When Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal team made the trip to the Midlands in November to take on West Brom it was with the knowledge that a win would at the very least keep us level on points at the top of the Premier League. However, the injury list was already growing and it was about to have the name of Francis Coquelin added to it.
Arsenal lost a key part of our spine after just 12 minutes at the Hawthorns that day and we went on to lose the match. And despite a few purple patches our season has been on the slide ever since. A lot of things have gone wrong for us in that time and Coquelin’s injury was just one of many but I do feel it was a big turning point.
There is still time for another twist or two, though, and if the Gunners are going to make it happen then we need to approach the remaining eight games with just the right attitude of defiance and determination to prove people wrong. Funnily enough that is exactly what Coquelin told Arsenal Player is his own inspiration and if he can find some way of infecting the rest of the Arsenal squad with this state of mind it would do our title challenge the world of good.
The midfielder said, “In life you always come across people who think that you are not going to do something. It is nice, it is a motivation you keep in your head. You think, ‘Okay, that is what you think. Now I’m going to show you what is going to happen’.
“I remember being with a teacher at school and in a meeting she actually said to mum that I would end up on the street – to a 10-year-old! That was over the top, big time.
“The other day, I was talking about it to my missus. I would actually like to find this teacher and show her now that I’m working hard, playing football and hoping things go well.
“You pick up inspiration from everywhere, even from the movies sometimes. I watched ‘Any Given Sunday’ the other day, with the speech. I pick up things from any sport. I think there is a great champion in any sport, so you can get a lot from anyone.
“To turn a passion into my work is not something many people get to do. This is a motivation. Obviously I have motivation from outside too, from my family who are always behind me. My missus is always behind me and the kids as well.
“I finish football and come back home and they are still playing football and want me to play or be the referee. They are always behind me and the team and it is a drive for me to make them proud of me.”
There are not too many believers in Arsenal’s title credentials around at the moment but could the team take a leaf out of Coquelin’s book and use this to produce a stirring comeback?