Arsenal has a BIG Le Coq problem but Wenger’s on top of it!

Why Arsene has got a massive Coq problem! But he may just have the solution for Arsenal….

Arsene has a problem – it’s big and delicate but it is the envy of many a manager in the EPL. Yes you guessed it, it is Coquelin and his rise in stature during the back end of last season.

So why is it a problem? I hear you ask. Well this is it. Coquelin is entering into his second season. Much like all the footballers that took last season by storm, the bar will be raised, like your Leicester’s who spend their first season being praised for staying up if they struggle in the same way next season, people will condemn them for their lack of progress. Players like Austin, Vardy and Ings will be under huge pressure to reproduce the same level as the season before and I’m sad to say that not all of these type of players will achieve that.

Just look at a player like Benteke, he had a worldie a few seasons ago but has never really recaptured that form. The difference between a really good player and a world class player is reaching that level and then maintaining it.

So the question is how does Arsene maintain Francis’s level of focus and intensity to ensure that he continues to thrive and grow into the legendary defensive midfielder that he can be?

Well the answer is short and sweet, bring in competition for his place. At the moment I would not need to take a gooner vote to find out which player would make their starting 11 in that defensive midfield role out of him, Arteta and Flamini. Le Coq wins all day long.

Aside from the fact that, should Coquelin get an injury we would be back in the same position we were before January there is also another problem that could arise and as an example I look at an ex-Gunner and his name is Alex Song.

He, like Coquelin, came from a Charlton loan spell, and like Coquelin he provided some athletic and dogged performances breaking up opposition attacks and playing to his strengths during his first season. Roll on a couple of seasons and he was brilliant, acting something close to the River Dance, scoring goals and pinging balls into the box for RVP. All sounds good right? Only those who really watched his performances would have noted that for every ball that worked out, nine went astray, and in the end he spent more time playing as the most advanced player, forcing Santi back to where Arteta should have been playing and Arteta into the defensive midfield role, before feeling he was too good for Arsenal and leaving for Barcelona to shine Messi’s boots.

So who should get the job of pushing Coquelin? Many would like to see players like Vidal, Gundogen or Pogba. There is no doubt that these names would be great at Arsenal but I have two problems with signing the likes of these players.

Firstly the players listed above are not defensive midfielders, both Pogba and Vidal are box to box players, they work off of each other much like Schneiderlin and Wanyama at Southampton. One goes and the other sees the hole and sits. Coquelin doesn’t offer that option at the moment he just sits, so Arsene would effectively be buying a replacement for Santi, Ramsey or Wilshire all of which are class! And Arsene will already have headaches deciding who to play as it is….

Secondly if, say for example, it worked and Vidal decided he would change his game slightly to a more sitting defensive role, it would quite simply be the end of Coquelin’s budding career. Many may say that this is what competition is all about but sometimes in football it is more about reputation, transfer fee and attitude.

Look at Ozil- When he was struggling for form. It was expected that Arsene would not drop him because of his name, his previous achievements, the 42 mil Arsene spent getting him and because he was dropped from Real Madrid a few times and he was off. Why spend 30-40 mil and stifle Coquelin’s career for a player who doesn’t necessarily perform in that position naturally anyway and Coquelin could potentially do a better job and knows the country, league and club well?

So what is the solution? Well this is a solution that has come to mind and is a very Arsenesque type solution. And it won’t be to every gooners taste but might just work while keeping the balance of the team.

Gabriel Paulista, now before you roll your eyes and sign off consider this, we effectively need a player that is a duplicate of Coquelin in his style of play. Gabriel is great at intercepting, positioning, tackling but most importantly keeps his game simple. He is also mobile and at 6ft 1 1/2 he has got better height the Le Coq. From what I’ve seen of him so far he is strong aerially as well. He has had half a year getting to know the club and his teammates as Arsene was describing in a recent interview that Gabriel could be revolutionary for Arsenal next season, is this what he meant?

I still think that Per and Koscielny will be Arsene’s no.1 & no.2 choice for centre back next season and I often felt that when this partnership was first created that Arsene should have at least attempted to offer our former captain, Vermaelen the chance to try his hand at this role.

Just to top it off Gabriel has mentioned before that one of his heroes is Gilberto Silva. If he can emulate anywhere near his ability then he would be the perfect Coquelin back up. If Arsene tested this out during pre-season I think that the worst that could happen is that he struggles and we have to go out to the market, and if he does well it will give Coquelin food for thought and should drive him on next season, while us Gooners will all sleep better knowing that if Coquelin gets injured there is someone capable to fill his role (that isn’t Arteta who’s legs have gone) or Flamini who isn’t quite good enough.

I think this would provide us with well-balanced competition in that position similar to the Monreal/Gibbs and Bellerin/Debuchy competition. It gives Gabriel more chance of playing and we could buy another cheapish Young up and coming utility player strong in the more defensive roles and use the rest of the money on Cech and a top, top draw striker.

What do you think fellow gooners?

Written By Darren Woolford.

Tags Coquelin Le Coq


  1. we need competition and backup for every player not only Le Coq

    Esp Alexis…if he gets injured whos good enough to replace him and carry the team??

    whos good enough to pressure and provide competition Alexis to perform even better?

    1. Well said and my thoughts too that we have the players already in the squad to back up, take Sagna better at centre back than right back!Debuchey can play centre back as can Monreal. The one place that is not covered is the Striker position and you can’t fill that in with switching players around. Giroud and who ever should fill that spot and fight to play. CB

  2. Grooming Gabriel for a back-up DM role will destroy his confidence and hinder his development as a first-choice CD. If we don’t go out and buy another DM this off-season to compete and push Coq (who, frankly, DESERVES to remain our first-choice DM), then the player to groom for the back-up role would be Chambers. He’s our 3rd choice RB and 4th choice CB (5th, if Hayden develops), so he’d probably appreciate any chance we can throw him for additional game time.

    1. A DM would be sign to compete with Le Coq.
      But for how much? Kondogbia and Scheiderlein are all quoted from 25M upwards.
      Are they a real upgrade from Le Coq who is voted our 2nd best player last season? Can they just walk in our first 11 like Alexis did last summer? I don’t think so.
      Given we have a budget around 60M (base on last season number) – spent 10M on Cech, and we have around 50M left + any potential sales.
      Spending half of our remaining budget on a DM who may not walk in our first 11 is such a luxury that Arsenal FC still cannot afford.
      What happened if top players such as Reus/Benzema available later in the window, will our remaining budget of 30-35M can beat the like of Man Utd/Man City to their signature? Absolutely not.
      The only way that can improve Arsenal FC right away for next season is proven top class player only, who had been tried, tested and win in top leagues and top teams. Not wannabe, overhyped, overpriced players promoted by the media. Cech is absolutely fit the bill which I can not wait to see it happen. The next one I believe we should be patient and see what happen next ( no top top quality is available at the moment) – if Pogba leave for one of the top team, it can cause a domino effect that makes other top players available for grab too

    2. What about Song as back up? Surely he’s available for peanuts, he knows the club, the position etc I have a feeling him and Wenger have issues but him to me would be a very shrewed Wenger type signing

  3. fans just love to convert players roles…CB to DM…..

    i wouldnt be surprise if someone wants to covert Giroud to a Goalie or CB

  4. I have a big Le Coq problem too… 😉
    Competition is good…if you know what I mean. 😀

  5. I expect Wenger to buy a younger DM to provide cover for Coquelin..I can’t see him buying someone who will replace one if his own. Remember he brought him as a 17 year old from his village in France..I really see us going for Adrien Rabiot. The guy is younger, physical and has fantastic technique..and cheap his agent (mum) is agitating for a move to the EPL..

      1. Sorry ignore above comment it replicated from above somehow. However I don’t agree with Rabiot as he has been moaning about opportunities for last 2seasons. What word he do at AFC on bench and how would this affect moral. There seems to b slight under current of moaning by players not getting into 11he may end up light the fuse and ruin good team spirit.

  6. I think we to pay more than the romoured value..I mean more than 30m. To get WC players, we have to pay more. Or else we should be happy with cheap n young potential players..n sure we aren’t gonna win title.

  7. I dont see us signing any DM to be honest,im ok with that.i would like to see Bielik given a run out or chambers as it was rummoured a season back,we are the arsenal ,we dont just buy ,we look at wat we hve first

  8. If the person thinks competition is enough for the team then I am happy to say arsenal will 6-0 again cause if you play wilshere,arteta in the same time you are screwed. Both these players are weak and when they played arsenal don’t win a lot of matches including (“flamini”)
    Arsenal wenger has to buy a CDM like cavarlho or one of the bender brothers or probably Kramer from Mgladbach

  9. @supertuur. Really? I thought MU had it sown up?
    For me if we can’t or don’t want to spend big money on a DM player someone like James McCarthy would be perfect. Young, energetic, physical and no ego so should be happy to sit and defend either ahead of Coq, (if he’s injured) or alongside him when we need to go defensive.
    We also need to keep an eye on Bielek, although young and gangly Wenger bought him for a reason and stated ‘we would not see him this season, (2014/2015)’ but maybe next?
    Keep feeding him the protein shakes and get him working hard in the gym and he may be exactly what we need.
    1. Cech, (for a fee and no player swap).
    2. Bielek/Mccarthy. Saying this I’d be delighted if we sign Schneiderlin/Kondogbia/Vidal etc
    3. Lacazette/Benzema/Martinez etc.

  10. Gab has been brought in to replace Mert and solidify our back 4. We just bought Bielik who could in a few years be a good DM. Chambers is being groomed as a CB but also as a DM. I don’t see wenger spending the big bucks on a fully established DM.

    That said…William Carvalho absolutely bossed the England U21s and is a Wenger type signing. With the rumours out there this week THAT is something I could see happening.

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