IF any Arsenal fans needed reminding their side are a soft touch in midfield — one fact has emerged that highlights it perfectly.
Liverpool fans will be delighted to know that their centre forward has put in more tackles than the Gunners’ key defensive midfielder.
Roberto Firmino has put in 62 tackles in the Premier League this season, compared to Shkodran Mustafi’s 61, a mind-boggling fact.
Germany international Mustafi, 26, has been one of the many players targeted by Arsenal fans for stick this season, with the club in danger of slipping behind Burnley in the league table.
If Arsenal do fall behind Sean Dyche’s Clarets, they should still qualify for the Europa League, but they could face a season start just 11 days after the World Cup final.
And Liverpool are safely in the Champions League places for next term, with a semi-final to look forward to on April 25.
Firmino vs Mustafi – the tackling duel NOBODY expected to see (stats from Opta)
Tackles won: 48
Duels won: 161
Tackles won: 44
Duels won: 185
The mind-boggling number takes into account the fact that Firmino has played nine more games, with 33 appearances to Mustafi’s 24.
Statistics provided by Opta show how key the Brazilian forward is in Jurgen Klopp’s Gengenpress — winning the ball back from the front and turning it over to the Reds’ pacey wingers in Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, or scoring himself.
The Anfield man’s 48 tackles won also give him a superior tackle success per centage, with 77.4 per cent compared to Mustafi’s 72.1 per cent (44 tackles won).
Firmino is also not far behind Mustafi in duels won with 161 to the German’s 185, while recoveries stand at 124 to 141.