Arsenal have been in fantastic form since the turn of the year, domestically at least. They have beaten Manchester City at the Etihad in that famous 0-2 win which silenced many of the critics that once argued that they had neither the resilience nor the backbone to beat the country's best sides.
The victory against the then reigning Champions is now a blueprint of how to play against their closest rivals; resolute, hard-working and with enough of the vintage Arsenal quality to win the game.
At present, Arsene Wenger's side looks every inch the team that they were on that cold January afternoon in Manchester. Mesut Ozil is showing that he is one of the world's best, and he now has a league-leading six assists in eight games. Alexis Sanchez is on an unstoppable run of form as his goal against Watford on Saturday afternoon took his Premier League tally to six in his last three outings.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
When Arsenal play with such attacking flair and flamboyance like they did in the deadly 15-minute spell when they scored three goals in quick succession at Vicarage Road, it is easy to overlook the hard graft that goes into such wins. One man who typifies the Gunners' fighting spirit better than anyone is their midfield general Francis Coquelin, or 'Le Coq' as he is known affectionately by the Arsenal faithful.
Coquelin has been dubbed 'The Renaissance Man' for his unbelievable rise to prominence after he was seemingly frozen out of Wenger's plans at the start of last season, where he was sent out on loan to Charlton Athletic. Now he deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as the finest players in his position, after all, he has outperformed Nemanja Matic, Morgan Schneiderlin and Fernandinho so far this season as the defensively-minded midfield fulcrum of their respective club sides. He is now so indispensable to the Arsenal team that he is the very last player that Arsenal fans would want out injured.
Article continues below
It is easy for many to overlook Coquelin. Those who don't watch Arsenal for 90 minutes will rarely see the work he does. You wouldn't catch a single glimpse of him if you were to watch a short highlights show of Arsenal's win at Watford for example, but his contribution to the team is arguably worth more than goals.
The Gunners have been branded a porous and mentally frail side for years, but since the 24-year-old Frenchman's arrival into the starting line-up, this criticism is hardly ever levelled at them anymore. He has added leadership, mettle and a much-needed fighting spirit which has lifted all the other players around him.
As a permanent fixture in the heart of the Arsenal midfield and one of their most consistent performers, it is rather baffling he has never been called up to the French national team. Didier Deschamps has a very hard job on his hands selecting the best 23 for next summer's European Championships but with time running out before his squad selection, Coquelin will hope that he chooses to take a closer look at him in the French blue.
West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet has spoken out at his 'unfair' omission from the squad following his fine form for his new club. Both players play centrally which is a position where France are somewhat saturated with top-class talent. Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye are long-time stalwarts in the national set-up, but Coquelin has surely played as well as other central midfielders who have been capped by their country in the past 12 months. Moussa Sissoko, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Rio Mavuba, Lassana Diarra and Morgan Scheiderlin are all obstructing the Arsenal man's passage to the national team at present and are players who perhaps haven't performed as consistently as Coquelin.
Ready for a call-up
Unlike Payet, who spoke out somewhat scathingly against the "injustice", as the Telegraph reported, at being left out of the squad for last week's friendly fixtures, Coquelin has taken a more relaxed approach, simply stating in an interview with the Arsenal website in early September, "To be part of the squad would be amazing but there are loads of things to do first and the most important thing is Arsenal".
Deschamps will surely keep a close eye on the Gunners midfielder, and if he were to include him in the French squad for their next friendly matches, it would be a just reward for a player who has emerged from the shadows to become one of the most important and influential players for a club that have a history of providing key players to the French national squad.
Does Coquelin deserve to be called up to the France squad for Euro 2016? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms