Arsenal fans have been surprised and delighted by the performances of our French midfielder Francis Coquelin this season. Having been recalled from his most recent loan spell because of an injury crisis in central midfiel, the 23-year old has never looked back and every good performance he puts in makes us believe more and more that we might finally have found a proper defensive midfielder.
But comparing him to our former captain and midfield warrior Patrick Vieira may seem a bit premature, especially as the former Gunner was more of an all-round player, helping the attacking side and chipping in with a few goals in every season.
But one man who knows Coquelin as well as anyone is Jack Wilshere, as the two spent years in the Arsenal academy system together. In an interview on the Arsenal website the England international was full of praise for his team mate, expressing his surprise that it took so long for Coquelin to force his way into the first team and show what he can do.
He also suggested that the Frenchman does have the ability to add a bit more forward play to his game, so maybe we will start to see that more from Coquelin once he feels a bit more stablished in the Gunners side. As long as he keeps doing what he has been doing on the defensive side, that would be great.
Wilshere said, “I’ve played with Francis in midfield since I was 15.
“I used to wind him up by saying, ‘Listen, you do all the dirty work and the tackling and then let me have the ball!’ But the thing is, he loves that side of it. He’s really good at it, he’s tenacious, the way he always goes after the ball. Not everyone has that ability to win the ball back and to be aggressive.
“I thought it was strange how he didn’t break through before because I’ve always felt that he could be the one to play in that position for us.
“I think there’s much more to come from him as well. He’s a great defensive midfielder, but going forward he was always a threat in the youth team. I think he can score goals too.”
So could Coquelin really turn out to be a new Vieira?
For the first time this weekend, we will be using a new app on Android or Apple for the fans to interact on Matchday, and this important game looks perfect to give it a first run out. Everyone can download the app on this link, and then join the Fan Club called Just Arsenal News. If you are asked for a code to join our Fan Club it is 1942M.
Lets get lots of JustArsenal regulars signed up and we’ll give it a test run on Saturday!