have been expected to pass his way out of trouble because unlike last week there usually hasn’t been an outlet.

  8. Statistics can easily become useless and misleading when not properly used. Squawka has a range of statistics for every player, but not every statistic is important for a player. For instance if you apply goalkeeping statistics to an in field player he we appear worse than a conference goalkeeper. Francis is a defensive midfielder so you expect defence related statistics to be more relevant when evaluating him in relation to players playing the same position. It therefore means that duels, defence, and discipline statistics are more important to Francis than any other statistics.

    When Francis is compared against those four players on duels, defence, and discipline he is far ahead of the four, particularly Matic and Schineiderlin. Because people here have been brain washed into believing that Matic is the best defensive midfielder in the EPL they want to bring in other stats that are less important to the DM position. The other fact that bemuse those that despise Arteta and Flamini is that Matic and Schneiderlin are far worse that the former on relevant statistics, with Flamini outshining the three on defence and duels statistics. This pisses the majority here because they would not want facts to go on the way of their imaginary script that Flamini and Arteta are rubbish while Matic and Schneiderlin are angels in DM.

    Coming back to Francis issue, so far so good he is better than anyone playing in that position. Matic started having rave reviews after playing one game against Man United. Francis has played seven games so whats wrong with giving him the accolades he deserve? Having said this, his high scores could be down to the fact that data relating to him is a third of data relating to Flamini, Matic, and Schneiderlin. One may argue that not enough time has passed to cover sterler and below par performances. It could be that Francis has started on a high, so like any other player he would have his lows that will pull down the scores. But if he had started on a low people would be using those stats to bash him and call him not fit to wear the Arsenal Jersey.

    The best thing the writer of this article has done is to point us to facts that show that Matic and Schneiderlin are not what the pundits and FIFA football managers tell us. They are just average players and no better than Flamini and Arteta, unless there are some stats which are not being shown by Squawka. The Squawka stats should therefore put to rest the claims that we want a Matci type player, we want Schneiderlin, Flamini is not that and this.

    1. Good post. I agree with nearly all of of it but a couple of points.

      You are right re: stats. We like to look at them, and the clubs no doubt look at them but I imagine they apply more thought and sophistication than the average punter before they draw any firm conclusions. Defence stats are the dodgiest of the lot in my opinion. The worse your team the more defending you will be doing so in a simple numbers games you will have impressive stats, especially if people start looking at total numbers of these events rather than success percentages. I imagine there are conference players in low possession sides with way more tackles, clearances, interceptions etc than any world class defender you might want to look at. I noticed a few flagging up Winston Reid’s stats recently “showing” how superior he was to Mertesacker. The same stats suggested he was also better than Kos, Kompany and Cahill but that was glossed over. By way of another example, I have no problem with Schniederlin as a player or possible AFC player, would be delighted. Not so keen on Wanyama. But you would have to say that their stats must be slightly skewed by virtue of the fact they have each other in a very cautious 2 CDM set-up. I reckon the numbers would dip if they played alone in a different set-up.

      I think Arteta is the one who has been undervalued the most – a lot of our better games and runs of form have come with Arteta at the base of the midfield (forget the away slaughters last year – that was a team issue pure and simple and could never be laid at the door of a single player). I can’t get so enthusiastic about MF though – he could do a back-up job in a low-key game but from my vantage point FC has shown more of everything needed in that position than FC ever has. I haven’t got a problem with MF’s attitude and application I just don’t think he is much of a footballer.

      1. Absolutely spot on mate. Completely agree.

        Coquelin=lots of potential (what I hope to see now is consistency. He’s already proved the rest)
        Flamini = unconvincing

  9. What people have been saying sometimes I can’t fashion it. It must not always be a big name player or a high profile player..I hear people saying let coquelin be a backup to a new cdm and I can’t help but laugh.CDM is a position based on discipline, if u watch coquelin’s game closely u will see a bit of mascherano in him. He is not the tallest nor the bigest but one thing is for sure he doesn’t get intimidated. I have always rated him right from day one. He is the only player in arsenal team who doesn’t mind staying back lnstead of bombarding forward all the time..even martin keown said so in an interview. If u Watch the city game again you could see he hardly made it past our half always in position to tackle,intercept he made life difficult for silva and he made it easy for koscielny to handle aguero..and again is it just me or that monreal is a total diff player now and when u talk about discipline monreal is up there. Never out of position unlike gibbs who for some reason doesn’t know how to play in big games. But he is a gud player though. I think the players are hungry and that is what a fit squad does. I tell you what now that gnabry is back with walcot well chamberlain who I think has done his part will find it difficult why because 1: for all his workrate and dribbling skills he is short of end product which the other two I mentioned is by far better. Walcot will give u goals and assist same with gnabry but more or less same with chamberlain. All in all am happy my gonners are getting better and better. I say paulister,reid or whomever wenger should get him done because soon we will need all the dept because Uefa champions league is around the corner and I can see us going far.very optimistic. COYG #londonisred#

    1. Why have you got to slate gibbs just because monreal is playing well now..Gibbs has been brilliant and is younger than Monreal..What is it with fans that have to slate a player just because someone in the same position has had a good run of games can’t we just say we have 2 solid LB..just like Wilshere ramsey..Ramsey starts scoring and then wilshere becomes hated I don’t get it they play for the same team

      1. Agree 100% but there is a bit more to the whole Wilshere thing than merely Ramsey going on a run of form. Whereas Ramsey has shown us prolonged and high-level runs of form JW has not provided anything other than a few sporadic glimpses of his undeniable talent. I would say it is more about fan’s frustration than anything else.

  10. I think i would like to see sisoko in arsenal, flamini sold, coq nd sis, arteta is gonna go by next season, thanks fellas

  11. Honestly, I didn’t expect Coquelin to be as good as he has been. But I am extremely happy to be absolutely WRONG
    Coquelin has been awesome. This season he is one of my 5 favourite players (Sanchez, Koscielny, Coquelin, Cazorla and Ospina). Wenger must keep Coquelin as 1st DM and relegate Flamini to FA cup). Coquelin is far better than Flamini.

    I hope Wenger proves me wrong too and signs some more top quality players

  12. What’s all this talk about manure coming in to hijack the possible paulista deal?! I don’t understand him sometimes. He failed to capture a cb in the summer. We’ve been lucky to have done this well in the defensive department considering our injuries to key players, and no disrespect to the young guns that have come in to fill the void (I think they’ve done remarkably well) but they won’t be enough to carry us through the season.
    Wenger fudged up by not replacing Verm, it’s January, why the hell is he not clawing at this chance to put right the massive fudge up of last summer by signing a player HE has recognized.
    Fudging hell….wrap this up now!

  13. Possession Score???
    WTF relevance does that have to a DM?
    A DM breaks up attacks and passes the ball once he has it, he isn’t a battery hen that should be sitting on the ball.
    Seriously would you rather have Arteta holding the ball and doing nothing or Matic with 30% of Arteta’s possession score?

    Really if you are gonna compare stats, use one that has some relevance to a DM.

    1. But if you look at Matic stats on the defence aspect of the game he performs worse than Arteta, with a defence score of 2.1 to 1.11 of Matic.

    2. “Possession Score???
      WTF relevance does that have to a DM?”. Are trying to be funny?? Calm down and think before you start shouting.

      And don’t be a numpty, possession is not “holding the ball and doing nothing”. It reflects the fact that you are not prone to frequently giving the ball away in one of the most dangerous areas on the pitch. A DM who wins the ball and gives it away ain’t much use to anyone mate. Possession is totally relevant to a DM.

  14. The beauty of having Coquelin and Arteta is that you can tailor you tactics to the opponent with competent players and different skillsets. I am one for diversity and adaptability.

  15. Guys this is simple, sign a top DM…someone better than Coquelin then let them battle it out,if le Coq proves to be better then great, if not then again we covered…I’m really hoping Paulista is better than BFG cause then the only signing we will need is a top striker.

    1. I agree with the theory but if Coquelin maintains the form he has and starts to show consistency the problem will be identifying the player who is significantly “better than Coquelin”. There are players out there with far bigger reputations but I challenge anyone to convince anyone that one of these big names could have performed better than he has for the past half dozen games. I think we will know the answers by the end of the season. I think AFC can make a better decision in the summer transfer window and have better opportunities to bring in “that player” whoever he may be.

  16. At the moment no DM in the EPL you can compare to Coquelin so stop living in the fantacy world.Matic,Schneiderlin,Wanyama etc are all over rated and big names. What Coquelin does is what a natural DM should do: sitting right infront of the back4,making tackles,interceptions, clearances,starting quick counter attacks,descipline with the ball etc.Coquelin is all we have been praying for now that we have him some fans are still not satisfied.Talking about backup,Arteta can be good backup to Coquelin we don’t need another DM.

  17. OT: For the LB positon Monreal is playing far better than Gibbs this season.Gibbs seems to be lost in big games so for now I will go with Monreal let Gibbs fight for his place.

  18. Coquelin has been so far amazing, he’s our own player and has stepped up when needed in a role we have lacked of quality for so long(it is impossible to have a”perfect” game and 1-2 missed passes we can live with)!!That being said I’ll still wait until the end of the season…I really hope he can play at that high of a level with consistency week in week out and keep improving is overall game to reach another level: he’s young,as talent and lots of room to progress so I’m not concerned if he shows that until the end…big games ahead so let’s see Spurs, Man U, Monaco and Chelsea still on the calendar!!!As much as I would still like to get a star DM , a general in the middle…Coquelin should be given time until the end of the season he’s a genuine starter…

    1. Great match ups ahead for COQ…Flamini is out at the end of the season, Arteta is good but I suspect he’ll be a squad player next season a bit like Rosicky in this campaign more so if Wenger get what he wants/needs this summer; and looking at the amount we have spent the past 2 seasons it is more likely than not that a 30-40 million pound will be made on one player and depending on who comes now it will be a DM or CB…if it is a DM with Coquelin, Bielik whose tipped to be the next big thing we will be covered more so if one more star DM signs!!LLara would be great if we could have him on loan with a purchase option(lots of quality in the DM position,young, not playing much and lack confidence in his game at the moment)!! Because Schneiderlin is no sure thing as Southampton looks likely to grab a CL spot and it can get tricky from there plus we might be involved in a bidding war this summer for him so definitely a tricky signing!!As we know Le prof doesn’t get into bidding wars!!

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