For several years now Arsenal has been described as “two to three players short of a top side”.
The spot that many identified as being an urgent need was that of defensive midfield. Arsenal needed someone who was disciplined, mobile, strong, quick and aggressive. Someone who loved a tackle.
Arteta had adapted his game to fulfil the roll to the best of his ability but he lacks some of the attributes that a true DM should possess. He did the job admirably with the help of the mercurial Flamini – but neither could be described as a top drawer DM.
Francis Coquelin had been on the periphery of the squad for several years. He had been sent out on loan to Lorient, Frieberg and Charlton Athletic without ever really impressing.
He was brought back to Arsenal in December 2014 as cover for the injured Ramsey.
No one expected much of him. Arsene Wenger has been on record as saying he expected Le Coq to leave in the summer.
But something happened. Coquelin not only rose to the task – he excelled.
Since his return, he’s been man of the match several times and has hardly put a foot wrong.
His performance against manu was pivotal. He can cope with lumps like Fellaini despite giving away 6 inches in height and several stone in weight.
What I particularly like about him is that he is in awe of no-one. I love the way he shouts at his teammates to get back into position when celebrating a goal. I like the fact that he has a ‘Lauren type’ scowl on his face.
I was very vocal in calling for a big signing at DM over the summer. It didn’t happen. I can quite honestly say that if Coquelin can remain at his current level, I would be more than happy. If he continues to improve we may have to fight off the likes of Bracelona to keep him in the future.
He is 23, just about to enter the peak years of his career. He has shown leadership qualities that others lack in our team ….. a future captain? …. who knows …… anything is possible.