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Wenger Doesn't Need A DM Now He Has His Coq Back

Before Arsenal's game against Manchester City if you had asked the two types of player I'd have liked to see Arsenal sign in this January transfer window I'd have quite quickly replied "defensive midfielder and centre back." I'm sure a lot of Arsenal supporters would have said the same and most probably still would but when 6pm came on Sunday I had changed my mind. I think, for the rest of the season at least, we should rock out with our Coq out.

I know I begun my last blog on Nacho Monreal sarcastically bemoaning the amount of poor "Nacho" puns that flooded social media upon his arrival but, whilst it may be incredibly hypocritical and definitely incredibly immature, I find the "coq" puns funny. I'm sure there will be more then one in this piece, just to warn you!

Arsenal were absolutely fantastic on Sunday, everyone down to a man did exactly the role asked of them. Arsenal sat off, defended deep and forced Manchester City to ply our box with ineffective crosses and corners. Arsene had a plan and it worked. The man of the match, and rightfully so, was Santi Cazorla but not far behind was Coquelin. Francis was playing only his seventh league game for Arsenal this season after being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic due to injuries to key players in Arsenal's midfield.

Since Francis Coquelin has come into the side I have been impressed with every performance of his. The results themselves look good when he is in the side, with Arsenal winning 6, drawing 1 and only Coq-ing up once in a 2 nil loss to Southampton. If it wasn't for the injuries to Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere we may have never seen Coquelin in an Arsenal shirt again. Instead he has been given a chance and it is fair to say he is taking his chance with both hands. He appears disciplined, he sits in front of the back four and protects them. He's snappy in the tackle and strong in the air unlike Mikel Arteta whilst at the same time he doesn't run around pointing his fingers and telling people where to go whilst not being where he should be like a certain Matthieu Flamini. So far he doesn't seem like that anyway. 

It's easy to look at the sides Arsenal had played before Manchester City and wonder whether he could really do it against the world's best. Yesterday he did. David Silva is arguably the best creative midfielder in the league and yet Francis Coquelin, 23 and formerly of FC Lorient, SC Freiburg and Charlton Athletic, kept him quiet for the entirety of the match. If he can do it at the home of The Champions surely he deserves a proper run in the side now?

By 'proper run' I mean till at least the end of the season. I love me a big new signing and whilst splashing £20-30 million on a defensive midfielder would excite me (let's be honest it's like being 8 years old again and getting a shiny in your Panini sticker pack) and I wouldn't be against the idea I also like the warm fuzzy feeling when a young lad finally makes the break through to the first 11.

When compared to our other options at Defensive Midfield this season Coquelin, per game, has averaged more tackles won, more aerial duals won and committed less fouls per game then both Flamini and Arteta. Flamini only just slightly ranks higher on blocks and interceptions made per game. I'm an Arteta fan by the way. We all know he's not the snarling defensive midfielder we are looking for but his experience and ability to retain the ball can be quite easily overlooked. Coquelin though could be the snarling defensive midfielder many feel Arsenal desperately need as Flamini seems to fall short of the standard many deem acceptable. He does in my opinion anyway.

Many see Nemanja Matic as the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League yet currently, although he has obviously played a fewer games, Coquelin on average makes more blocks, interceptions and clearances per game then the Chelsea man. Matic only just shades Coquelin on tackles won. The main reason I bring up Matic though is because he was, you may remember part of the deal that took Sideshow Bob lookalike, David Luiz to Chelsea from Benfica. He wasn't given a chance at Chelsea after signing for them in 2009, even spending one season on loan at Vitesse. Yet, in 2014, 3 years after letting him go Chelsea paid £21 million to bring him back. He is now widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

I'm not saying Francis Coquelin is going to turn into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world but I'd hate for us to let him go without giving him a real run until the end of the season, sell him on the cheap and see him turn into a brilliant player at another club. We should learn from Chelsea's Coq up in my opinion and hold fire on signing the defensive midfielder many crave. Many players have a rough start at the club before coming good. Remember back when Gareth Bale was more famous for his chimpanzee looks and the lack of a Spurs win whenever he started and old Twitchy tried selling him to Birmingham for £3 million?  

We need a centre back due to the lack of numbers in the squad, that's a fact, yet we actually have plenty of defensive midfield options in the squad with Arteta, Flamini and Bielek, just not the world class one we think we need. Francis Coquelin could, if given the chance, be that guy.

He could just be going through a purple patch, slowly developing a coq of the walk attitude but so far he's played with an older head, remained disciplined and excelled all expecatations. Let's grab our Coq with both hands and give him the long term chance he's proven he deserves.

So far, I love the Coq.

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Tags: Arsenal, Arteta, AFC, Flamini, Chelsea, Arteta Injury, Coquelin, Matic

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