Preparations for our vital Premier League clash with Newcastle on Saturday has received a very considerable boost with versatile midfielder, Francis Coquelin, immediately recalled today from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic according to Arsenal’s official website.
The 23-year old Frenchman has spent the past six weeks at the Valley, having departed in October on an initial one-month loan, but had been extended to give him a run till January. That won’t be the case now as the vicious cycle of injuries have left us so bare. Wenger was shown on TV unfolding a sheet of a paper on the training ground today, followed with a worrying hand on his temple, and it is hard to imagine he saw enough on that list to face Newcastle, hence prompting Coquelin’s return.
The immediate thought is that Coquelin has been called to replace Ramsey, who could be forced out with that hamstring injury till the New Year, but a look through the options in defence could prove otherwise. Wenger will be without the suspended Calum Chambers, while Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny are unavailable due to injuries. It means Wenger would have no ready partner for Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence, leaving all sorts of problems and possibilities open.
It credible to think that Debuchy could be made to pair up with the vice captain – if you read much into that picture of both players in the training photos on the club website – , while Bellerin and Coquelin are made to take each of the full back spots.
Coquelin’s solitary appearance for the first team before departing on his loan spell had been as a left-back in the defeat to Southampton, where Bellerin had played as a right back. Another possibility could be that Debuchy keeps the right back position – which must be the best for him – while Isaac Hayden (who also played in that League Cup game) would be a second successive 19-year old partner for Mertesacker in defence, handing Coquelin the left back position.
Throw all that away, and it could yet be to fulfill his designation as a defensive midfielder that Wenger has recalled him, as some sort of a double pivot with Mattiue Flamini, or as a replacement if he is deemed not completely ready, given he had been strained on the calf in the first half at Istanbul. Coquelin, though, has not had many opportunities to play in his preferred midfield role, and has been used more as a defender.
It all boils down to the fact that Wenger must delve heavily into the market in three weeks time. It won’t be enough to rely on taking up that option of recalling on-loan players, considering the interruption it creates in their consistency where they play, as well as the consequent instability it stirs in the loaning club.
For now, though, this is nothing but good news as it appears we will have a team good enough for Pardew’s team afterall.
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