Is Coquelin and Ramsey the best Arsenal midfield pairing?

I suspect that Arsene Wenger will put Granit Xhaka in the Arsenal starting line-up for the home game against Swanse City in the Premier League this weekend, as the Swiss international seems to be a big favourite of the manager, but I have serious doubts about whether Xhaka is the right man for the job and whether or not the Gunners best combination in central midfield is actually Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey.

Against the struggling Swans it should not matter too much if Xhaka has another one of his brain freeze moments like those we saw against Everton, Watford, Liverpool, Leicester City and others. Even if a sloppy pass or a momentary lack of focus leads to a goal there should be enough attacking ability in the Arsenal team to get away with it, as we did last weekend, but I do think it is a concern and especially so in a big game like the one coming up at Man City.

We simply cannot afford to give the runaway leaders any help. It is going to be hard enough for Arsenal to get anything at the Etihad anyway and despite Xhaka’s undoubted ability with the ball I do not think he offers enough defensively or has the right focus and discipline to be a top class holding player.

Perhaps with Elneny alongside Xhaka Arsenal have a very strong central midfield but it also lacks a cutting and creative edge, whereas Ramsey and Coquelin give you both. That’s my opinion at least, but what do you guys think is our best midfield pairing and does it depend on who we are up against?



  1. Xhaka is not good enough or he didn’t become the player we expected him to be but is far better than Ramsey when making good use of the ball his long range pass to open opponent, Ramsey don’t possess that quality,coquelin on the other lacks the same thing but i need him in the team cos is the only defensive midfielder that can win the ball from opponent right now,xhaka and Ramsey or eleny is waste of time cos they create that defensive cover for the back line

  2. Sorry but I don’t rate Coquelin. Yes Xhaka has been dodgy so I don’t really know who to partner Ramsey with. Elneny has been crap also so maybe stick with xhaka/Ramsey. I do like xhaka’s shooting from range & he has got an eye for a long range pass. Plus he’s quite nice looking ?

    1. Yes I too am hoping Xhaka can learn from his previous lapses. After he’s won the ball it always seems to be that he thinks he has more time on the ball than he actually has and so gets tackled. Hopefully Arsenal will show him a few replays of his mistakes and he can take note. Just to add to what Sue says I would also like him to make sure he times his tackles well – he’s got the natural aggression needed for that position so long as he doesn’t go overboard. Come on Xhaka – you can do it!

    Honestly, I don’t rate any of our central midfielders (except Cazorla) on the same level as Pogba, Kante, Matic, Gundogan, Wanyama, Gueye.
    Cazorla is the only consistent top central midfielder we have.
    Ramsey and Coquelin have some very good matches sometimes but not consistent enough. Is Xhaka worth £35 million? Very high expectations. Eleny is not of good enough quality but we only paid £5 million so no expectations.
    In the front of Central midfield Ozil is not consistent enough either. He had a good match against Everton though.

      1. Cazorla is the man and even made Coquelin look good as he basically did everything himself!!!!!!!!!!

        Ever since Cazorla got injured Coquelin showed his true level….but then Wenger already gave him a fat contract.

  4. If Ramsey is not from GB he would be long gone playing for Stoke. He s no good except runinng without the ball. Midfilder in Arsenal should be much better then that. Wenger didn t resigned Fabregas just to have clear place for his beloved Ramsey. Why nobody wants to buy him?

    1. Fully agree with you Maks, you mention Stoke, I thought he’d have gone to Cardiff, championship football is he’s level, we’ve had one good season from him since he signed for us, he’s Wenger’s pet ever since he beat Ferguson to his signature.

  5. Coquelin & Ramsey is not a bad combination from the available options. Xhaka & Coquelin might also make some sense. The combination of Ramsey & Xhaka can be dangerous (for us!) when both go too far forward and leave big gaps that can be exploited, especially on a counter attack. If they could sort out covering for the other when one goes forward or another team-based cover scheme for those situations maybe it could work. In general, this is a glaring area of possible improvement for future acquisitions. We have some good players there but not top class like would be needed to compete regularly with the top of the table or the best in Europe. I REALLY miss Cazorla!

  6. For me Ramsey is better further forward-

    So my preferred mid-field partnership would be Wiltshire and Coq.

    Jack’s great passer, can drift past players easily and inspire an attack.

    Coq is great tackler and hustler and breaks up play well.

    Think that’s a great combination. Only lacks the long balls that Xaka is so good at – but price for that is too hire with big mistakes in critical area.

    1. Like it Simon, I think with our limitations in midfield Jack and Coq, as long as he control the yellow cards, is well worth a try.

    2. Let’s be honest… Ramsey is better further forward but not for Arsenal as Arsenal we all want – fighting for the top spot (1st not 4th). Coq is a good player but again not good enough. I dnt know why Wilsher is not playing Cazorla position? I mean I dnt understand Wenger in many aspecs of the game but we can do n o t h i n g. about it. 🙁
      For the Board, Arsenal is “over-performing” but just in bringing money to the owners, and for them this is enough… it is not even capitalism… it s kind of neo feudalism, it s sick!

  7. There is no combination of our current available CM that is good enough for every match but on the average Xhaka/ Rambo remains our best.
    Xhaka’s slowness can’t be cured with wishes. It is rooted in his DNA.
    Ramsey is too offense minded but with a right partner would flourish.
    Coq cannot transition the ball forward. Against high press teams he’d be totally immobilized. Even his tackling ability is negated against fast passing team like City (remember how poor he was against Bayern). Elneny is neither here nor there.
    Am beginning to think that our wing backs are now used more conservatively going forward so as to provide defensive security to Rambo’s forward runs and Xhaka’s slow reaction handicap.

  8. I believe coq in de defensive midfield is a far better option in big games then xhaka. Xhaka cant defend, cant run, cant jump to head the ball but has a good long range pass coq does not hv. Xhaka will be good in small matches were arsenal do not defend much. Coq/cazorla our best midfield combination

  9. Coquelin and Xhaka have their pluses, and minuses. One is a little better defensively but doesn’t have that long range passing ability. Another is prone to stupid mistakes but can find that killer pass every once in a while, not to mention is not afraid to shoot from distance. Both though are somewhat disorganized, and slow. I’d gladly swap both of them for a true defensive mid in the mold of Kante or Matic. But we’ve got what we’ve got, and I think Xhaka/Ramsey or Coq/Ramsey is probably our best option depending on the opponent. Elneny doesn’t really do it for me, and Jack … well, if he can stay healthy, then perhaps he can be used in occasional game here and there but in general I don’t think we can rely on him too much.

  10. The need for an athletic defensive midfielder is evident and has been for over 6/7 years. Neither Cocquelin (who has never played at international level ) nor Elneny who is a decent buy at £5m fill the gap and Xhaka at £35m is an example of Mr Wengers incompetence in the transfer market . Deabuchy and Mustafi are further examples. There is absolutely no point in dwelling over Carzola who was a very fine player but is unlikely to regain full match fitness for some time if ever . In my opinion Ramsay is without doubt the most effective box to box player at the club but in the continued absence of a quality CM and CB Arsenal will continue to fall short . Why can’t Wenger and his management see what is glaring obvious to most sensible fans?

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