Arsenal are currently enduring their worst run of the season but the return of Francis Coquelin from injury is sure to provide a huge boost for the London side.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are prepared to accelerate Coquelin’s return from a knee injury for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Burnley.
The French midfielder hasn’t featured since November 21, when he came off after 14 minutes against West Brom, and it’s not wrong to say he’s been sorely missed. Mathieu Flamini, as passionate as he is, cannot cut it at an elite level any longer - his place was already in jeopardy after the signing of Mohamed Elneny.
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Coquelin participated in full training last Friday - a month earlier than expected - and will return to fill the glaring hole that has steadily opened in Arsenal’s midfield in recent weeks.
If Wenger doesn’t think Coquelin is ready for the clash against Burnley, he may consider giving him minutes in an Under-21 game against Stoke, also on Saturday.
The 24-year-old has established himself as one of Arsenal’s most important players as they pursue a first Premier League title since 2004.
The new Vieira
One of the main criticisms of Wenger was his inability to immediately replace Patrick Vieira and it looked for all the world that Coquelin wouldn’t be the dominant Frenchman’s heir - he joined the club eight years and was loaned out to Charlton Athletic at the start of last season.
If Aaron Ramsey hadn’t suffered a lengthy injury midway through last season, Coquelin could have easily found himself playing football at a significantly lower level to the Premier League. Wenger cut short his loan at Charlton to provide cover for the injured Welshman.
He’s been a revelation since, evolving into arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League.