More than half-a-dozen top class recognized players have been linked with filling the perceived deficiency in the defensive midfield role at the Emirates, but anyone that’s watched the last 4 Arsenal games would have noticed the persistent appearance of one man.
He may have just made an abrupt return from a loan spell at Charlton but Wenger’s recent comments seem to suggest that he, at last, may have found the perfect one to replace the solidity once provided by the likes of Patrick Vieira, in another Frenchman, Francis Coquelin.
“I think he’s a satisfaction over the Christmas period.” Wenger said to Arsenal’s official website.
“Francis has done well in all the three games he’s played over the Christmas period. He’s matured a lot and he’s very strong in the fight. I would say I have a very positive impression of his last three games”
It’s resembled a grass to grace scenario for Coquelin as he would still have been showing off his beard at the Valley in the Championship if Arteta and Ramsey had been fit and available since November. The 23-year old has now started three games on the trot and is commanding as much reverence amongst Arsenal fans as Flamini and Arteta combined. Per his role as a defensive midfield player, there has been much to witness in his games to arouse postulations of him being retained as the team’s main man for the role, even when both return.
According to Squawka, Coquelin is head and shoulders above Arteta and Flamini in the category of successful tackles made, his 61% yards ahead of 38% and 45% recorded by both respectively. While a case may be made for him being younger than both who are in their 30s, he also comes out tops in comparison to Calum Chambers whom many have tipped for a defensive midfield role. Both were paired in midfield at St. Mary’s and Coquelin was one of few players who impressed on the day, posting 6 tackles in the game, with Chambers not making a single one.
And there was the somewhat mixed seasoning he put out in the FA Cup, where he could have got sent off for some too footed rash challenges, but showed off some good passing range the peak of which was a deliciously lofted ball into Walcott’s path. He appears to have a combination of attributes from Arteta and Flamini but his youthfulness does give him a little more in his tank to cover more ground on the pitch.
Though he had sounded a bit cautious in his initial assessment, Wenger does have good hopes that the Frenchman would go on and have many happy days at the Emirates, especially in his favorite role of defensive midfield, after repeatedly having to make do with full-back responsibilities over the past few seasons.
Would it imply the end to the search – if there was – for a defensive midfielder in the over the course of the next four weeks? What is the guarantee that his Championship form will be translated and upgraded in Champions League games?
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