Francis Coquelin: The wall in front of the defence

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Football News

Over recent seasons Arsenal fans have had two major requests from their manager in the transfer market: 1) We need a defensive midfielder and 2) We need another centre back.

Arsene Wenger in this season's transfer window answered one of those requests by bringing in Gabriel Paulista to add to the Gunners defensive set up.

However there is a feeling around some supporters that they were still lacking in the midfield area, with the current options all being very good technically and very similar in what they bring to the team. 

Arsene Wenger, in my opinion, has pulled off a very astute bit of business in filling this position without having to spend any money on a new player. The solution? Bring back Francis Coquelin and give him a place in the first team.

Loan spells

Previously seen as a very raw player with undeniable talent, Coquelin struggled to find himself a place in the first team over recent seasons and spent a lot of time out on loan at different clubs including Lorient, Freiburg and most recently Charlton.

If you had told the player that he would be a regular starter in the second half of the season at the start of the campaign he would have laughed. As recently as November, Coquelin was on loan at Charlton sitting on the bench with an uncertain future at Arsenal ahead of him on a nearly expired contract.

Arsene Wenger opted to bring the young Frenchman back to the Emirates and he has been a mainstay in the team ever since.

The results speak for themselves with the impact that he has had since his return, the Gunners have won 11 from 13 with him in the side and only eight from 18 league games without him. He has managed to keep senior members of the squad out of the side as well (Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini) and maintained a place in the team throughout.


He brings an added bite to the Arsenal midfield and offers the back four extra protection. This allows the more technically able players freedom to roam and press play when defending.

Coquelin has a good range of passing but will often elect to break up an opposition attack and look to feed one his midfield colleagues to start an attack. The main attributes he brings to the team are his work rate, his tackling and the ability to make key interceptions to cut out chances for the opposition.

However it will be interesting to see whether Wenger chooses to invest in a new holding player in the summer or if he keeps faith with Coquelin for next season.

Would bringing in a more experienced player disrupt Coquelin's development or would he be able to develop and learn from the new man?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Mikel Arteta
Arsene Wenger
Mathieu Flamini
Francis Coquelin

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