Arsenal are no longer title contenders after Francis Coquelin injury

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Football News

Much has been made of Arsenal's long injury list and the fact they have a lack of depth in certain positions.

The truth is that most areas of the pitch have some cover, however, the latest injury to Francis Coquelin is very different. Since his emergence into the Arsenal first team, he has become irreplaceable.

Many would rightly make the point that Arsene Wenger should have bought another or, in fact, an even better holding midfield player in the summer. Players like Morgan Schneiderlin were available, but the only new face at the Emirates was Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.


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Most fans questioned the decision at the time and they have since been proven correct. Mikel Arteta never played as defensive midfield player during his Everton days for a very good reason - he is not a defensive midfield player and doesn't understand the concept of defending, much like fellow Spaniard Cesc Fabregas.

His introduction into the side makes Arsenal incredibly vulnerable defensively. The alternative is Mathieu Flamini, a defensive midfielder but at the age of 31 - has lost the pace he once had. This also makes him vulnerable in certain situations when players are running at pace or even quick movement off the ball.

A more risky option that has been suggested in some quarters is potentially selecting Calum Chambers in midfield. After seeing Eric Dier's rise to fame for Tottenham, some suggest that the defender could make a similar transition.

However, a lot of fans have forgotten Chambers is still learning to play at centre-back, having been used mainly as a right-back for Southampton.

The idea he could be a quality option in midfield is naive and would only further confuse a player who has lost his way since moving to Arsenal. The Englishman is nowhere near the first team when all of the other defenders are fit. At best, he is the fourth choice at centre-back, and the third choice at right-back, so he has had very little game time so far this season.

The answer to Wenger's dilemma in the short term has to be Flamini but with him in the side, Arsenal cannot win the Premier League.

The Gunners' best hopes rest with the unlikely outcome of remaining within striking distance of the top when Coquelin returns, or purchasing another holding midfield player in January.

Arsene Wenger
Francis Coquelin
Premier League

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