Since the days of Arsenal icons Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, Arsenal fans have been crying out for a midfield general to give stability to the team. Despite seeing a whole host of talent learn their trade at the Emirates from Cesc Fabregas to current players such as Santi Cazorla, Wenger has struggled to keep the balance in Arsenal’s midfield.
The likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil bring immense technical ability, flair and a range of intricate passing in the Arsenal attack, however in the days at the Emirates its seems to be the same old story for us Arsenal fans with players of similar attributes being placed in the Arsenal midfield, although they do a massively important job for Arsenal our midfield has seemingly been unbalanced at times which may be part of the reason to why we have struggled in big games in recent seasons.
However, Francis Coquelin has given Arsenal a new dimension to our play and has complimented attacking midfielders and allowed them to have a free role in the midfield while he does the graft in the defensive side of midfield.
Coquelin unexpected return to the Arsenal team has contributed in wins at Manchester City and yesterday’s FA Cup quarter final win at Old Trafford, with the Gunners showing a resilient side to their play.
Coquelin deserves enormous praise for being asked to do a job in the Arsenal first team when he, as well as the fans, certainly wouldn’t have expected to see the Frenchman play a pivotal role this season.
Although stats don’t tell the whole story, Coquelin has racked up some marvellous stats which haven’t gone unrecognised by Arsenal fans and fans of the game. Opta stats show that in Coquelin’s 13 appearances that he has made for Arsenal this season he has won a remarkable 48.6% of his tackles and has also won 68.9% of his aerial battles.
Many Arsenal fans have pinpointed that Arsenal’s problems lie within the defensive midfield position, however Coquelin may have convinced some fans that he may be the long term answer to the problem.
Although I believe that Arsenal should still look to strengthen in this area with a formidable defensive midfielder to add depth to the squad, Coquelin certainly shouldn’t be overlooked as a contender to fill the position in the long term.
Coquelin’s passion and desire has been evident in each game that he has played, his staggering improvement as an all-round player as well as his vocal leadership qualities has seen him rewarded with a new long term deal at Arsenal.