Francis Coquelin has really surprised us and started to show why Arsene Wenger was right to have faith in him and keep him at the club, despite having to send the young Frenchman off on various loan moves just to get a game. But the bad luck that hit the Gunners with a string of injury problems was certainly good luck for Coquelin.
However, while the versatile player has begun to set down a marker for that problematic deep lying midfield role, it is still early days. And a lot of us are still hoping that the manager brings in a top class signing like Schneiderlin or one of the Bender brothers from the Bundesliga, either this month or in the summer.
Also, we know that Wenger has not really agreed with our need for a tough tackling defensive midfielder, as proved by his use of Mikel Arteta in the role. He even admitted that bringing Flamini back was not in his plans but the former Gunner convinced him while training with the squad.
Hopefully the effect Coquelin has had recently, especially away to Man City, will have convinced the boss that we do need that sort of player, but it is also clear that Coquelin could do himself, and the club, a massive favour by developing the passing and possession side of his game, as the stats on Squawka.com show.
I did this comparison between the three Arsenal players and included Matic from Chelsea and Schneiderlin from Southampton to give us a better overall view and it becomes obvious where Coquelin falls behind. His possession score is by far the lowest of the five, with Arteta easily in the lead.
When you break this down a bit though, Coquelin’s passing accuracy of 84 percent may be 10 points behind Arteta’s but is only three off Matic and five off Schneiderlin. The same is true of chances created but when you look at key passes per game, he is a bit better than the other Gunners.
Coquelin absolutely rules the defence stats, but if he could just take a little better care of the ball, I think it would be the making of him with Arsenal. Do you think he needs to or should he continue to focus on what he has been doing?