Francis Coquelin has made a huge impact since his breakthrough into the Arsenal side, but who can replace him against Queens Park Rangers? Here is a look at three unusual possibilities the club may use.
Arsene Wenger praised Francis Coquelin after his determination to play on following the injury that broke his nose against Everton. However, after taking him off, admitted that he may have to sit out for a prolonged period of time.
‘’He wanted to stay on,’’ Wenger was quoted as saying in the Mirror. ‘’He didn’t play here for a long time and now that he plays, of course, he doesn’t want to come off the pitch.’’
On whether he could miss some games the Gunners, Wenger added: ‘’If he needs surgery, I don’t know. He was bleeding and he was hit on it a second time again – I had to take him off.’’
The former Charlton loan star has made a huge impact since his return to the Emirates but with him potentially missing Wednesday’s game against Queens Park Rangers, Wenger will need to find a replacement.
We take a look at three players the 65-year-old could look at using in Coquelin’s place ahead of their match against their London rivals.
The 20-year-old defender was the one who replaced Coquelin following his injury on Sunday.
Chambers has proven to be a reliable performer when called upon and with potentially four attack-minded midfielders lined up around him for the match; his defensive strengths could well be needed.
Although he won’t be as natural as Coquelin in the position, he has previously filed a similar role at a youth international level, as well as the odd cameo during senior first-team football.
The new signing, while not a defensive midfielder, could look to showcase his ability in a role that would allow him time on the ball.
The 24-year-old is a comfortable and confident footballer, who has proven that he does have the flair to play further up the pitch if asked upon. In fact, when you look at Zouma’s impact in a similar role in the League Cup final, it does look to be an option worth considering.
Although he hasn’t played there previously, he certainly looks to have all the tools so it could be a worthwhile gamble for Wenger.
The 18-year-old has only featured in the Champions League for the Gunners this season, but with the personnel available, Wenger may fancy giving the youngster another chance.
Last season, the talented central midfielder was on the bench for the Gunners three times over the course of the season and made his debut in a 4-0 win over Coventry in the FA Cup.
Although he seems like an unlikely bet, he does come as the option who is the most natural in the defensive midfield role, despite playing more attacking positions for the Under-21 side this season. He would allow Wenger to implement a very similar system to the one against Everton, disrupting the balance of the side very little. Nevertheless, he could also be liable to get overrun and make mistakes in the middle of the park due to his lack of experience.
It would be a huge gamble by Wenger, but potentially the injection of energy and hunger to prove his ability could make him the most exciting choice.