With that incredible 4-4 Anfield draw just days old, Arsenal host relegation-threatened Middlesbrough on Sunday. This season Arsenal.com will be identifying the key battles for the game. We will bring you all the statistics and information a fan could need so swot up now and come Sunday you will be impressing anyone who will listen with your new-found knowledge.
Kolo Toure v Afonso Alves
It has been a season to forget for Alfonso Alves. After such encouraging form towards the end of last term, four Premier League goals just hasn’t been enough from the £12million man. However, if the Brazilian fires enough goals to keep Middlesbrough in the Premier League in their last five games of the season, Gareth Southgate may have got his money’s worth. In his way on Sunday could be Kolo Toure. The Ivorian has succeeded in 89 per cent of his tackles and easily trumps Alves in the passing stakes.
|Kolo Toure||Afonso Alves|
|Shots off target||8||34|
|Shots on target||11||54|
Cesc Fabregas v Matthew Bates
After a lengthy string of loan spells and injuries local-boy Matthew Bates has finally secured a regular starting berth for Boro since the turn of the year. Initially a central defender, the 22-year-old has been pushed into the midfield by Gareth Southgate to exploit his combative, industrious qualities. If he gets the nod at the Emirates he could face Cesc Fabregas who has returned from injury with a bang. The Spaniard has nine assists to Bates’ none but the pair have one goal apiece – incredibly the Boro man’s strike came from his only effort on goal all season.
|Cesc Fabregas||Matthew Bates|
|Shots off target||13||0|
|Shots on target||23||1|
Emmanuel Adebayor v David Wheater
One man almost certainly hoping Emmanuel Adebayor is not passed fit for Sunday is David Wheater. The young Englishman has racked up an 83 per cent tackling success rate in addition to notching once at the other end. However, he’ll be in for a busy afternoon if the Togolese returns. Adebayor, who is in the squad, has struck 10 goals, completed 18 dribbles and registered seven assists in his 24 appearances this season.
|Emmanuel Adebayor||David Wheater|
|Shots off target||25||11|
|Shots on target||34||8|