There have been various players that Arsene Wenger has turned to in an attempt to fill the very large gap left in the Arsenal side when our midfield star and captain Patrick Vieira left the club for Serie A and Juventus after scoring the penalty that handed the Gunners the last trophy that we were to celebrate for nine long years.
The Gunners have had other problems, no doubt, but the general failure of Arsenal players from Abou Diaby to Alex Song, Denilson to Arteta and many more to really replace the Frenchman has been a big reason for our struggles and a major talking point among us Arsenal fans.
So in the past when the subject of Vieira has come up, like today when our former captain turns 39-years old, it has usually been the signal for complaints and criticism of Wenger and the players that have been used in central midfield. Today, though, I think it is fitting that Squawka.com have run an article in which another former Gunners great Thierry Henry talks up the latest defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin.
Henry has been fulsome in his praise of the young Frenchman, explaining how he has brought the balance back to a side that was often very creative but too soft in the centre. And just as Vieira did, Henry feels that Coquelin has a very positive impact on the players around him.
He said, “One of the keys for me this year was how [Francis] Coquelin balanced the midfield. And he didn’t cost Arsenal anything.
“As soon as Francis came in the team, Santi Cazorla played way better, Alexis Sanchez is the x-factor, Olivier Giroud is scoring goals.
“You don’t win titles only because you spend money. You need to have the right balance in the team and consistency. Money doesn’t always buy you titles.”
So happy birthday Patrick and keep going Coquelin because you may just be the man to finally fill the boots of the great man.