Frustration and fear are not two words that you would normally associate with a footballer doing well, but there is a good case for saying that they have been heavily connected with the way that Francis Coquelin has gone from being another failed Arsenal youngster who did not make the grade and fulfil his early promise, to one of the most important players in a Gunners side putting together some of the best performances and run of results that us fans have seen for some considerable time.
Coquelin does not play with any fear or frustration and has not done so since Arsene Wenger recalled him from his latest loan spell with Charlton at the end of last year. He has admitted, however, that he was frustrated when he got that recall, because he was just starting to get a run of games and finding his form in the Championship, whereas he fully expected to be in his usual position of rarely used sub on the Arsenal bench.
But Coquelin has used that frustration to grab his chance and shake every last drop of positivity from it. And the fear driving him to do this was the very real fear that his time at Arsenal was coming to an end, with his contract due to run out this summer and no real sign of it being renewed. This sort of thing can often lead to a general downturn in a player´s career, but Coquelin has showed amazing strength of character and a fierce determination to go with his footballing ability.
And boy have the Gunners benefited from it all. Coquelin´s personal stats are pretty awesome on their own, showing that he is right up their with the very best in his position but when you look at the difference he has made to the team, improving our win percentage this season from 44 percent without him to 85 percent with him, it is simply astonishing.
When you consider that his Premier League debut was the 8-2 drubbing at Man United when he was subbed off after an hour, it is even more remarkable what Coquelin has done. But it seems to me that the young Frenchman makes adversity work for him and that grit is now showing itself on the pitch, where he just refuses to let the opposition get the better of him in the same way that he refused to let his many struggles stop him from making a go of his career.
Can you remember any Arsenal player making such a dramatic turnaround?