There were no negatives to come out of Arsenal’s victory against Chelsea yesterday, in what was a fantastic 3-0 win! The Gunners put in a stunning performance, both as a team and as individuals on the pitch, to return North London to the top of the bragging rights. There were no disappointments for Arsenal fans at all, besides one small matter of midfielder Francis Coquelin’s injury.
It came to many fans surprise when Wenger decided to stick to his guns and continue to play Francis Coquelin ahead of summer signing Granit Xhaka, despite the Swiss international’s great start to his Arsenal career. Coquelin was picked ahead of Xhaka to start, but the Frenchman had to be withdrawn midway through the first half due to injury and he was replaced by Xhaka in what turned out to be yet another fantastic display from the new signing.
It was hoped that despite the eagerness to see Xhaka in a starting role with the squad, that Coquelin’s injury wouldn’t be anything too serious. Coquelin has proven ever since he returned to the Gunners in a state of desperation a few seasons back, that his role is vital on protecting the back line of defence on the pitch. His efforts for the Gunners have always been 100% and although he can occasionally get himself into a bit of trouble, Coquelin has dramatically improved Arsenal in my opinion. His latest injury however will of course mean that he misses at least the next few matches, although today Arsene Wenger reportedly revealed that it’s even worse news than we originally thought.
It is being reported this evening that Francis Coquelin has suffered a similar injury to the one he sustained last season. In the 2015-16 campaign, Coquelin missed several months with a knee injury and now according to Arsene Wenger, the defensive midfielder has sustained a knock in the same place. This means it is highly likely Coquelin will miss at least another two months of the campaign, potentially more given that it is a reoccurrence of a previous injury, although both reports and recovery expectations remain unconfirmed.
It’s very unfortunate news for Coquelin if this does turn out to be the case, because the French midfielder has clearly put in some well recognised performances to keep Granit Xhaka out of the starting eleven. At least this season we are well prepared and capable of replacing players in like for like cases, because instead of having to bring on a player such as Flamimi in place of Coquelin, like we did last year, this year the likes of Xhaka, Ramsey and Elneny will all be capable of stepping up to the task.
Whilst we wait for official confirmation of the expected duration of injury, I’m sure all Gunners will be thankful for him putting his body on the line, in front of Kante’s powerful force. All the best Francis, make a speedy recovery!