Francis Coquelin, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye
One midfielder completed just six passes and had zero successful tackles on Wednesday night in Munich – Francis Coquelin.
It caps an awful run of form for the Frenchman but Arsene Wenger continues to select the midfielder.
Coquelin is basically your stereotypical English midfielder. Loves to put a tackle in (but apparently not on Wednesday!) and he can point and shout with the best of them. If passion was quantifiable, he would be right at the top of the charts. He is however a very limited footballer and should not be a regular starter for a team with Arsenal’s ambitions.
He adds almost nothing to the team going forward and very little at the back. There is a genuine argument to be made that he is actually detrimental. Yet he continues to escape criticism in the press and with pundits. Instead, Mesut Ozil gets 6000 articles a week published about his form.
Don’t get me wrong, Ozil deserves some of the criticism, but when the midfield behind him is a shambles, he does not have much chance to succeed.
What does Mohamed Elneny have to do to get a run in the team? He can do everything that Coquelin can do at the back, and actually contributes going forward. Despite being played in more of a box-to-box role this season, the Frenchman has failed to register a single assist.
Coquelin can be a useful squad player but he should be in a similar role to that of Mathieu Flamini over the past couple of seasons. Played in the cups and used sparingly in the league, either to hold onto a lead late on or if you have a number of injuries. Instead he plays week in, week out.
Wenger has made many questionable decisions over the years, but his faith in a player that is just not good enough is baffling. In the past, you could usually see the logic behind his decisions, even if you did not agree. This though, is a real struggle.
Something needs to change at the club, whether that is the manager or the players. The first thing on the list though should be finding a functioning midfield that does not leave the team playing like they are down to 10 men.