Should Arsenal carry on with Coquelin against Man City?

With the Arsenal injury situation slowly changing from crisis to merely problematic, Arsene Wenger is hoping to have a much stronger squad of fit players to choose from for the trip to face the Premier League champions at the Etihad stadium on Sunday.

And that squad could well include Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, as well as Aaron Ramsey, giving the boss many more options than he has had recently for the centre of midfield. But with the Gunners having done pretty well without them in the last couple of games, I wonder whether Wenger will consider keeping the same players in his starting line-up and I am specifically thinking about Francis Coquelin.

The young Frenchman has been getting better game by game in the absence of Arteta and Flamini, with the latter sitting out the win over Stoke on the bench. It is Flamini, I would suggest, that is more likely to come in for Coquelin, as an away game with Man City will require solidity and defensive strength from Arsenal, rather than the passing and vision of Arteta. But is Flamini a better option than Coquelin.

The stats on the two Frenchmen compiled by suggest that there is little to choose between the two. Flamini has the better overall score but that is mainly down to his better possession stats.

The younger man wins on the defensive side of things, with more interceptions and clearances per game, a higher percentage of duels won and twice as many successful tackles per game. Maybe the most telling and the reason I think Wenger should stick with Coquelin for this game, is that he is yet to make a single defensive error. The lad is feeling confident as well and is showing the discipline that a good defensive midfielder needs.

So Gooners, would you stick with Coquelin against Man City?

Tags Arteta Flamini


      1. This is the kind of thing I alluded to below. Yes he was sold, cos he wasn’t good enough….

        Same as eisfield, miyachi, miquel etc Christ if you have any real sstandard for Arsenal you’ll see these players aren’t/weren’t gonna make the grade. I swear some fans think every academy name is the next worldy in his position.

    1. I am putting an interesting theory here.
      There are some players who play really good football with inferior players, as they shine alone in that category. Eventually when these types of player come to higher level i.e. premiere league, they start to fade as there are far more better players than him in that category, for example Joel Cambell, Benik afobe, Bendtner, Arshavin etc. There are some player who seem average with inferior players but play very good football with top level players as they keep the game simple and tight and link up with them beautifully. Coquelin and Eisfield came into this category. Coquelin did not become a good player overnight. He wasn’t given chance to play with senior players. He keeps the game simple which is helpful for the team. Even Eisfield showed these qualities and I still think he should have given chances to play in the senior squad once or twice. It was a lucky break for coquelin as the midfielders got injured and he got the opportunity to showcase his real talent. Managers should be smart to know the players more and put the players in the appropriate ponds.

      1. Here’s my theory…

        We don’t have an actual DM, my gran would be an upgrade on Flamini, which is making Coquelins input seem all the more impressive. Fact remains he’s still not elite as a DM, and is wowing a few far too easy for being little more than solid.Matic is the benchmark but any of the following are buyable and far better than Coquelin:
        That’s only a half dozen off the top of my head. Some fans on here need to take the Arsenal specs off and see players for what they are. He’s decent, but if the league title and CL are our ambition then he’s not first 11 material.

        1. Maybe – not saying FC is the answer but Matic has 3 years on FC and you could certainly say that Matic was a long way from being any sort of benchmark at Coquelin’s age – pretty much a reject in fact. No-one was raving massively about Matic before his return to Chelsea.

          1. When he established himself as the new benchmark is irrelevant, it’s what he embodies as a DM that is in question. While Coquelin may or may not improve the fact remains he’s not comparable to the best DMs in the game right now….

            and you don’t win titles with players who might get better playing as THE best option in any given position. Matic in his first spell at Chelsea had one of the current best in Essien ahead of him, so the best played (essien) and when Matic got better he came back.

            I’m not saying coquelin isn’t good or won’t get better. I’m saying a club like Arsenal should have a player like Schneiderlin who is comparable to the best in the game at DM, with Coquelin pushing him. We shouldn’t be satisfied with a guy who is decent and who may or may not reach a required level.

            1. Fair reply – but the reality is that “benchmark” players are not on the market that often for obvious reasons. You might have no choice but to develop players. And what are we saying here – that we never have developing and maturing players in our 1st team ranks? I take the point though – City and Chelsea have a distinct preference for off the shelf prime-age fully developed players – expensive, low-risk and a good recipe for success. Truthfully though, I wouldn’t like us to go that way – just my opinion.

              1. I wouldn’t agree jonestown, I think anyone I named could be had this month at varying prices. It irks me that a club with our financial potential hides behind “traditional” values like this nurture concept. We don’t actually produce many academy players that hit the first 11. The main reason we go for this “make stars, not buy them” is because it’s expensive. Well that’s football in 2015 I’m afraid, you want the best players you pay top dollar.

                Not advocating a Chelsea approach, I detest that plastic nonsense. But in 2 or 3 areas Iddon’t think we should be cutting corners quite like we are.

                I think we need a CB, DM, and ST of elite quality to make us equipped to challenge. Hummel’s, Gustavo, Cavani types if you like.

        2. 3 of the list have no premier league experience and one of those 3 is younger than coquelin with less matches behind him. Of the other 3 only wanyama is a proper dm and likewise is very young. As for song well, he was a disaster at arsenal for all but one season, he flopped in Barcelona and is still not first choice at West Ham, he cannot even make the Cameroon team!!!
          Seems people will have anyone as long as he costs £20m plus. The same people whinge when we sell players like afobe, but then whinge again when we give a chance to coquelin!!!

          I say see what happens against man city, if coquelin performs in front of a decent back 5, whilst the attacking 5 continue their recent 2+ goals performances, then we should nick a win or at least come away with a point and some restored hope. May be one of the attacking 5 might have to be sacrificed for flamini, but with Walcott, chamberlain, cazorla, rosicky, Ramsey, ozil, giroud, campbell and alexis all fit and vying for a start it’s going to be a hard call only playing 4 of them and an even harder call to leave 2 out from the 18 altogether.

          1. Arsene, that you? Any excuse not to properly invest ehh? Got this kid here who failed at Freiburg and was MIA at Charlton… He could be our Matic right? Yea go on, saves me spending 20mil on someone we know is at that level. Standard Arsenal of the last decade.

            Look at all the red thumbs cos you mention a player who has a few good games as still ‘not good enough’. Same ones who last year worshipped Per as brilliant and now call for ANYONE to replace him. Fickle football fans. If you’re satisfied with Coquelin so be it. Everyone outside the Arsenal bubble knows there’s plenty better….but let’s just “wait and see”, as that’s what all the title challenging teams do. Brilliant stuff.

        3. No thumbs up for you Charles again best think before giving negative comments I am really hopeing now that Coquelin has a blinder to shove it up your A::::: CB

          1. Funnily enough Luko I’m hoping he has a blinder too seeing as I’m an Arsenal fan….

            Only difference being, I know either way that he doesn’t get stack up against the very best DM in Europe. So I’d quite like the club, whose fans pay highest prices in Europe, to maybe go out and buy one of the best instead of taking the cheap option. Don’t think I’m asking for much of a club who’s one of the top half dozen earners in world football.

            So you stick to your “I told you so Charlie” bollocks and I’ll keep my concerns on the clubs ambitions. Ok?

            Oh and if Coq has a stinker and gets found out I won’t be rushing to rub it in, cos I’m not a 7 year old mate. But whatever works for you.

      2. True life answer.
        When I was 14, I was a wonderkid. By the time I was 19, I knew I was not going to make it.
        Reason? As you step up in age and class the “not so good” fall away. You are left with better and better players to compete with. The cream is rising so to speak, the ordinary fall by the wayside. It is a natural progression.
        The top 1% of footballers play for the top teams. The rest of us are destined for 3.Bundesliga, League1 and pub and village teams, and so on.

        The entire point of the Academy is to identity the 1%. The others (the 99%) like me have good memories.

  1. I think you need to start him, if nothing else to see how good he really is against one of the top teams. If Arteta is fit, maybe play them both as a double pivot.

    1. Aye, I agree. He’s not the class we should settle with, but he’s been really impressive for us since he came back from Charlton. If he keeps his form like this against the good teams, I dont really see the immediate need for a new CDM that will be a direct upgrade for what we already have.

  2. “But is Flamini a better option than Coquelin.”, I guess that’s supposed to be a question; the answer is NO!!! Le Coq, at the moment, is far better than Flamini. Coquelin seems more composed and direct.

  3. Keep the same winning team – it breeds confidence!

    Would hate to see flamini arteta and chezza facing a rampant city…

    We can beat them if we play as we did against City and stop aguero..

    Easier said than done..!

      1. We have beaten City. We can do it again. We just need cohesion and a team without injuries killing out structure.

        City has what Stoke does NOT have; pacy wingers. That is our Kryptonite.

        1. for pacy wingers u dont put flam & arteta. i’d put coq and maybe roziscky (dont f* with it if its not broken). ospina at back would give me more confidence than chesney (who i hope can use FA to reprove himself or exit). also, we should not start ozil: caz’s been doing really well. sanchez at LW, ox at RW and sh*trod as striker. [god i wish we had a WC striker]

  4. Coquelin has earned his place.
    Flamini and Arteta have played
    12 years of pro football. We know
    what they can do. Flamini will be released in 4 months.
    Arteta is nearing the end too. We are out of the EPL race
    and not expected to beat City. Give the younger man a chance.

  5. Knowing Wenger’s team selection,then same previous team is going to line up and I would second it up as no need to change a winning team.Chamber will come in for Bellerin for sure.

    1. Who would you rather have against Silva; Bellerin or Chambers?

      This depends on how offensive we’re going to be. If we want to get really nasty at Etihad, i reckon we play all out offensive with Bellerin. He’s much better offensive than Callum, but weaker defensive. This is not such a big deal, because Silva will be dribbling through both Chambers and Bellerin.

      I dont think RB is the right place to play Chambers. Not fast enough, simple stuff – but Bellerin might be too poor defensivly to be a safe card – so it’s just a matter of where you want to be less covered.

      1. i think bellerin’s speed will serve him better in being able to attempt to stand-up silva. even though chambers may be stronger in the challenge, silva will just dart around him. it won’t be nearly as easy for silva to dart around bellerin. toughy.

  6. Coq should start alongside flamini,away game to mancity will require all the defensive cover we can get, two DM with good work rate running interference against city counter attacks will be good. This will also give the attackers/forwards some luxury to push up on d city defence knowing they ave 2 DM that can breakdown city play or counter attack.


    1. dont rate flam any more. this season he’s been awful. his touch on the ball is also rough. for me, the coq/roz layer was v.good versus stoke. roziscky is super talented, is disciplined and comes back, and has huge impetus and energy. i’d go again w coq/roz.

  7. Il go one step further and give you my team against Man City

    Monreal (Gibbs is injured?)



    My reasoning?
    Walcott has shown he is too rusty in his cameo, maybe too rusty for City game.
    Özil has too often played in top matches, Germany Brazil, Real Madrid Barcelona. Let me get match practise back on the big stage, it’s what he thrives on.

    Giroud has to bully the defence, push and pull them…to give space to Sanchez. If he does, Özil has the time to play the final ball.

    Ramsay needs to take this game as a simple return to first team. When I say simple I mean he just has to sit back, show us why he was one of the players with the most tackles made last year.
    Coq just needs to clean up. He won’t win many tackles again City, so it’s not worth trying. Instead offer no second chance, if they take a shot, clean up whatever is left…don’t let them score. Offer a barrier, slow city down, let us get back into shape.

    1. The OX has been fantastic of recent. Was second man of the match in our last game. And you want to drop him for Ozil who hasn’t even completed 90 minutes since his return from injury?

    2. @Arsenal fan, you just can’t put Ozil on the wing, then chamberlain on the bench ATM??? You must be wrong!

      1. Twig muda and the 12 that so far don’t agree with me so far, you must see that we can’t be so ridged. Caz and Özil will interchange whilst Ox won’t, he will just run up and down with his full heart.
        Again City we need to be smart, keep them guessing…players changing trying new things while keeping it tight out back.

        What is true is, we won’t win the game in the first minutes of the game, so why attack straight out with Ox and Walcott… Let them loss on them after 60mins

        If we want to play like the small team, let Sanchez be your outlet, he can hold the ball… The only one at the moment in our team who can. For me, experience is always key in top matches.

        1. Afc fan, That’s where you get it wrong, I say against city the more we have the ball we need to go for goal, not any position exchanges. (Counter) and pressing football.

          1. Sanchez offers you counter, Özil offers you ball control.
            But your point is fair, it’s just for Wenger to work out which is plan A and plan B

          2. i also like roziscky. his directness is direct counterpoint to arteta’s sideways balls. a CDM layer with roz + COQ would be great. ramsey and ozil should not start v manc (they can do their starts in FA cup or against weaker team). roz also gives great energy. maybe bring on ozil at 60th min depending on how we’re going. walcott too rusty , def cant start.

    3. The problem with this selection – either Ozil or Cazorla is again on the wing – a scenario that has been tried and failed so very many times.

      I still maintain my boycott – refuse to watch any Arsenal game with Ozil or Cazorla on the wing.

      Wenger will probably do it – he is that stubborn.

      1. You don’t watch matches if either Santi or Ozil are on the wing? I’m sorry I just can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

        1. Not joking. Starting early this season I began refusing to watch any more matches with either Ozil/Cazorla on the wing – it was so clearly a massive failure – I could not bear to watch it anymore. The many poor performances proved my point.

          Literally any other gunner would have been better on the wing – Rosicky, Wilshere, Poldi, Campbell, Welbeck, etc. I would rather see Monreal or Ramsey on the wing.

          NOT JOKING.

      2. Come on – it is not as if Santi hasn’t had 400+ games in a wide position for Villareal, Malaga, Spain and us. He has been v.good for us slotting in to the middle and it has obviously taken his fancy but let’s not pretend it would be sacrilege to play him wider – AFC player of the season 2012-13, 12 goals, 7 or 8 assists – from a wide left position – remember that?

        1. Has everyone suddenly forgotten the debacle. A few months back nearly every comment attacked Wenger for this repeated error – it was so obvious even Wenger finally abandoned this failed lineup.

          How soon we forget. Memories on this site go back on 1 or 2 weeks it seems.

        2. ozil has to yet to prove he can go 90min with energy. that solves the problem of having them both on at the same time: start w caz. he plays his heart out for 60min and then put in ozil for 30. if things arent going well, maybe ozil doesnt come on vs manc (he can start later v a lower team).

  8. We are2 players away from finishing in the top 3.. Defender and DM
    Shame but if we lose to city and Southampton beat the barcodes manure beat QPR then 6 points off top 4 May be a bit too far..

    Win and we are only 8 off City ..
    Come on Arsene what the fek are you waiting for..?????????

  9. we shld be having wanayama playing for us against city….

    wamayama can fly, make 500 tackles and interceptions, score goals and make miracles.。。。…super player

  10. Of course. Arsenal played like the old Arsenal for the first time in maybe the past 12 months against Stoke City. I wouldn’t change a thing for the City game.

    Sanchez Rosicky Oxlade-Chamberlain
    ________Coquelin Cazorla
    Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerin

    1. Would you not put chambers in instead of bfg.. His inability to move with any momentum worries me..?!!
      Rosicky had an amazing energetic game against the canon fodder once they were beat.. But against City might be too much for him unless we let him free for 60 minutes run like an idiot then bring on either Ramsey or flamini..
      We can’t really go toe to toe..look what happened last year !!

      It would make for a helluva game tho – come on!!!!

      1. Maybe it is time for Mert to step down. I don’t know. And Chambers was indeed acquired to be eased into the lineup.

        But the reality is the Mert/Kos partnership has been a massive success over the past few seasons. Without Kos, who compliments his style of play, Mert is far less effective.

        And how soon we forget. Mert was 2nd in the voting behind Ramsey for Arsenal player of the season for 2013/2014. There is a reason for that. He was a huge player for Arsenal the past 2 seasons. That is just reality.

        1. I disagree – whatever Mert’s weaknesses he is with us for the immediate forseeable future and him and Kos are still our best combo. Emphasis on “combo”. Merts needs Kos far more than Kos needs Merts but nearly all of Kos’s dominant performances have come when paired with Merts. Wasn’t that long ago when Kos was perhaps the most ridiculed player at AFC – we have short and selective memories. Kos is the antidote to Aguero not Merts and hopefully if FC puts in a performance he can screen the pair and help stifle DS. But can see both side’s defences being exposed – always seems to be that way against City – last 4 matches against them we have won once, lost once and drawn twice with them conceding 9 goals to our 10 conceded. Don’t expect a 0-0.

          1. @jonestown1
            I do remember when Kos was MR.Own Goal sometime back.
            But you cannot deny that while pairing with Mert he is the clean up man. At the moment he’s carrying and Achilles problem and would be best paired with someone who can lighten his load. Per is not that someone.

            1. I accept that NY_G – but Kos has always been the “clean-up man”, the CB tasked with going to the ball/player not the one dropping slightly deeper looking to intercept, block, cut out high balls. And actually feel a bit sorry for Chambers – he might have been our best player for the first 6 or 8 matches of the season but can see the fans ganging up on him now following a few disappointments. Don’t think either he or Wenger was expecting him to have so much responsibility for a novice 19yr old so quickly and he has gone backwards a little with this drop in confidence. We can’t ask Kos but I’d wager he opt for Mert alongside him if given the choice. Just my opinion.

  11. No changes needed. Conquelin have 360 degrees awerness around when we are defending,while flamini only have 180 degrees awerness which have led us conceeding stupid against dortmund and man city both on the first leg. Watch those matches again and u will understand

  12. No changes needed. Conquelin have 360 degrees awerness around when we are defending,while flamini only have 180 degrees awerness which have led us conceeding stupid goals against dortmund and man city both on the first leg. Watch those matches again and u will understand

  13. Play the same parts we had against Stoke including the Coq. Stoke last week was our best football this season and we have to play our best again against City. Let’s not change it up now.

    1. I think our best football this season was against man city at the emirates,i have never seen arsenal put up that sort of fight against a top team in a long time,although we didn’t win I was satisfied with the hunger we showed,i would always prefer le coq to Flamini but that is not what would win us this game,we need to show the right attitude,go there to win it,and When I say go there to win it,i don’t mean throw everybody forward, I mean go out there with a winning and commited mentality,being ready to throw yourself at the shot,make the all important tackle instead of ducking when the cross comes it,all 11 players need to be ready to fight for the win,we need the boys fired up,COYG.

  14. The ox or silva?
    Aguero or sanchez..?
    Player for player we aren’t that far away..

    Nasri or ozil
    Milner or Cazorla

    It only gets interesting when you look at the defensive aspects..
    Kompany or kos
    Mangala or bfg

    There’s not much in it

    Zabaleta or bellerin
    Clichy or monreal..

    Dzeko or giroud

    It’s david silva that worries me.. We haven’t really got anyone to compare .. The ox.. Rosicky….
    Just get the coq to man mark him .. Stick to his ass..usher him from behind..Harry him..give it to him hard…

    It’s the only way forward..

    Long live the coq..

    1. Nasri – Cazorla, because these 2 are false wingers..

      Silva – Ozil, because these 2 are the out and out No10’s..

    2. Man City know we can play football as well as them – they always up their game against us. Average of nearly 5 goals a game in the last 4 matches (Man City 10 Arsenal 9) so much chance of a 0-0. Not much in it player for player imo but psychologically they are miles ahead of us. I’ll get murdered on here for saying it, but despite everything at this moment I would take Mets over Mangala everytime. Zabaleta over Bellerin as well. My dearest wish this season is a “breakthrough” game against City, Chelsea or United – something to instil confidence again because presently I don’t think many of our players will be going on to the pitch thinking they will win.

      1. what i want is a clean sheet in 1st 20 min. its ok to think we may not win it. but it not ok to think we have to lose. a draw is a very achievable outcome.

  15. ……………………Giroud

  16. I’ve got a feeling Arsenal are about to go on their traditional 12 game unbeaten run that they always manage to find late in the season.

    Then everyone will be happy that we just made it to 4th and forget about all the problems this team has.

    People will then be excited about the beginning of the following season thinking we going to pick up from where we left off,then on the 3rd game we will realise that nothing has changed.We will still have Wenger as our manager, mediocre players,shambolic defence, a striker that scores 1 of the 5 chances he gets,no DM,BFG as vice captain, Arteta leading the team as our DM,Sczerny in goal and a medical room filled with half our squad.

    You thumb me down but think back,this ALWAYS happens…except for last season maybe.

    1. You have cited the pattern well. Arsenal will get 4th and again disappoint fans with the summer transfers and player selections.

      But when you get into specifics of player names or which areas of play will succeed or fail, you have then ventured into crystal ball territory? The Arsenal defense actually played well in recent seasons. Also, do you believe Mert and Arteta will stay with the club forever?? No.

      Under your thinking Arsenal should still have Djourou, Senderos, Toure, and Squillachi. No. Things change.

      Arsenal will change in some ways we cannot predict. But Wenger will still disappoint the fans.

        1. I’m with you, I think we will get third. Beat Brighton then get a couple of home draws in the fa cup and 2 easy games at wembley to retain the trophy. After beating monaco we will get 2 easy ones in the next champions league matches before we beat madrid in Lisbon. Well we can all dream can’t we?

  17. This is too easy. Unless Coq is injured or worn out – he plays.

    Maybe he will finally meet an attack he just can’t handle, but he is still the best Arsenal have now.

  18. Similar side to the last game, coqeulin should retain his place he’s the best at dm we currently have. I’d start bellerin rb, gibbs lb, (if fit noe) and bring chambers or even monreal in next to kos and bench per. We cant risk the likes of aguero, navas, zabaletta, silva etc. Running at per with his back to goal, terrifying thought! Per won’t be benched though as I don’t think wenger ever has when he’s been fit. I live in hope! Ot: apparently we are scouting hector moreno now, Scouting at this point in the window! Doesn’t bode well!

  19. Get used to wenger , and his penny pinching
    Poldi and Sonogo out
    This bielik in and 1 more probably a cheap CB
    BONNY Transfer took days to get through so don’t bother watching the last few hours hoping
    And you wengerites or mock spuds fans can thumb me down

  20. Don’t fix or change it if it’s not broken… We are going to need high energy players for the City game. The team that started against Stoke I am happy with…

    The Coq in DM with his high energy and tenacity.

    Rosicky in that B2B role, I like his energy, directness and quality.

    Cazorla doing what he has been doing in the last few months..

    The front 3 of Giroud, Sanchez and The Ox ..

    Lets try to dominate midfield as that’s City’s strongest point and once they over power us in that Midfield we might as well just give them the 3 points in advance..

  21. “Never change a winning side”, or so the saying goes. There are certain players whose very name and price Wenger will find it hard to ignore when returning from injury but, providing I had a winning side, I`d be inclined to bring them back via the bench over two or three games and even then they would have to prove themselves. But that`s me!

  22. Coquelin offers far more to our team than flamini anyday.
    You cant even compare the 2.
    Flamini holds us back, so often we cant even pass our way out the back because of him.
    Coquelin, while prone to some mistakes, those mistakes are directly incurred in him trying to doing the right thing.
    ever since coquelin joined the first team this season, santi ox rosicky all seem to be able to be in a position to do what they do best. they dont have to come back and help us pass out the back.
    The mistakes he makes, he makes again, ironically thats actually very encouraging, because he knows what he has to do and keeps doing it, he doesnt get shy or scared to do what hes supposed to do. he’ll only get better.
    Coquelin can turn out to be a top and iconic player. we all look for the next viera, but later you might find yourselves looking for the next coquelin. hes very special.

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