With Francis Coquelin believed to be back in contention for Arsenal next month, one stat has shown that the midfielder’s return cannot come soon enough.
When the news was confirmed that Arsenal would be without midfield stalwart Francis Coquelin for between 2-4 months back in November, many Gooners went into meltdown believing their title chances were falling asunder.
Arsenal’s clash with West Brom earlier this season really couldn’t have gone any worse for the Gunners – Mikel Arteta scored an own goal, Santi Cazorla missed a penalty and they lost.
Worse than any of the above though, was the loss of defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin to a serious injury. The Frenchman has been a revelation since breaking into the Arsenal first team last season and many felt that he may well have been the catylyst that could have sent Arsenal on a legitimate title charge this season.
Coquelin offers the Arsenal back four a level of protection and maturity that has not been seen since the days of Patrick Vieira and his loss was such a concern for Arsene Wenger that the French manager has already taken action in the January window in the form of Mohamed Elneny.
However, according to Wenger, Coquelin is already back running and could be in line for a return to first team action at some point in February.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 4, 2016
According to stats released by the always excellent OptaJoe today, that return cannot come soon enough. Although all the numbers in the info-graphic below are rather revealing, one insane comparison shows just how much Arsenal’s defence has suffered since Coquelin’s injury.
Check out the tweet below highlighting a baffling 50% increase in shots conceded when the ‘policeman’ is absent;
50% – Arsenal have conceded 50% more shots/game without Coquelin in the starting line up in 2015-16 (15v10). Missed pic.twitter.com/Q6rhWqlMW0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 14, 2016
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