Francis Coquelin has been a breath of fresh air during Arsenal’s prolonged injury crisis, performing higher than our expectations in the absence of Mikael Arteta and Matthieu Flamini, and he believes that his loan period at The Valley helped him to improve.
“It’s been a couple of exciting months for me,” the 23-year-old said on the official Arsenal website. I’ve been out on loan to Charlton and that was a good experience for me. Now I’m back at Arsenal and playing again, so I’m enjoying it.
“The Championship is a tough league. Maybe technically the Premier League is a little bit better but in terms of power, engagement in duels and challenges, I think the Championship is a very tough league. It helped me come back to the Premier League.
“The manager called me for a reason, gave me my chance and I’m now trying to prove what I can do on the pitch. I’ve been here long enough so I know everyone quite well. Everyone made me very welcome, so I think settling in was easy.”
Now Arsenal are preparing for one of the toughest tests of the season away ay Manchester City, and Coquelin is very keen to be involved yet again against the reigning champions.
“Every year they come with a very strong team and are challenging for the title,” the midfielder said. “They’ve bought a couple of great players as well so you know it’s going to be a tough game. Every player plays to play these types of games, so it’s going to be interesting.”
It now looks like Matthieu Flamini will be returning to the squad for the City game, but it unlikely that Wenger will push him to play for the whole 90 minutes in such an important game just yet, so I am confident that Coquelin will get another chance to impress against the very best…