Francis Coquelin the One Player Arsenal Can Not Live Without?


It wasn’t that long ago that Francis Coquelin was on loan at Charlton Athletic. Now he’s the most dominant force in the Premier League. There are few things more beautiful than the perfectly-timed Francis Coquelin slide tackle, and we see it often, as he completes near four tackles a game (via

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Coquelin is in a tier all on his own. Matic is great, Toure is great, but Francis Coquelin’s stats are simply unreal. He’s perhaps the one chief component that has changed the way that Arsenal play the game. Whereas Arsenal used to never be able to hold leads or stifle opponents attacks, Coquelin has now emerged as a wrecking ball that will make sure that no one gets to the back four without some bumps and bruises.

Arsenal aren’t a team that is centered on the success of one individual. We don’t live or die by the grace of a single man. But every team has it’s key component, the one player that absolutely holds a team together. Arsenal have several candidates for the honor, but Francis Coquelin has to be dubbed the one player that would most adversely affect Arsenal should they find themselves without him.

Alexis Sanchez was irreplaceable at the beginning part of the year, but he’s faded a bit lately, at least his goals have, and Arsenal are still pressing onwards and upwards. Mesut Ozil has become the central cog of this machine but even he, if need be, could be spotted by Santi Cazorla or even Alexis Sanchez, as they all three excel in the No. 10 role. David Ospina has been phenomenal, but I think that given the chance, Wojciech Szczesny would prove worthy again.

Our defense has become such a rotating door that no one person has become indispensable. The only player who I think is close to Coquelin in terms of dire contribution to the team is Olivier Giroud, and that’s just because we really don’t have a replacement for him. Arsenal were hurting without him and they are blooming with him.

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But not like Francis Coquelin. Coquelin, as I mentioned, is putting up insane defensive numbers. He averages over four interceptions a game, he wins just under 90% of his duels and 66% of his aerial duels (via These are numbers that center backs would salivate for, but they’re the numbers of a holding mid – a holding mid for Arsenal no less.

For years, the outcry was for a defensive midfielder. It’s all that Arsenal needed to find success. But Arsene Wenger signed no such player. In the end, both sides were right. The fans were right in that a defensive midfielder was all we needed and Arsene Wenger was right in that we didn’t need to sign one. Isn’t it fun when everyone wins?

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