Having spent the first part of this season on loan with Championship side Charlton Athletic, Coquelin returned from his five-game loan spell to start his first Arsenal fixture of the campaign in the 2-1 victory over West Ham. The youngster put in a dominating performance, and kept his place for the following weeks. He has since become first-choice defensive midfielder for Arsene Wenger, and he has 10 Premier League appearances to his name this term.
Despite arriving in North London in 2008, Coquelin’s appearances this season still only take him to 56 games played for the Gunners. Despite his long-term standing in their ranks he could be considered something of a new boy, but he has told the Standard that he is willing to hold a strong position in the dressing room if anyone needs telling off. Rather than being in awe of the host of international stars at Emirates Stadium, Coquelin has become a strong character, and he believes that the equal standing in the squad is a key reason for their success.
The young Frenchman said: “If it needs to be said, I’m the one who’s saying it. Everyone can tell each other off, so that’s a good thing.
“We’re all fighting for each other and the spirit is good in the team, so everyone can say what they think. With every player we’ve got going forward, you need a man with a defensive mind as well.”
With one of the criticisms of this Arsenal squad centred around their mental weakness, it is good to see Coquelin stand up and take charge of the situation, despite his young age. If he continues to develop on the pitch, there is no doubt he will become a key player, and his current off-pitch attitude makes him look like future captain material at the Emirates.