The greatest captains have always led from the back, from positions where they can see play developing and bark out orders. At Arsenal, it was always Patrick Viera while Roy Keane was the skipper for Manchester United. They were competitive, vocal and easily protected the back four while motivating the players around them to raise their game.
For a long time Wenger has been critical of his team lacking leadership. There was no one who really wanted to take charge. The outcome was panic which would ensue once the opposition had grabbed a goal whether the team was leading by three or four goals…I am sure no one wants to remember the games against Newcastle and Anderlecht.
Francis Coquelin has everything you require in a captain. He is vocal, an astute reader of the game while remaining calm, and a voracious tackler. He obviously does not care about reputations when hurling instructions to the players around him.
Many fans have been purring about our attack while appreciating the efforts of Coquelin but I am just amazed at our resolute defending. Before, there would be audible groans when the other team would score as Arsenal could not hold on to a lead but now, while obviously nail biting, there is a calm feeling in the crowd, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal finally look compact.
Another thing I have noticed is how well Santi Cazorla has been defending. Cazorla has always been a hard worker tracking back when necessary but his efforts have mostly been in vain with the opposition player always easily evading him. This season, Cazorla has greatly improved the defensive side of his game. How many times have we seen the little magician wriggle his way from tight spots and start a counter attack? It seems like Coquelin brings out the best in his team and for that reason alone, makes him a strong candidate to take over skipper duties in the future.