A long term injury to Mikel Arteta and a fresh problem for Mathieu Flamini recently left Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger with a big problem; who protects the back four?
In stepped Francis Coquelin, who has done a decent job for the Gunners in their last couple of games, but one Arsenal legend, Martin Keown, remains unconvinced.
Keown feels there is part of Coquelin’s game which is a concern for Arsenal and something that Wenger needs to stay on top of and deal with before it becomes a problem.
At one point during the FA Cup win against Hull City, Coquelin launched himself off of the ground and into a challenge, which could have seen him shown a straight red card by a different referee and alarm bells started going off for Keown.
“Look at the way he just launches himself into tackles – When you go into challenges like that, you’re going to get a yellow or a red card every time – It’s something he has to cut out of his game,” said Keown who was on commentary for the BBC.
Some Arsenal fans will suggest that a bit of bite and aggression around their midfield is just what the current side needs.
Arsenal have always been impressive in terms of the way they pass the ball around and protect possession effectively, but they have lacked an authoritative and aggressive personality in midfield over the last couple of seasons.
There is room for a player of Coquelin’s type but he has to be careful that he doesn’t get too carried away with the physical element of battling against Arsenal’s opposition.
What Keown is rightly worried about is how Coquelin’s apparent tendency to dive in could affect the side if he gets sent off and subsequently suspended or if he comes out the other side of a challenge with an injury.
Praise for him giving Arsenal something they have been lacking but Keown’s concerns are warranted.