By Adam Clark
Since swapping Chicago for Craven Cottage in January 2004 American international Carlos Bocanegra has been an integral part of Fulham's first team.
But with Chris Coleman, the man who signed him, having left the club and the Cottagers' Premiership survival far from assured, the experienced defender is needed more now than ever.
The next challenge in terms of avoiding the trapdoor to the Championship will come at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Emmanuel Adebayor the likely test awaiting Bocanegra. Arsenal themselves would like to make certain of qualification for next season's Champions League and will be looking to Kolo Toure to keep Fulham's forwards off the scoresheet.
But what do the statistics tell us about the form of the two defenders throughout the 2006/07 season?
Defensively Toure has been a rock. Bocanegra has played 818 minutes fewer but, regardless, the Arsenal man's statistics eclipse those of the American.
Interceptions? The Ivorian has made 20. Blocks? Fifteen. And clearances? A remarkable 58. In comparison, Bocanegra has nine interceptions, seven blocks and 35 clearances to his name.
Toure has also been the more efficient tackler. The burly centre back has made 40 challenges and come out on top on 30 occasions. Bocanegra has attempted seven tackles more but won three fewer.
The two are equal in terms of distribution however. Toure has found a team-mate with 64.4 per cent of his 264 passes while Bocanegra, having attempted 175 passes, has a success rate of 65.7 per cent. It equates to a productive pass every 17 minutes from the Arsenal defender and one every 18 minutes from the Fulham man.
One area where Bocanegra has enjoyed success of late is in front of goal. The defender, who has six goals in 40 appearances for his country, has scored twice in four games, taking his season's tally to five. Toure, who scored the first equaliser in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Tottenham, now has three for the campaign having also notched in wins over Liverpool and Blackburn.
The statistics suggest Toure and Arsenal are more likely to be celebrating a shut-out on Sunday. Fulham have managed just five clean sheets all season while Arsenal have 11. Italian Vincenzo Montella could take up the majority of the Ivorian's time. Yet he shouldn't take his eye off Bocanegra - he's shown he's more than capable of producing a sucker punch.
It wouldn't be the first time the Emirates crowd has seen one.
View Kolo Toure's player profile
Head to Head Statistics Kolo Toure Carlos Bocanegra Premiership Appearances 32 27 Minutes on pitch 2880 2062 Attacking Goals 3 5 Shots on target 10 14 Shots off target 15 6 Shots blocked 3 0 Offside 2 1 Supporting Assists 3 1 Passes made 264 175 Passes complete 170 115 Passes incomplete 94 60 Crosses successful 1 0 Crosses unsuccessful 1 4 Total dribbles 20 21 Dribbles successful 12 14 Dribbles unsuccessful 8 7 Defending Tackles made 40 47 Tackles won 30 27 Tackles lost 10 20 Interceptions 20 9 Blocked Shots 15 7 Clearances 58 35 Penalties Conceded 1 0 Own Goals 0 0 Discipline Fouls 23 21 Yellow Cards 6 4
NB: Statistics as at Thursday, April 26, 2007.
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