Arsenal legend Robert Pires has named midfield enforcer Francis Coquelin as the key man ahead of our crucial FA Cup clash against Man United tonight.
Coquelin has been a revelation since returning from his loan spell at the turn of the year and earned himself a new four-and-a-half year contract. He is also arguably the first name on the team-sheet due to the lack of specialist defensive midfielders we have within the squad.
Pires played alongside the last bonafide midfield destructor we had in Gilberto Silva and it seems the members of that squad understand the importance the position holds for the balance of the team.
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“Coquelin is a good player. He’s really important for Wenger and the team. I believe a lot in him. He has a good future,” Pires was quoted as saying in the Express.
“He’s better defensively than their other midfielders – a warrior type. He puts more aggression into the position and that’s important.
“He’s more like a Patrick Vieira or Ray Parlour. He will be important at Old Trafford because he is No1 in the tackle.
“This is a good opportunity for him to prove himself. It is a tough game. You need to play hard. But I believe in him.”
Coquelin has been credited with our resurgence in form in the past couple of months as the team chase a Champions League place and look to defend the FA Cup.
If the Frenchman can reproduce his display the last time he was in Manchester, we will have a great chance of beating Man United at Old Trafford for the first time since September 2006.