Robert Pires compares Francis Coquelin to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira

Pires Henry Penalty Discussion

Former Arsenal playmaker Robert Pires believes Francis Coquelin is comparable to Gunners legend Patrick Vieira.

Ex-Arsenal star Robert Pires has told the Daily Express that current Gunners ace Francis Coquelin is comparable to club legend Patrick Vieira.

The Gunners won yet again on Wednesday, defeating Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road - meaning it's now eight wins in the last ten Premier League games for Arsene Wenger's men.

A big factor in their resurgence since the turn of the year has been the superb form of midfielder Coquelin, who has emerged as a surprise contributor this season.

The 23-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Stade Lavallois back in 2008, has largely been an afterthought during his time in North London, featuring on loan for Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton Athletic before establishing himself in Wenger's first team.

Frenchman Coquelin has provided bite and grit in the Arsenal midfield, attributes that the Gunners have long been lacking - making Coquelin something of a fan favourite so far.

Now, former Arsenal playmaker Pires has told the Daily Express that Coquelin is a 'warrior' - and is even comparable to Arsenal greats such as Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour.

"Coquelin is a good player," said Pires. "He's really important for Wenger and the team. I believe a lot in him. He has a good future. He's better defensively than their other midfielders – a warrior type. He puts more aggression into the position and that's important."

"He's more like a Patrick Vieira or Ray Parlour. He will be important at Old Trafford because he is No1 in the tackle. This is a good opportunity for him to prove himself. It is a tough game. You need to play hard. But I believe in him," he added.

Coquelin faces one of his biggest challenges to date tonight, as Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

A win against Louis van Gaal's men will take Arsenal to Wembley and give them a great shot of retaining the trophy they won almost a year ago - and Coquelin will no doubt be key to their hopes of winning at Old Trafford, just as Pires says.

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