We’ve regularly been criticised for our frailty in midfield, but Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla’s newly formed partnership has changed all that. Stats from CIES Football Observatory actually suggest that the Spaniard is the best “defensive midfielder” in Europe, with his numbers eclipsing some of the world’s top players.
The Football Observatory takes a range of things into account, combining a massive amount of date and calculating the best players in each position.
The numbers in this case are a little misleading, as they’ve put a huge number of players under the bracket of “defensive midfielders” when they really shouldn’t be.
Players like Cazorla, Marco Verratti, Miralem Pjanic, and Toni Kroos fall more under the category of deep lying playmaker, but have been included in this list.
The 30-year-old has unquestionably improved the defensive side of his game over the last year, and that combined with his attacking quality has propelled him to the top of this list.
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With Francis Coquelin just a few places below in seventh, we unquestionably have one of the best midfield pairings in football. Our depth in that area is definitely a problem, but if both men can remain fit then we have an excellent platform to play from.
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So many of our players don’t get the recognition they deserve, and it’s really time that changed.