Arsenal legend Ian Wright has praised the club’s new defensive midfield pairing of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny after their exploits against the Toffees over the weekend (via BT Sport).
The duo played alongside each other for the most part of last week and were both hugely impressive as the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners at the Goodison Park against Everton, while they also produced a strong performance against Spurs before Coquelin’s needless red card.
Wright has been really impressed by the midfield duo, who were starting a match together for just the third time. Speaking to BT Sport after the game, he said:
You’ve still got [Alex] Iwobi and Elneny in particular, they’ve come into this side, they’ve added something.
I liked Elneny and Coquelin because it seems like Elneny’s got the licence to just drift and go forwards. It’s nice to see an Arsenal midfielder take shots from outside the box, he does that. Coquelin stays back and keeps it all solid, as much as Everton couldn’t get through it was because of those two as well.
Elneny’s introduction to the first team has brought with it a marked improvement in the Gunners performances in midfield. He has, to a large extent, restored the sense of balance that had been lost without Cazorla, and the January signing’s burgeoning partnership with Coquelin has given fans hope for a strong midfield future.
He is a midfielder with the strength of athleticism of Aaron Ramsey, the ability to remain calm and composed in possession like his oft-injured club captain and who possesses the skill, dexterity and vision to get forward. Elneny has so far only played alongside Coquelin on a few occasions and as far as league football is concerned, as a pairing they remain undefeated, even if the Frenchman’s red card against Tottenham may have put his team-mates under undue pressure.
The midfield duo ran riot at Goodison Park against the Toffees. With his new partner alongside him taking care of playing the ball forward and driving on from deep, Coquelin looked in commanding form in his “police officer” role between midfield and defence. A solution to a lack of balance may have come too late to resuscitate the Gunners’ title bid but with Elneny now a regular in the first team and able to take command of games, a strong finish looks to be on the cards for Wenger.