Arsene Wenger’s preparations for the Champions League game against Anderlecht has suffered a little loss as French midfielder, Francis Coquelin, is set to be out for at least four weeks at the Valley, with Charlton Athletic on a loan deal.
The 23 year old midfielder who has appeared more in defence during his 43 first team appearances has not featured more than once this season, his only appearance being in the 2 – 1 League Cup defeat at home to Southampton where he played at left back to admirable success. Though he can also play as a right back, he has not managed to be considered before youngsters Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin who are more suited replacements to the injured first choice Mattiue Debuchy.
Coquelin spent last season on loan at German BundesLiga side, Freiburg, gaining enough first team experience though they ended up being relegated. He’s never quite got the chance to fulfill his potential as a defensive midfielder and has not had any mentions to have him tested with the clamour for Arteta and Flamini to be replaced.
It means Wenger will have one player less to call on for defensive duties against Anderlecht tomorrow and when you consider that he was the only other ‘defender’ besides Bellerin on the bench for the win against Burnley on Saturday, one has to wonder if it was all too necessary to send him on loan at this time of the season.
Visibly thin in defence, Coquelin would have served as a good back up option were anything dire to happen to Gibbs while Koscielny remains absent. One immediate response would be that Bellerin would come in at right back for Calum Chambers to move into central defence and as much as that sounds like putting him back into his best position, bringing the best out of the team at the moment wouldn’t require doing a shuffle every now and then. Chambers has been playing right back for a while now and it would be good that he continued there for consistency sake.
Coquelin’s absence would leave us with Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Chambers and Bellerin as the only defenders we’ve seen more than once this season, signaling the probable call up of Isaac Hayden to the bench. Hayden has not played in another game this season after the League Cup game and it may be that he is one of those who benefit from Coquelin’s absence.
Fans may not be so frustrated with Coquelin’s absence as he is going to get some regular game time to get him ready for FA Cup hostilities in January. He will not play at Anderlecht but who’s really bothered now?
Going by this, will you consider couquelin’s transfer a blow to to Arsenal, considering the number of games left before the January transfer window officially kicks open?
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