Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has revealed that he and his teammates have come up with a new nickname for defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin, one that reflects his playing style and hands-on approach.
The German playmaker told how Gunners players now refer to Coquelin as ‘the pit bull’ because of the way he puts himself about the pitch harrying opponents and making himself an all-round nuisance.
Ozil on Arsenal Player
In the build up to tomorrow’s north London derby against rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Ozil spoke to Arsenal Player about the confidence he has due to the presence of his teammates.
Not only did he hail Santi Cazorla for being very technically gifted, but also took the time to shed some light on Coquelin.
"I know that Santi is a very technically-gifted player, just as Francis is. We call Francis ‘the pit bull’ because he’s very aggressive and always gives 100 per cent," Ozil said.
“I’m pleased to be able to have those players behind me. But you need to praise the whole team.
“We fight for each other and are like a small family. You can sense that on the pitch. It shows that we are hungry for success and that’s why I want to praise the whole team."
As far as nicknames go ‘the pit bull’ is a fairly apt offering for the French midfielder, particularly as he has garnered a reputation for being one of the most dogged tacklers in the Premier League.
The re-introduction of the 24-year-old to the fold midway through last season gave Arsenal an added element of mettle in their team, simultaneously negating the need for Arsene Wenger to break the bank in order to draft in a defensive enforcer for his midfield.
If nothing else Coquelin’s presence allows the more creative players in the Gunners’ starting XI to showcase their flair without having to adapt their game to be more defensive.
The fans seem to like him too:
The likes of Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Cazorla might be the match-winners for Arsenal, but without ‘the pit bull’ guarding the rear it’s safe to assume Wenger’s men would have a far more difficult time getting the balance right between attack and defence.
Arsenal fans, how important is Coquelin to your case? Let us know how highly you rate him in the comments box below.