Dietmar Hamann has had plenty to say in the past about Arsenal and our deficiencies and his comments have usually centred around Arsene Wenger’s stubborn refusal to sign the defensive midfielder that many Arsenal fans and onlookers thought the Gunners were in desperate need of.
So fair play to the former Liverpool and Germany star for admitting that we now seem to have solved this weakness in the team with the young Frenchman Francis Coquelin. Hamann was very impressed with how well the 24-year old di and the impact his return from a loan spell had on Arsenal and our results in the second half of the season.
The German is aware that Coquelin has to pick up where he left off, as he told Talksport, but he does not seem to have too many doubts that he can, probably as Coquelin did not just rest on his laurels but kept improving as the season went on and saved his very best for last in the FA cup final.
So as long as Arsenal can keep our combative player free from injury, Hamann reckons we will be much closer to the top of the table next May and even that we have a good chance of finishing right at the top.
He said, “He made a huge difference to them, results improved dramatically [when he came into the side], and he gave them that protection in front of the back four.
“He had a massive influence and if he can repeat what he did last season I think they are set fair. With the likes of [Aaron] Ramsey and [Jack] Wilshere going forward they’ve got so much quality and you know they are always going to score goals, so defensively was always the problem with Arsenal.
“Coquelin deserves a big mention. Can he do it again? It remains to be seen but, if he does, they will be a lot closer come the end of the season.
“I expect them to be fewer than five or six points off the Premier League winners, and I think they’ve got a fighting chance to win it.”
So is Coquelin really the key man to Arsenal title hopes?