Defensive stalwart Francis Coquelin has had an unbelievable 12 months. This time last year the 24-year old was a fringe player at Arsenal, and had been loaned out consistently for several seasons. Another season-long loan deal with Charlton Athletic had been arranged, and there was no reason for the player to expect a recall to his parent club. Fast forward a year however, and he is an indispensable part of our starting lineup and stats-wise the best defensive midfielder in the League (via the Metro).
The player has handled the transition to the first team well, and has produced a consistent level of performances despite the massive pressure on him. With the club possessing no real backup for his role, Coquelin is acutely aware that an injury or suspension could spell disaster for the team. Yet, he keeps on producing quality performances on a weekly basis.
In an interview, Coquelin revealed that a large part of his success was down to his team mates and the support staff at the Emirates; and also thanked former Arsenal star Robert Pires, who has apparently played an important part in the player’s development (via the Daily Mail).
He said, “I have good people around me; Robert Pires gives me tips and advice.
“He is a French player and as a young kid I was watching him play for France a lot. It’s always nice to get tips from someone like that.
“He’s quite honest and if you haven’t played well he’s not going to hide it from you.”
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Pires was a part of the Invincibles side, and the former France international still trains with the Arsenal squad on a regular basis. With his massive amounts of experience, his help surely means a lot to his younger compatriot, who will be eyeing a call up from the national side ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Coquelin also spoke about the victory against Manchester United, asserting that Arsenal had proved their critics wrong with the dominant performance.
“We knew we had to put it right after Olympiacos and that is what we have done. A lot of people didn’t expect us to win, but we proved a lot of people wrong,” he continued.
“Inside the dressing room we knew we could do good things this season, that we knew we could be contenders. But obviously we have to be consistent.
“The most important thing is to carry on now and keep getting the results. Is there anyone who can live with us if we play like we did in that first 20 minutes? No I don’t think so. Obviously it’s hard to do that for 90 minutes but we are creating chances.”
The general mood around the club has improved massively thanks to the vital result, and the international break allows the players to reset themselves somewhat after what has been a mixed week for us. When they return, hopefully they will be able to continue playing at this level and carry forward this form into the rest of the season.