Francis Coquelin has become a very special player. He is as crucial to Arsenal’s success as anyone. While his offense is lacking, his defense is unmatched among defensive midfielders. He times his tackles with pinpoint accuracy, intercepts balls with ease and tenaciously attacks the opposition.
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Last year, his stats indicated that he was the best midfield defender in the game.
Who wouldn’t want that in their starting squad?
The French National side has yet to give the all-important call to Le Coq but it has to be only a matter of time.
It is understandable that Coquelin is not on the French National roster as of yet. He was an unknown until the second half of last season. However, when he returned to Arsenal from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic he looked like a man possessed and he has not lost a step since that time.
The European Championships will be in France next year and Didier Deschamps would be well-served to add such a zealous player to his roster. Not many players out there play with the intensity and passion that Coquelin does.
Currently the French National team has Morgan Schneiderlin, Yohan Cabaye and Geoffrey Kondogbia as the predominant defensive midfielders among their crop of talent but none of them can play the defensive part of football quite like Le Coq. Arsenal’s midfield surely would not be the same without him and he would add that extra power to the French defense as well.
Comparing statistics at the club level, at least defensively, no one stands up to Francis Coquelin. He averages near 4 interceptions and tackles per match, wins 85% of his tackles and wins over 60% of his aerial duels. That is more than Cabaye, Kondogbia and Schneiderlin can say.
Of course, the argument can then be made that Coquelin’s offense is his downfall. All three of his French counterparts pose some offensive threat. It really is the same dilemma facing Arsenal. They cannot part with his defensive prowess but they could really use with some added offense at a midfield position.
However, the difference between the French National side and Arsenal is that France does not need to start him. Adding him to their roster will give them a potent weapon to help defend leads late into games. Although they may fall into the same snare that Arsenal fell into. Once Le Coq has had his impact on the game, it really is quite tough to sit him.