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Key Battle: Alderweireld v Koscielny

28 Apr 2017
Toby Alderweireld v Laurent Koscielny

Ahead of the north London derby Sky Sports' Paul Harrison analyses Spurs' and Arsenal's star defenders

Which defence will come out on top in the north London derby? Sky Sports’ Paul Harrison examines the stats of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal's star defenders.

While Arsenal's troubled defence has come under regular scrutiny over the past few seasons, one man who has often been exempt from criticism is the stand-in skipper Laurent Koscielny.

Koscielny this season
Stat Total Arsenal ranking
Tackle success 90.7% 1st
Interceptions 84 1st
Blocks 18 1st
Clearances 182 1st
Headed clearances 116 1st
Duels won 181 2nd
Ball recoveries 193 2nd

In fact, over the past four seasons, the Gunners' record with and without the France international bears little resemblance.

Arsenal with and without Koscielny in PL since 2013/14
With   Without
121 Matches 25
61 Win % 40
2 Points per match 1.5
1 Goals conceded per match 1.4

His record in north London derbies is impressive too, suffering just two defeats from 12 appearances.

With his presence on the pitch this season Arsenal have conceded a goal every 82 minutes; without him they concede on average every 50 minutes.

Laurent Koscielny tackles Harry Kane
Laurent Koscielny has the best tackle success rate on the Arsenal team

In order to stop Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Co stretching Spurs' unbeaten league run against Arsenal to a record six matches, he will have to preserve his reputation as one of the division's finest centre-backs.

An opposition player who can also stake claim to that title is Toby Alderweireld, who has won an impressive 31 of 34 attempted tackles in the Premier League this season.

Best tacklers of 2016/17 PL centre-backs (attempted 25+ tackles)
Player Tackle success %
Toby Alderweireld 91.18
Miguel Britos 91.18
Laurent Koscielny 90.7
Winston Reid 85.71
Michael Keane 84.62

The Belgian's impact for Mauricio Pochettino's title hopefuls this season is near identical to Koscielny's record over the past four seasons in north London.

Spurs with and without Alderweireld in 2016/17 PL
With   Without
25 Games 8
72 Win % 50
2.4 Points per game 1.9
0.6 Goals conceded per game 1

See: More on key battle at the Lane

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