Arsenal are expected to have made signing an additional holding midfielder a priority this Summer, but do they need to?
Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin who has been by the manager as a £40 million rated midfielder, has undoubtedly been one of the shining lights of their season and has established himself as Wenger’s midfield general for next season, but do they need a bit more to challenge Chelsea and Manchester City for the title next season?
Coquelin has been the surprise of the season, being called back from this loan spell from Charlton after just five games to transform Arsenal’s defensive problems almost single handed.
The 24-year-old Frenchman has learned a lot since his move to the Emirates from Stade Lavallois in 2008, he has had several loan spells and been educated in three different leagues. He has benefited from football’s much maligned loan system.
Before Coquelin was recalled, Arsenal were struggling defensively; there were big question marks over Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini and rightly so. Arteta and Flamini are past their best and it showed in the big game,s where they were over-run and mostly the games were passing them by.
Coquelin would be many fan’s first choice in midfield but do Arsenal need more? When you look at the most successful teams in Europe they have at least two players for every position, covering every eventuality. This is something Wenger’s squad lacks.
Arsenal have had a lack of depth in key areas and this will need to change if there is to be a serious title tilt next season. Coquelin has become an important cog in how the Arsenal midfield function but if he gets suspended or injured then Arsenal are left playing someone who is uncomfortable screening the back four.
Arsenal are blessed with attacking midfielders at the moment but do not exactly have a plethora of candidates to even cover for Coquelin. Calum Chambers is a centre-back and looked uncomfortable used there earlier in the season, Jack Wilshere has been used for England in that role but once more he looks uncomfortable doing the defensive side of the game and is more suited playing on the front foot.
Premier League champions Chelsea are a great example of having depth in key areas and this is the blueprint Arsenal should look to emulate this Summer, especially when it comes to defensive minded players who can come in as cover.
Nemanja Matic was a key signing for Chelsea but in his absence they can bring in John Obi Mikel, or Ramires to play that role. Unfortunately at the moment Arsenal only have Coquelin, as good as he may be he is the only one good enough in the current Arsenal squad to protect the back four.
Football is now very much a squad game and, without adding to key areas like defensive midfield and also another centre forward, Arsenal will more than likely come up short again like they have so many times since their illustrious 2004 “Invincibles” success
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