Did Wenger get Arsenal team with Coquelin badly wrong?

I have to admit that I was pleased to see the name of Francis Coquelin in the Arsenal starting line-up to face Man City away. I had been worried that having Granit Xhaka as the holding midfielder would be very risky as the Swiss international does not seem to be defensively disciplined or focused enough at times.

So despite Xhaka being in the team as well I was happy to see Coquelin included as I thought he would be playing alongside Xhaka in central midfield with Ramsey further forward, giving us extra strength if a bit less penetration. With illness keeping Mertesacker out of action and with Mustafi and Chambers still on the injury list Wenger clearly had a problem and I thought he had gone to a back four to solve it.

Then the game started and it turned out that Coquelin was being employed at the centre of a three man defence. Was this massive game against the most potent attack in the EPL really a good time to play someone in any position for the first time?

And if Wenger was determined to keep the same shape why not use Elneny who has played there a few times before? A Sky Sports analysis after the defeat suggests that the decision to use Coquelin in a back three badly backfired and although the Frenchman said differently he did replace Coquelin before an hour was up.

So was it just a poor performance from Coquelin who struggled to cope with the Man City pressing and completed only 65 percent of his passes, or was it Wenger’s fault for playing him in that position for the first time in his first EPL start of the season?



  1. gotanidea says:

    The players could lack the required quality, but ultimately it is the bad system that would make them play badly. Arsenal have to learn how to pass better first, before facing Tottenham, something that should have been addressed a long time ago.

    1. Nick says:

      This is so true and Alexis looked isolated up there on his own however if you keep giving the balll away at the edge of your own box and fail to clear it it was only going to be a matter of time until we got bitten. The pressure City put on us was more than we put on them. They chased us down when we stood and watched..

  2. arie82 says:

    New formation, new players, new players position..
    But same old sh**te
    Pass, pass, pass, go to back, pass to midlefield, pass, pass, go again to the back, pass, pass, to midlefield and the ball got stolen by opponent…

  3. Mitch Connor says:

    Wenger is to blame. He didn’t upgrade enough this summer. You can’t expect average players to beat an above average team

    1. Krish says:

      with which money could he have upgraded? it was made clear that wenger couldnt spend unless he sold some players but by then it was almost too late

      1. Lance says:

        Wenger had more than two months to sell the players he didn’t want but did nothing until it was too late. It is his fault for not selling the unwanted players to raise money for new ones.

        1. Break-on-through says:

          Goretzka in Xhaka out. How many points deficit has Xhaka being party to. Not just him to blame yesterday and it was offside but the reaction was Xhaka all over. He hasn’t got the brain for defensive play neither has he the agility. Midfield, esp CM, needs more. Id drop Ramsey for top half games unless he’s playing in a midfield three.

      2. Ray says:

        You just answered your own question, it was too late.

        Why? because..

        1.) He was caught sleeping again
        2.) Wanted too much for each of them
        3.) Nobody wanted them (not good enough)

    2. Paul says:

      Points from the game.
      Refereeing in England gets worse every season
      Sanchez likes to think he can carry the team but his talent is not enough for his physique, he just does too much with very little output.
      We are better with ozil, xhaka and sanchez out of the team
      We are better with Wilshere beside coquelin, Ramsey for ozil, nketiah and sanchez should fight for the position, Nelson challenging bellerin, monreal as a LEFT BACK but manageable as a LCB and Rob Holding as a RCB, koscielny in between them. mustafi
      We are better without ozil in the club, Walcott in the reserves, mertesacker in the reserves, we bought the wrong germans
      Koscielny or Wilshere or maybe Ramsey as captain, we don’t need inconsistent weaklings as captain anymore
      Ultimately, Wenger out of the club, this team will do better than a better football coach

      1. Max says:

        Ramsey as captain?!
        Perfect captain for today’s Arsenal!
        He will be long rembered 😉

  4. mikki says:

    You are asking if Wenger got it wrong with conquelin but what are you king to say of mesut ozil is suppose to influence the game,Wenger’s substitution baffled most of the time

    1. Max says:

      …Ozil has just a few players to play with. Do you honestly think that Ramsey is on the brain level that can understand what to do? He is running around like a headles chicken who wants to be a centarforward!

      1. Frank says:

        Pretty sure Ramsey had two shots on target and the assist for the goal. Where was Özil today? Oh yeah that’s right, the coward was in hiding again.

        1. Max says:

          Yes you are right, but please count how many times Ramsey lost a ball, or played it backward, or slowed it down?
          Or enjoy soon when Ramsey will be a captain, leading a new fantastic Arsenal:
          Holding – Koscielny – Mustafi – Gibbs (yes he will return 😉
          Kolasinac – Xaka – Coq – Cleverly (free transfer)

  5. Juhi McLovin says:

    We have not won away against top 6 team in 3 years. THREE YEARS. Explain that Mr “Professor”.

  6. Paul says:

    Plus how are they going to get sharper when you rest them in games that will boost their confidence and make them sharp

  7. Jimmy Jazz says:

    Wenger didn’t have too many options in defence. 4 CBs out injured. He could switch to a back 4 but switching formation a day or two before the game wouldve been a risk too. Elneny is new to the CB position and Debuchy hasnt played in EPL for about 3 years so I’m doubtful if either of those options would’ve done any better. We got beat by a better team and we knew long before the game they were better than us. Losing Mert and Holding a few days before made a difficult match nigh on impossible. I would like to see Wenger pick some stronger more athletic players for the rest of the season. Welbeck if he were fit may have caused them some problems. Maybe time to give Niles a game to replace Xhaka. Wilshere isn’t a great athlete but looks sharp and he should replace Ozil against the totts. We need to try and get one or two Kante type players in January.

  8. puntamarina says:

    Man city have better players. No contest. Arsenal will struggle to finish in the top 5.

  9. Bill Greg says:

    I see no comments as to why Iwoba was picked ahead of Lacazette and why he
    keeps being substituted. If Arsene wants to win games in PL then he must
    always pick the strongest side. Why was their a need to change a winning team.

  10. Sue says:

    Yes I believe he did, I’d rather he played Mertesacker or Debuchy & that’s saying something! Don’t even get me started on Iwobi & Ozil……
    Glad it’s the international break, although it’s crap, I need a couple of weeks off from this nightmare & to get ready for a NLD…. Then go through it all again ☹

  11. Ogban says:

    The last thing I want to be is a football manager unless it’s at a ManC, or a PSG where I can get any player I want!

  12. Jeremy says:

    Playing with only one striker, quite apparently praying for a draw but the gulf was just too wide.

    I think our possession was down to 20+% at one stage.

    Everyone else except himself was responsible for the lost.

  13. Break-on-through says:

    The Coquelin one was baffling. The decision to not change it til damage was done was baffling also. But what sort of game were we playing. Forwards were pushing high up the pitch pressing, then when city went past them the centre was easily bypassed. Huge gaps between forward midfield defence, then an unfit and out of form Coquielin is in a position he hasn’t got a clue about. It made us look unprofessional, amateurish. We had all week to prepare, the biggest game of our season and we didn’t look up for it top to bottom. We played straight into their hands. No belief whatsoever and we allowed city to change gears while we looked gutless. I expected a high energy performance at the least seeing as city played midweek while our players had time to get their act together. Really disappointed with what I saw.

  14. Ray says:

    I made an easy prediction here on Justsarsenal.com last week how we would be 12 points behind the leaders and out of the EPL by the beginning of November. I’m not going to say “I told you so” but I will say to all of you of believed we would get a good result against Man City, “Wake up”!

    You’ve been sucked up into the “machine” for too long. Your delusion is so damn obvious you are blind to it! Arsenal F.C told the fans that The Emirates stadium was needed to compete. And, they were right. Unfortunately, the competition was not about what happened on the field! It was about financial competition and, how much more the club can put into the coffers (Kronke’s pockets and the share holders pockets). It was never about investing in the very best players!!

    So, here we are today talking about how bad we were yesterday (again). Our run against the best teams still highlights the fact we are no where near good enough. And, to add salt to injury, Arsene still needs to lay blame on the referee. The excuses continue and the complete lack of tactical know how eludes him once more!? I’m sick of excuses. Play well and win well. That’s all I want from my Team and manager. Not this continuing torment and turmoil from a man who has been dishing out this s**t for far too long!!!!

    Personally, I think he just wants to beat Alex Ferguson’s management record as the longest serving manager at the same club. Just to get one over him of course!? After all, he is still living in the past.

    Anyway, onward and downward.. The fight for 5th is on!!

    1. Sue says:

      5th?? If we’re lucky

  15. Kats says:

    As Long as Xhaka and or Ramsey, no matter together or with another midfielder are starters, we are going to lose against many PL teams.
    I sometimes count 7/10 of balls touch from these guys is stolen by or given to opponent.


  16. Shahriar says:

    Arsenal has lack of confidence you can see this easily when they are try to pass the ball.
    Pluse, I don’t think Bellerin is a defender !!
    Whilsher should be in the first team and Xaqa out

  17. Avenger says:

    The fault for this lies just with the manager he is making many mistakes and consequently allowing the opposition an easy ride.
    It has been a long time since I saw Arsenal play well from the first minute to the last – this is surely down to a crisis of confidence among the squad. Arsenal’s problems are mostly mental, not technical.

    “Motivation is a major problem for several of Arsenal’s players – it’s clear that they aren’t always giving 100% out there. When the chips are down, several of them keep going missing. Sometimes talent wins you games, but sometimes spirit is also vital.”
    ‘Some of them do not seem to know what it means to wear that Arsenal shirt. ‘If Arsenal are to achieve anything this season, then the motivation must come back into the team – and Wenger is responsible for that.

Comments are closed