There is a new moon rising at Arsenal with the impressive performances of Francis Coquelin, the Frenchman has played in the defensive midfielder’s role for Arsenal over the past couple of weeks and looks every bit as a player who has played for Arsenal for a few years. Not only does he look like a veteran player but he has provided steel into the Arsenal midfield which has been missing for quite a few seasons.
Though Coquelin is primarily a defensive midfielder and has revelled in this role, he can play as a left back or a right back and has been deployed a few times in that position. He still is only 23 years old and can learn more about the positions he plays but which position should be play in? We try to answer where Coquelin should play.
Midfield general or a Romping wing back?
Any right back or left back for Arsenal must have the ability to link up with the attack really well, apart from being fast they should also have the ability to provide good crosses and passes to the attacking players. They need to be quick thinking and should be willing to take up a lot of positions in the final third.
Coquelin might be young but pace and passing are not the best of his abilities. Coquelin is not in the top 10 in terms of passing accuracy for the Gunners, surprisingly he ranks ahead of Wilshere and Oxlade Chamberlain, even in terms of length of passes, his average distance per pass is 11 m which is the lowest among all the players in the midfield position, which just proves that he can play short passes but long passes are just not his cup of tea.
As soon as we go into stats about tackles, Coquelin shines. He has played 7 games in the league for Arsenal and has a 64% tackling success rate, he also has the highest aerial duel success rate and also has the highest performance score for all defensive actions and stats amongst Arsenal’s midfielders. He scores 9.72 in terms of defensive actions, the next best score in this respect is that of Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s other defensive midfielder, Flamini scores just 4.09 in that respect just showing how much Coquelin has grown in the role of a defensive midfielder and just how good he already is.
Arsenal already have good options for their right back/left back slots with Monreal, Debuchy, Gibbs, Chambers to name just the first team options while if you look at their defensive midfielder options they only have Flamini, who is also getting a little weary. Coquelin is a talent that should be nurtured into a defensive midfielder through and through, he might just turn into a Patrick Vieira, someone who Arsenal have missed dearly for a long time.