The Choice of Player Replacing Coquelin Would Best Portray Our Title Hopes by NO
With the injury to Francis Coquelin, Arsenal’s title credentials face placing on ice, as far as Arsenal fans are concerned. And the fans have reason to worry as Coquelin has been a massive revelation since his return from a cut-short loan outing at championship league side Charlton Athletic.
But the question is – Can Arsene Wenger find a replacement, that will not just fill in the role but rather someone who can keep the push on Arsenal’s business of chasing high level performances on going.
The most natural replacement would be Matthieu Flamini. He is the squad’s readymade player for the role and is an experienced hand at it. He has recently began adding to his game goal scoring and that cannot be a bad thing either. Flamini is also a morale cheerleader in the dressing room. However, opting for Flamini in my view will be admitting that indeed our title challenge is still hopeless.
I would urge Arsene Wenger to make the decision to field a player that can match the rhythm that Coquelin had established in the side. A player who can match any opposition stride for stride, like the injured maestro Coquelin proved to do. A player that has fast fresh wheels that Arsenal’s attackers – Ozil, Sanchez and Cazorla – have become accustomed to.
There are three names in the squad that can do just this at the same level if they put their talents to it.
1) Calum Chambers – this is a role he has been rumoured to be able to fill in very well. Unfortunately Chambers is still a work in progress and very inexperienced even when brought in his more natural roles. It would be hard to trust him with such an immense duty.
2) Oxlade Chamberlain – The Ox once got tongues wagging when he was brought to fill in the centre of the midfield. However, then he was playing in the ‘Cazorla’ midfield rather than the Coquelin role. There are lots of questions about his defensive discipline to be able to deliver in this role.
3) Kieran Gibbs – recently he is showing Arsenal faithful that he has versatility as an asset among his arsenal. Gibbs has proven his defensive discipline before playing in his more traditional role as a full back. At Arsenal it would be a new duty added to his range of versatility to play in this position.
My vote would be with Kieran Gibbs. I’m even optimistically hopeful that this was one of the reasons Wenger pulled him off the match with West Brom. My belief is that if Wenger wants to sustain the title push, trying out Gibbs in this role would be the braver option and going with Flamini would be resignation.
Can Gibbs deliver anything near what Coquelin was giving?