With this weekend’s battle for third place between Manchester United and Arsenal just around the corner, Lewis Addley looks at who has been the better defender in the Premier League this season, Phil Jones or Laurent Koscielny?
The two are expected to be at the forefront of their defensive lines on Sunday in a game where a poor defensive display or mistake could prove to be the difference between finishing third and fourth. The victor will have a great chance of finishing third and avoid Champions League qualification in August.
Jones has been used in a number of roles this season by manager Louis Van Gaal and has given a good account of himself.Embed from Getty Images
Koscielny has been at the heart of the Arsenal defence for most of their games and is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in European football.
So how do the two compare in their key defensive areas this season?
|Stats via Squawka||Apps||Tackles won||Tackles lost||Interceptions||Blocks||Clearances||Aerial duels won||Fouls|
Jones has played five less games than Koscielny but has the upper-hand in tackles won. The Englishman has however lost out on three more of his tackles than the Arsenal defender.
Koscielny has made more interceptions, blocks and clearances than Jones, which we may expect given that he has played more games and predominantly plays in the centre.
Jones has committed more fouls than Koscielny, so in the two areas where you do not want the upper-hand on your opponent, he has lost. But none of the Englishman’s fouls have been linked directly to a negative impact on the game for United, so it is arguable that breaking up the opposition’s play isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Koscielny boasts a better aerial ability than Jones, nearly doubling the number of his aerial duels won, and the Frenchman has three goals, with Jones still waiting for his first this term.Embed from Getty Images
Jones has had a good season considering he has had multiple roles and played in an inconsistent United backline due to injuries. Koscielny would be expected to have the upper-hand given a lack of changes in a sturdy Arsenal defence and he will hope to outperform the United man in Sunday’s key clash.
Both defences are very tight, with United conceding two more goals, 36, to Arsenal’s 34. Both will have a big role to play in this weekend’s fixture.
Who do you think is better defensively – Jones or Koscielny?