Arsenal are now, and have often been in the past, one of the Premier League teams with the best midfield options. Those options have too often been quite similar though, and usually the balance has been a bit too tilted toward the attacking and creative side of the things, with not enough players or enough quality on the less glamorous aspects of the game.
Arsene Wenger has certainly made steps to address that issue in recent years, with Francis Coquelin’s breakthrough followed by the transfer additions of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka. This season the Gunners have still had problems in the centre of the pitch, though, mainly due to the long injury absence of Santi Cazorla.
I think that is one of the reasons we have seen Coquelin’s form suffer of late. Together he and the little Spanish magician were a great pairing as Coquelin did the dirty work allowing Cazorla to set the tempo and run the game with his technical ability and vision.
Without Cazorla Arsenal lose some creativity and maybe Coquelin has been trying to help but that is not really his game. At the same time Aaron Ramsey has been pretty poor all season and since the festive season Arsene Wenger has largely been without Elneny, at least until now.
Our win over West ham saw the Egyptian paired with Granit Xhaka and it was the most competent looking midfield display Arsenal have produced in some time. It is not the same as the Cazorla and Coquelin pairing as they are quite similar, but they complement each other and work well.
Xhaka seemed calmer and his game was the better for it, while Elneny makes up with his engine what he lacks in real quality, so have Arsenal found the right midfield to help us to finish the season strongly and end up with another Champions League place and maybe even the FA cup trophy to celebrate?