Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey believes that Francis Coquelin has brought qualities to the table Arsene Wenger's side have lacked in midfield for sometime, a mix of aggression and positional responsibility in the all-important holding role.
Coquelin is one of Wenger's longest overnight success stories, taking everyone by surprise after returning from loan spells at Freiburg and Charlton Athletic to stake his claim for a starting spot at the Emirates Stadium.
The 23-year-old has been a tackling machine for the Gunners over the last three months, something Ramsey recognises as being vital in terms of bringing genuine competition for places and variety to midfield for a side full of confidence thanks to six Premier League wins in succession.
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Coquelin has more than made his mark
Coquelin has gone from feast to famine in terms of regular first-team football, starting 12 Premier League games on the spin.
Ramsey has clearly been impressed by the Frenchman's combative, all-action style, telling Arsenal Player: “He’s been really good. He’s very aggressive and doesn’t give the opposition much time on the ball, and that’s why he wins so many tackles. Then he wins the ball and makes us tick over.
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“It’s been really good to see his development this year, he’s had a superb couple of months now so hopefully he can continue that.
“It is quite comforting knowing that one of the midfielders is behind you in position, thinking more defensively. It is something that he does really well.”
Arsenal should be targeting second place
Coquelin has definitely brought some much-needed steel to match style and guile in midfield at Arsenal, with the correlation between his return to the side and a strong upturn in form impossible to ignore.
That unexpected surprise has given Arsenal every chance of beating Manchester City to second place in the table, even if catching league leaders Chelsea looks a step too far.
Arsenal are one point behind City with eight games left to play, which means if the Gunners can get results from home matches against Liverpool and Chelsea then the runners-up spot looks a realistic target.
Match that to FA Cup success and a season that looked a lost cause in December could well prove to be successful, with Coquelin of all people playing a huge part in that turnaround.
Arsenal fans, how impressed have you been by Coquelin over the last three months? Do the Gunners still need a new holding midfielder this summer, or will the Frenchman's form stop Wenger going into the transfer market? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!