Wenger: Coquelin is statistically the best defensive midfielder in Europe

The Frenchmen was heavily criticized by the Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville in the build-up to Monday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool but he has been defended by the Arsenal manager.

Since returning from the loan spell at Charlton Athletic, Coquelin has emerged as a key player for the Gunners.

Indeed, Wenger believes that when all statistics are factored in, Coquelin is the finest player in his position on the continent.

“Coquelin has the best defensive statistics and numbers in Europe. You watch football like I watch football. I don’t know what people see. Defensively, Coquelin is doing a great job,” he told reporters.

“Look, I am not against opinion. People can say they don’t think Arsenal is good enough. I accept that. But it is dangerous to say ‘He will never be a player’ — especially when the comment has come from people in football.

“It doesn’t annoy me, but what is a concern is that it puts pressure on players. I believe that we are in a football job.

“People who have been in the game, I love that they go on television. But I would like them to help people to love football even more.”