Lets just get one thing straight, and that is Francis Coquelin has always been a great player. He was never Charlton quality, and he has always been every bit as tenacious and astute in the tackle as he is today. All he was missing was an opportunity. The pundits on Sky Sports acting like he’s a man reborn clearly never watched him as a 21 year old, being Arsenal’s best player against Tottenham in 2012, or being the only guy who had a good game when we lost 8-2 to Manchester United. Coquelin has always been a good player, and I have a good feeling that he will be for a very long time.
Francis Coquelin has a gift which very few have at the top level, and that is an innate aggression in the way he plays. Just look at this vine of how quickly he snaps at Stephen Quinn. He’s terrifying.
He clearly isn’t a teddy bear but then again you don’t want him to be. In a way Francis Coquelin is just like Lee Cattermole, but luckily he can kick a football significantly better. Arsenal have been accused of lacking steel for years and I think they finally have it. In fact Coquelin in some ways is almost an exact replica of the Mathieu Flamini that Arsenal so foolishly let go in 2008. Not the one that is a shadow of him former self still at the club, but the one that added to the Gunners title challenge before he left, and I think Coquelin will do exactly the same.
With the Frenchman at the base of their midfield Arsenal’s attacking players can have a license to roam, and unlike the ageing Arteta, or Flamini, Coquelin has plenty of pace to make up ground. Something that can give him the edge over other more traditional defensive midfielders who Arsenal may be trying to sign.
I wouldn’t say that Arsenal don’t need a defensive midfielder as we do, but with Coquelin there I don’t think this Arsenal side are necessarily as weak as some would believe.