Mathieu Flamini looks set for an extended run in the Arsenal side, with Francis Coquelin likely to be sidelined for quite some time with injury. Speaking on Match of the Day, Arsenal legend Ian Wright highlighted some worrying moments from the veteran Frenchman however, showing just how badly we are likely to miss his junior compatriot in the coming months.
Coquelin is not known for his attacking flair, and that is absolutely fine. He’s technically excellent for a defensive midfielder, but he is not expected to be regularly marauding forward and contributing in the goals department. For this reason, we rarely see him in the opposition box, as he’s always positioning himself in the right place to put paid to any counter attacks that may arise.
Flamini doesn’t seem to have that discipline anymore, and was regularly seen joining in on attacks against Sunderland this past Saturday. This was despite the Black Cats posing a serious threat on the counter, and our defence regularly being exposed by the pace of their full-backs and Duncan Watmore.
See the example in the clip below:
Flamini doesn’t have the legs to get around the pitch anymore, so his positioning becomes all the more important. He can’t afford to be caught out of position way up the field, as he has absolutely no hope of recovery.
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We have players like Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Joel Campbell to get into the box, we don’t need Flamini in there as well. He’s scored a couple of great goals in his time, but when he’s our sole defensive midfielder we need him to priorities his defensive duties.
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Francis Coquelin has shown an extremely mature head on his shoulders since breaking into the team, and excels at reading the game and snuffing out danger before it even amounts to anything. We are already seeing how much we miss that, and against stiffer competition Flamini must be more sensible.