Wenger has already found answer to Arsenal defensive crisis

Well that did not take long Arsene! Just a few days after Arsenal fans were given the bad news about our seemingly constant problems on the injury front striking at the heart of the Gunners back line, with the German World Cup winning centre back Per Mertesacker ruled out for a significant part of the season, the Daily Star have reported that the boss may have already found the solution.

It helps, of course, if the solution is already at hand and if our midfield warrior Francis Coquelin is as good at playing in central defence as he has been at breaking up play in front of the back four then Wenger will be a very relieved manager. One of the big questions for Arsenal fans as we gear up for another, and hopefully more successful, push for the Premier League title was about who would be playing in central midfield, with the new signing Granit Xhaka fighting with Coquelin as well as Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny for a starting place.

Those options will perhaps allow Wenger to keep Coquelin training in defence as he revealed he has been doing of late, with good results in his opinion.

The combative Gunner said, “I’ve been playing centre back and I’ve been bossing it, you know.”

With Arsenal due to take on the MLS All-Stars tomorrow we might get a chance to see the versatile player in his new role. Do you think this could be the solution we need?


Tags Coquelin Mertesacker


    1. shame Le coq is our new CB

      “mert is out for a few months……and we are looking to bring someone in” [Not verbatim]
      – Arsene wenger july ,2016

      Yea…this was whom he’d been talking bout…. Le coq was the man…..fooled us all

      dn’t knw how to forgive this man called wenger……honestly!

      1. Where’s Aubameyang? ?

        Aubameyang was missing from the Dortmund squad that took on Man city today, I double checked and couldn’t find jack ? on why he wasn’t playing, as he played against Utd in their last friendly game.

        Wishful thinking but who knows! ? Maybe, just maybe ? he is Wenger’s secret striker target ?

  1. i think its a good idea, like mascherano for barca, with xhaka coq wouldnt get as much chances and i could imagine coq being a good cb with a nice distribution too

    1. @Krish
      What a lot of people are failing to grasp is, Le Coq played as CB during his loan spell at Freiburg. He did very well, even though he said he didn’t like it. Bye also said it added a lot to his defensive knowledge…

  2. Exactly what I wrote before. I am just pasting it for posterity. Oh, and before you take it on the fact that Coquelin lacks height don’t forget that great continental defenders were actually not so tall. Cannavaro comes to mind. Mascherano comes handy as an example of a short DM turned into a full fledged CB. List goes on and on. Even Puyol was 5’10”.

    This is why I will say this : Wenger hates wasting resources. It is a treat people born during post WW2 rationalization have in common. That’s no secret. Our parents are the same. Hence him and Bould will train Coquelin as a CB. Now, he is no stranger to this position, he played there even for Arsenal in two league cup games although one of them was against Coventry City if I am not mistaken. Hardly a tough game.
    Why this will make sense for him? Because with the arrival of Xhaka, Coquelin lost his place in the 1st eleven. More likely Santi & Ramsey will partner Xhaka & Elneny in the middle. However, not sure if all our youngsters are ready for EPL heat. It remains to be seen tomorrow morning if Wenger will play him against all stars. Can’t wait to see the game.

    1. @Budd

      Sadly, this is one of many reasons as to why Arsenal consistently fail…players out of position! Ramsey isn’t a RW, Walcott isn’t a CF, Chamber’s isn’t a RB, Welbeck isn’t a…well actually, I don’t know what he his! Coquelin may do well from time to time, but overall, it will back fire because he isn’t a natural CB.

      1. Ramsey is indeed not a RW but we had an incredible streak with him on the right and Santi + Coq at the back. Chambers is in fact more RB than CB (the only game he played against Arsenal he was playing RB). Walcott thought himself he is a CF, Wenger was always reluctant to play him there. Welbeck was played on wings and in front, just as they did at MU.

        1. Have you seen Chambers at RB? He’s shocking! He get skinned every time by any winger with pace. Just one look at his body shape, and pace, tells you Chambers is a central player. Ramsey doesn’t get goals or assists, which top wingers should be doing. I don’t care what Walcott thinks, it should be the manager’s decision, and it was Wenger’s awful call to not buy a CF and go with Walcott. It back-fired, and that was wasn’t a surprise at all! Welbeck was headless chicken at Utd, and nothing has changed at Arsenal. He’s just become more injury prone.

          1. You know this is not true. Chambers is very good at RB, granted, not as good as Bellerin (although he can also be skinned alive just like Montero did to him when we played Swansea) but definitely a worthy substitute to what we have. I don’t hold anything against Walcott, to me he’s anyway a liability since 2012. Flashes twice a season and then he dies but you can depend on him when teams are pressing us. If Wenger would have not caved in in 2012 to his requests then all Emirates would be in flames. Turned he was right all along. I don’t expect Walcott to have many games anyway this season unless we are forced to use him. He knows it as well. Ramsey played a huge role in elevating Bellerin last season. The amount of defending he did to protect Bellerin’s charges was outstanding. Unfortunately this is not what the crowd wants, they want assists and goals. Welbeck was always injury prone, we took a risk, we lost. Isn’t that what we want ? Take a risk, buy, see what happens.

            1. Ramsey works hard, but is he really that good at defending? I’m pretty sure there was a stat last season where Ramsey let players past him more than other in the league or he was one of worst in that area. Don’t quote me on that, but I’m pretty sure I did read it somewhere. Maybe he helped Bellerin’s development, I’m not sure, but it certainly didn’t help the team from an offensive aspect. You want wingers to help out in defence from time to time, but their main priority is from an offensive point of view, and that’s where he falls flat on his face. It really weakened the team’s attacking potential.

              With Welbeck, it’s like any signing any player…there’s always a risk. But Welbeck was shocking signing, and I don’t say that in hindsight. He’d done nothing at ManU, and it seems strange signing an injury prone player, when our own club has an absolutely shocking injury record! That wasn’t a risky signing, just dumb, with no thought gone into it whats so ever. I heard Wenger only wanted him on loan, but the question is – why on earth was Wenger looking at Welbeck even as a loan? Nothing on the market better than an injury prone, average player, with an awful scoring record.

  3. If Wenger doesn’t get a quality CB especially after losing Mertsacker then its just crazy

    I don’t expect Wenger to pay £50 million for Stones like City. That’s nuts too
    At the very least get Williams for around £5-£10 million or get Mustafi for around £20 mil

    Wenger’s thinking is strange
    Chambers is not ready for CB yet
    Playing Coquelin with Gabriel is risky
    Wenger also has played Debuchy and Monreal in CB positions, so he thinks we are covered probably

    Wenger please just get a reliable CB, a good striker and winger

    1. I am not saying Coquelin can’t be a good CB. Kompany plays both CB and DM. Blind has played DM, CB and LB

      But we MUST get an experienced CB as well

    2. If you know Wenger then you won’t find it strange. To be fair, he said that he looks for some experience in that position so probably a new CB is in the works. Frankly, with or without Mertesacker this position needed reinforcements.

  4. Le Coq as CB is a disaster waiting to happen. Quality DM because of the way her reads the game, his tackling and recovery BUT his style of player is too aggressive for the CB role.

  5. Coquelin hasn’t got the height required to be a serious candidate for CB. Look at his aerial stats, very poor, this is a bad option. In pre-season who cares really, but we need to get serious and we need to do it quickly. Bielik would be a better option, he’s tall, and he’s been playing that position. Chambers and Holding are better options. Plezeguelo might be another, not for the league, just saying they are more suited than Coquelin. Coquelin is a good option at fullback if required, not CB.

    1. Height is not really a problem. Let’s be fair here. The main reason why we are all worried is because Coquelin did not played as CB in the last two seasons. And this is a real problem. However, I am trying to understand how Bould convinced Wenger that Coquelin can play this role: height? Fair point but again, many world class CBs were not tall at all. Puyol used to score headers for fun. As long as you can jump to touch the ball you can be one foot smaller than the highest forward on the pitch. One thing comes to mind here and it takes a bit of remembering the FA Cup final 2015. We played Villa and they had basically a high tower in the area. Despite their height, Mertz and Kos are rather poor in aerial defending. This is why the tactic was to leave all crosses in and leave Szceszny to collect the ball. Basically everyone was instructed to make room for the keeper. Benteke had absolutely no chance when the ball was crossed at the 12 yard down line. Fast forward and then we see how history will make fun of you repeating itself but this time you forgot about it : West Ham where Caroll scored for fun after high crosses.
      Alright, as I said, I don’t know if Coq is the solution. The whole post was to try and understand why they came with this idea and not simply fielding Holding or even Bielik. But as we all know, the ways of Arsenal are really twisted. Don’t try to understand because when you think you do , they will surprise you again. Good or bad, it depends on what your expectation were.

    2. exactly … and the paralles with mascharano are silly too …a team that holds the ball on average for two thirds of the game is less exposed defensively … though when they are barca look vulnerable

      1. Well, that was our style of play as well but that was dropped to public pressure. And to be correct, Mascherano turned a CB after Guardiola left. Those were the times when they enjoyed 70% possession. After that, it dropped like a stone to the point where Bayern basically took the ball and put it away when they whipped them.

        1. It hasn’t been dropped to public pressure. It has been dropped bc of a lack of results, and even so, we tend to still have much of the ball in many matches. So idk what you’re getting at here, nor in any of your posts frankly.

  6. I would have thought Debuchy was the obvious choice for someone that is already there. Plus he has really cool tattoos

    1. Debuchy hasn’t played a single second as CB in his whole professional career but hey, why not give it a shot? Is just a friendly. Perfect time to try some crazy $hit anyway.

      1. Did he not? Because I am sure he covered there for Arsenal. Can’t remember the game but it was just after he joined.

          1. Don’t forget that Monreal has covered in that position too… Gibbs did okay in the few game’s when he was playing down the left wing. There’s no reason why he can’t play at LB while Monreal covers CB.

          2. Yes, he did…he partnered Mert and did very well….If I am not mistaken it was in his first season at AFC against Newcastle…

        1. I don’t recall any game where he played CB for anyone let alone Arsenal. But it isn’t impossible, maybe a CB got red carded when all subs exhausted and we had no choice but I really can’t remember such scenario.

  7. CB is a very controlled position, think that will be hard for the Le Coq to achieve – he’s prone to a yellow card or 2 – I think thats part of the package for a DM –

    But if he’s giving away pen’s every week – that ain’t gonna work.

    That said – if he’s been doing the in training, it is a way to get on the pitch with Elneny and our new guy probably ahead of him.

    But Williams sounds like a smart, in-expensive purchase to me.

    Dare I say it – a No-brainer!

    1. CB is actually easier than DM. A DM must retain awareness 360 degree while the CB is having all the game in front of him. If a CB gets out from defense then he will basically end the attack action by taking the shot, header, through pass etc.

  8. Lets face it peeps Wenger would play my grandmother as CB if it menat saving money for the board.
    IF like everybody and thier uncle had suggested he had brought in a CB and a CF over the last two summers we would not be in the situation whereby we are looking to utilize players out of position.
    This is a ludicrous situation to be in and one that you DONT ever see other supposed top tier teams in.
    clearly there are two real problems here one is that Wenger just wont spend any money on reinforcements and two we clearly have a real problem with the medical staff as we never ever seem to be free of serious injury in the squad.
    Its not a coincidence that since Wenger has been in charge of EVERYTHING football related at the club we have seen a virtual standstill on transfers and the injury list is longer and more serious AND most inportant of all we have not won anything really significant
    How long is this farcical situation going to endure????
    “Oh I know…lets get in Kim Kalstrom…or…lets play Sanchez at the back, that’ll do”
    stupid stupid stupid

  9. I will panic or get angry when/if Wenger didn’t sign another CB at the end of the window, so for now no problem with me…

    Wenger has said we will look to sign experience, so am counting on that, no need to complain yet!

  10. I would have been ok with a move like this if wenger had come out and announced it months ago then signed kante.

    For me it just stinks of misering yet again.

    However, to be fair coquelin is a decent defender across the ground. Just can’t recall his heading duels record? The thought of coquelin against zlatan is just frightening!!!

    1. At least I remember that a certain Fellaini was unable to boss Le Coq in aerial duels. That to me, still isn’t an excuse not to reinforce the CB position, while the window is still open.
      There needs to be good understanding btwn the Centre backs and the goalkeeper so, the earlier Wenger does this, the better.
      He has already said he’ll bring someone in. I hope he does so, b4 the liverpool game!

    2. I recall him breaking his nose twice going into aerial duels and also refused to be bullied by Fellaini….

  11. Well At least Coquelin seems confident in that position, as he claims that he is Bossing it! … But Er.. who is he Bossing exactly? ?. .. Chambers and Holding? ? ? The quicker Koscielny and Gabriel get back into the squad the better, hopefully before the new season kicks off.

  12. So… The position we’re discussing is 5th choice CB. Pretty crazy circumstance.
    Coquelin’s risk taking and hard hitting is what makes him such a good player IMO. Playing at CB would curb that freedom to take risks in winning the ball back. Can’t see it being a long-term solution.

  13. We will get a CB, not Coquelin thats just for the US tour and he is just a fill in for now, so please some of you fans stop being HYSTERICAL.

    The CB wenger chose may not be to our liking, but its his choice, he said an experience CB so i expect someone between 26 – 32 range, do not look for anyone over 15 million my estimate probably far less.

  14. You got to love Wenger and his skimming ways…?
    The cheapest the better, but the only problem is that you cannot win major trophies doing that… But we are used to it anyway, so I guess that’s alright??

    Good luck to Coquelin though…?

    Gazidis said that we cannot compete, financially, with the big firms in Europe (Well we already knew that and it is not only financially… Football wise we are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to those “big firms”), but what is the point of paying the most expensive ticket seat in the world if you cannot bring world class players??

  15. @Budd

    Debuchy played as a CB for Girondins de Bordeaux (3 games as a CB) and also for Lille LOSC (more than 30 games as a CB), but his best position stays RB. He was not “saved” by injuries and relapses, otherwise he would have been our first choice RB due to his experience too…

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