Arsenal boss defends Coquelin! Arrogance or Belief?

One of the major criticism leveled at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger´s transfer policy on Monday night by Gary Neville was the same issue that a vast majority of us fans have been left frustrated by for many years, namely the Defensive Midfield debate.

Neville really laid into Wenger over what he called the naive or arrogant refusal by the Arsenal boss to sign the sort of player that Neville thinks we need to strengthen the spine of our team. He referred back to the days when Arsenal and Man United were fighting for dominance, with Patrick Vieira filling the position.

Vieira´s old team mate Thierry Henry stuck up for the boss, saying it was belief in his players rather than arrogance that drove Wenger´s decision making and the man himself dismissed Neville´s criticism. Yesterday he spoke about the player now filling that `Vieira´ role, suggesting in a Daily Mail report that Francis Coquelin was proving himself to be more than up to the task and suggesting that his stats prove it.

Wenger said, “I think we have had that debate for a long time now – `Arsenal does not buy defensive players´ — but Coquelin has the best defensive statistics and numbers in Europe.

“Defensively, Coquelin is doing a great job. Since January, we have conceded fewer goals than anybody else.

“Look, I am not against opinion. People can say they don’t think Arsenal is good enough. I accept that. But it is dangerous to say “He will never be a player” — especially when the comment has come from people in football.”

So was he right? Was he talking through belief of arrogance? Well so far this season the Frenchman is the fourth ranked Premier League player on when it comes to tackling and one-to-one duels and he has only played 201 minutes while the three players narrowly ahead of him have all played 270 minutes.


I have also done this stats comparison between Coquelin and some of the players most highly rated in the EPL last season. Against the likes of Matic, Carrick, Schneiderlin and Fernandinho, the Arsenal star´s stats come out very favourably, especially on the defensive side of things where his score of 20.56 per 90 minutes is miles ahead of the rest.

So I would have to say that Wenger is right to have belief in Coquelin. The only problem is, however, how we would cope without him.

Tags Coquelin Wenger


    1. i am not against Le coq’s Rise and Rise……… I’m only scared to see him Limp off a pitch (see the Liverpool game)…….and have nobody carry on the job…… Guess Wenger never sees, cuz he never looks

      1. Its not Le coq that’s the issue here, Coq has been absolutely fantastic, does everything and more that is needed by that position. Its the fact that pairing him with Cazorla or Ramsey does not intimidate teams. The individuals are great players they just don’t have that presence on the pitch yet. Busquets has a presence, Vidal, Toure, Matic, even Schweinstieger. Where and who is Arsenals presence. This is what is meant as lack of leaders really. Great players no fear factor. No killers!

    2. BREAKING : “Arsenal can’t win the League with kids” – Gary Neville

      Hahahahahaha……. Expecting a Wenger response to this dig soon!

    3. We can blame Giroud all we want for failing to run into spaces behind defenders to receive a pass from Ozil. But every one knows Ozil is probably the most predictable player on earth , hence defenders will just sit back and heckle Giroud cos they know Ozil never shoots..
      And pls never ever ever in your lives compare Ozil to Silva
      Ozil is a 42million waste of investment we will never reap.. C’mon every player can do what ozil does , he only passes the ball around and around all day
      He doesn’t tackle
      He doesn’t shoot
      He doesn’t head
      He even has no passion to moltivate his fellow mates..

      Giroud was bought 4yrs ago for 10 or 15 .. And I must say he has served us very well.. We really would be perfect with a Cavani (Don’t tell me Benzema cos datz another Ozil)

      WE NEED

      1. yeah silva is better than ozil who has suckish passes doesnt create chances in a very low team that plays boring football
        whilst silva is the most intelligent player on the planet. he has also beem shortlisted at the ballon d or in the past three years. some fans have no reasons of living

  1. What I like best about his game this year is his ability to look up and switch fields. There comes a time in games especially at home though when he is not needed because many teams will just defend. AW must recognize this asap and get someone in like the Ox.
    Two center backs don’t need a third defender to cover for them if there is at best one outlet.

  2. the word “Arrogance” and “naivety” has become a household word since gary neville L()L

  3. If we don’t sign someone equal or better than Coquelin for replacement or rotation and expect him to last the whole season then there’s only 1 clear answer to that question. THE OBVIOUS!!! No one, NOT 1 player in the team should be immune from being dropped. Not a championship winning team at least in my opinion…

  4. Save for Petr Cech who indirectly signed himself(who says he could have joined arsenal if he were 1st choice at chelshit????)……. ARSENAL has made Z-E-R-O signings so far this window!……… What a successful window….Wenger must be thinking!

    1. No, he’s been busy 247 looking for that top top player better than what we have.
      Haven’t many been bought already by some clubs? Yet they are working hard to find one.

  5. Le Coq is not the problem. He does the job we need him to do. The problem is we haven’t brought anyone in that can do the job he currently does or better.

    I understand that there may not currently be a 9 available that is bang on better than Giroud, but I’d like to have seen Arsene maybe take a stab at Jackson Martinez earlier in the window, or truly make an offer to PSG that might entice them to balance their books and sell Cavani – saying this with the understanding that I don’t know that I’ve seen him be spectacular in recent memory, but with the squad of players that would be behind him, certainly he could improve us.

    Main problem — even if we purchase these players Wenger appears to struggle managing a big squad, and properly rotating/balancing the team.

    I think we gooner fans are so frustrated because the end of last season seemed to show us just how close we were/are to being the top team in the league and truly challenging in Europe. All we heard about was “the special feeling” inside the team, and how “we feel like we can do something great this year” blah blah blah. Then we go through the summer, and have to watch all the teams that finished above us last year take the necessary steps to strengthen, while we do nothing to fill 2 gaping obvious holes, and our manager still fields a side that is unbalanced and is struggling to put the ball in the goal.

    It’s just so frustrating. I’m not one to give up on the Gunners, and will continue to give my heart every game. However, until I see a matched ambition from the manager though, I will not be allowing the negative results to ruin the rest of my day as they often do. How can I expect the team to perform to the idea that I hold them to, if the manager won’t set us up to be successful?


  6. the arrogance of dat man……. funny enuf, Neville is very ryt…….I actually respect him and ull see from his speech dat he is just plainly frustrated by Wenger and he is not even a fan of arsenal…..dat fool just talks about statistics like dats whats goin to win games for u….if a player is making astronomical number of tackles in a match then ur team is rili useless cuz he’s doing other ppls job…..

  7. So far am totally impressed with Coq, in my opinion he has done a great job thus far. But the big question is how long will it take before he either gets a suspension, gets injured, burns out, dips in form or becomes too comfortable due to lack of competition?

    Anyone who has followed football long enough knows that these issues i listed above are constants and will always occur in every team and every season. And thats why we have been screaming to the high heavens for competition for Coq in that DM position. Wanyama is currently very “available” and i don’t see why Wenger has not gone for him yet, since he insists he only goes for “available” players. Please Mr. Wenger Wanyama is “available” can someone draw his attention?

    Lets face it, the truth is if Wenger and his AKBs think that Coq alone will be sufficient for that role then they are more “naive” and “arrogant” than we believe.

  8. Coquelin is not the problem. He is brilliant. There may be up to 65 games this season. With injuries, suspensions, tiredness, and loss of form we will need cover for Coquelin. Arteta/Flamini will slow our intensity. We need to cover for Coquelin. If we don’t get it we are screwed. Wake up Wenger.

  9. Wenger is one of the most stubborn and arrogant managers in the world! Wenger is so arrogant that he believes that his current squad is so exceptional that there are no players in the world that could make the squad stronger.

    If there are players available that had the skill and talent to strengthen the squad, then why isn’t he buying them? The club is flush with cash and the money is there to spend. The other clubs in the top of the league have been able to buy players, why not Arsenal?

    Wenger must believe he has the strongest possible squad in the world. There is no other logical explanation. He said today essentially that Coquelin is the best defensive midfielder in the world and he has the statistics to prove it.

    Let’s face it – Wenger is lost in his delusions! It is a pity because with several key additions they could win the league.

  10. coquelin is doing great at the moment, but a TOP TOP club doesn’t rely on a single player who has no competition for his place.A title winning side takes risk in buying better than what we already have. There are shortages of TOP TOP striker i can buy into that, but i refuse to believe that there are no better cdm than coquelin. We need an extra dmf who will challenge coquelin for his starting place or just as a back up but we need that player season is too long lots of injuries can happen and who will take his place if coquelin gets injured an old and rusty arteta .Its not buying for the sake of buying its what a team with ambition would do.Have a plan b. I am seriously worried that wenger is having amnesia or some problem. He can’t see the flaws in our team and his tactics which the whole world could see. we need a striker and a cdm for sure still time but m worried if we drop too many points early new signings wouldn’t even change our fate that is the 4th place trophy.

  11. Man U, Chelsea + City
    have an arrogant or
    naive belief that
    they should win the EPL every year.
    So if their Managers go more than 1 or 2 years
    with out winning the EPL they sack them.
    The Arsenal Owner, Board, CEO Manager have no
    such qualms about the paucity of recent EPL wins
    but rather espouse the efficacy of the top 4 “sustainable” model.
    To be fair the Arsenal management has been
    well skilled in moderating the majority fan expectations.
    So successful that 75% of fans will go to any lengths
    to justify in fact celebrate the 11 year hiatus.
    25% , myself included believe we should win more often
    (for me once in 4 years would be realistic.)
    Naivety arrogance or plain stupidity abounds when
    7 teams including Everton and Spurs believe
    they can all finish number 1 in the same season.
    Ardent Footballer fan’s unrealistic expectations
    leads inexorably to disappointment frustration
    and anger, some times for decades.
    Surely we can all be logical, fair minded and reasonable?
    Not on your life we are football fans 🙂

  12. Coquelin seems to think he’s Pirlo now. Pings passes across the pitch all the time – shame they’re innaccurate and generally cause us to lose possession or lose the flow of our attack.

    Last season he was great. He did his job – stop the danger, regain possession and give it to Cazorla who will start the attack. He’s still been good defensively in tackles etc, though he has made more mistakes already this season than I can remember him making all last season. He needs to stop trying to do too much.

    And yes, to say it for the millionth time, we need another DM. Krychowiak.

  13. İ can bet top dollar,if le coq wasn’t an Arsenal player, these Pundits and some fans here would be saying “Arsenal lacks someone like Coquelin, who wins back balls in dangerous positions and not afraid to make a tackle. Someone who protects the back four”… the thing is, any stats which show Arsenal players are better than players from other top are nosense in the face of these pundits and some of Arsenal fans.

    No one would be complaining if Arsene bought le Coq this summer at £40M and gets straight into the starting line up,with Arteta as his back up. These same pundits are saying we need another CB ( forgeting we acquired Gabriel on Jan). Don’t get me wrong Arsene haters,am defending Wenger lack of spending, i feel gutted by the fact that our CF isn’t consistent, and i really want a world class CF, but i hate it when some fans believe the media talk.

    Most heard Grzegorz Krychowiak this summer and are rating him higher than the le Coq, but the stats which say le Coq is better than him don’t mean a thing,come on guys,the grass is not always greener on the other side. Few tackles from coquelin during palace game,saw him get slated by these same pundits and some Arsenal fans, but when Wanyama,Matic,Ramires and Fernandinho does it, they are considered heroes. Players who can die for their teams…

    1. This.
      I wonder if we had signed Coquelin for 30-40m this window if folks would still be clambering for another DM. I somehow doubt it. I agree he can’t play every game though and tomorrow is the type of game where, if Koscielny was healthy, I would have liked to have seen him rested.
      This is also as good a time as any to point out that if Wenger had listened to the calls last year to sign M’villa, Matuidi, Wanyama, etc – Coquelin would probably still be playing for Charlton. Sometimes, by design or luck, the old fella gets it right.

  14. Any Arsenal fan that’s happy with the current Arsenal is not serious. I am a fair Arsenal fan I think. I watch all games on T.V because I am far from The Emirates and Europe. One thing about me though, I feel a little pain when we lose. I am so used to Arsenal always settling for less. I am waiting the day Wenger and Kroenke leave this mighty team perhaps I can become a better fan. Otherwise, better be like me. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t take Arsenal seriously.

    1. Look I have supported Arsenal from I was a kid in the 70’s. We won the league in the 1970 season but never won it again for 18 years or so. Some fans on this site don’t seem to realise that winning the league in any era is no given right. It’s no easy accomplishment. This rash childish view that’s being adopted by a lot of fans today saddens me, support the team and manager! Moaning about this and that obviously does absolutely no good because let’s face it, Wenger does not listen to the fan ranting or else we would have bought M’Villa, Balotteli, Capoue, we would have sold Koscienly, Monreal and Coquelin! I guess what I’m saying is just appreciate the good times because they’re not always as close as they feel!

  15. Turns out Arsene Wenger was 99% right that le Coq is among top DMs in Europe if not the best. Read this from

  16. Arsenal’s glory years weren’t just because of Patrick Vieira. It was largely due to his solid partnership with Gilberto Silva. I personally think we should have signed a another defensive midfielder to play alongside Coquelin, really shore up the defence and play with pace up front, like Henry, rather than play it forward and wait, like Giroud.

  17. “Arsenal doesn’t buy defensive players”
    Well that pretty much guarantees that we won’t get another Top DM. Wenger is purely attack minded and Coquelin was sheer good luck.

    If that’s the case (we don’t buy defensive players) then Wenger MUST sign more than one Top attacker to compensate. He needs to turn Arsenal into a freaking goal factory because Chelsea, United and City have more than 1 good DM and at least one Top DM

    I mean Cavani for example won’t be enough. He would also need to sign a LW at least like Reus Greizmann, Draxler, Gotze etc.

    This anti-DM philosophy is very dangerous especially considering our glory days involved Patrick Viera. Wenger doesn’t have a good memory. Very sad, frustrating and arrogant comment

    The staff (assistant managers and coaches) must also be YES MEN, because I can’t believe they feel the same way

    Lets hope he is right. I will be more than happy to be wrong if we win trophies. Winning the PL, CL, FA Cup is all I care about. Very depressing comment from Wenger

  18. They said you don’t know what you have until you lose it..Bottom line is that Coquelin is a very very top Defensive midfielder and he is still growing

  19. You can’t play 2 DMs together, 1 of the 2 must be a holding player, and the other a creative player. That’s why the Boss has been pairing Coquelin & Cazorla together at the base of Arsenal midfield. Just like Chelsea play Matic & Febregas, Man City play Silver & Yahaya Tuare, Liverpool play Hendenson & Coutinho and Man Utd play carrick & Herrera together in their last Ucl qualifier. By the way, MUST Arsenal sign another DM when Flamini has refused to go to Turkey except Arsenal pay him off. We should be praying for Coquelin to stay strong on his feet all season through. And not to be anticipating for an injury that will sideline him or get him match suspended. Besides, he’s not the injury kind of a guy. The Boss did not only has belief in Coquelin ability, but also trust his competence to cover Arsenal back line.

    1. Your pairings are wrong except for chelsea’s FAb and matic, compared to the Cazorla and Cog

      Silva- ozil

      Cotinho- ozil

      Herrera/rooney – ozil

      Yaya+fernandinho = COq + Caz

      Henderson + Leiva or Kan or Allen = Coq +caz

      Schniederlin + Carrick or the german fellow = Caz +Coq

      get your midfield pairing straight

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs