Thierry Henry backs Arsenal's Flamini to deputise for Francis Coquelin

Mathieu Flamini challenging Steven N'Zonzi

Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin is by far the club’s best defensive midfielder.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry believes midfielder Mathieu Flamini has what it takes to deputise for Francis Coquelin in the event of an injury or suspension, Sky Sports report.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger came in for heavy criticism during the summer as he opted against buying a new central midfielder to provide competition to Santi Cazorla and Coquelin.

Speaking on Sky Sports, popular pundit Gary Neville previously labelled Wenger naïve and arrogant for his refusal to add a new holding midfielder, claiming they can’t win the title without another one.

Yet, the Gunners are currently second to Manchester City on goal difference in the Premier League table.

While there is a genuine worry should Coquelin pick up an injury, Henry feels the club are equipped to deal with his absence by backing Flamini to come in and perform in his stead.

“Maybe they can get someone in January to back up Coquelin if he gets injured. Having said that, Mathieu Flamini put in an amazing performance away at Tottenham and he showed he can be there,” he said.

Can Mathieu Flamini deputise for Francis Coquelin?

While Mathieu Flamini is a renowned ball-winner, there are doubts over his stamina and speed to make up ground in a similar way to which Coquelin can regularly track opposition runners efficiently.

At 31, the former Marseille man isn’t as physically able in comparison to his first spell with the Gunners, and the pace of the Premier League has quickened further in recent years.

It’s one area in which Arsenal have genuine cause for concern, especially if Coquelin is absent and they find themselves up against an opponent capable of springing quick counter-attacks.

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