One of the bright spots over a remarkably inconsistent season for the Gunners has been the emergence of young talent like Francis Coquelin. His development has been facilitated by the various injuries Arsenal have struggled with throughout the course of the season and this raises the question: what happens when these sidelined players return? Will Coq still get opportunities in the first-team or will he fade into obscurity and come to regret his decision to sign a new Arsenal contract in January?
He was one of 4 or 5 Arsenal players who lit up the Emirates on Saturday with a scintillating performance against a lackluster Blackburn side. His versatility and his willingness to fill in where necessary (at least I haven’t heard him complain thus far) have made him a real asset this season and I for one hope that the opportunities keep coming for young Coq.
I’m sure Coquelin would prefer to be utilized in his favoured defensive midfield position but with Alex Song becoming more and more essential to this Arsenal team his opportunities are likely to be limited. With that in mind, we shouldn’t forget how useful Coquelin has been for the Gunners as a fill-in right-back. Whilst the return of Bacary Sagna to this position will be a cause of celebration for Arsenal fans, it will also mean that the Coq will be relegated to the substitute’s bench.
That is unless Wenger choses to utilize Coquelin down the left. Kieran Gibbs isn’t yet match fit and Andres Santos is still some way off, so why not give him a chance? At the moment Wenger has been forced to play Thomas Vermaelen out of position in the left-back slot when he’d serve the Gunners better in his usual centre-back position.
As things currently stand with injuries taken into consideration, this is my ideal Arsenal back-four: left back: Francis Coquelin, centre backs: Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen and right back: Bacary Sagna. This would make for a pacy backline with a good mixture of experience and youth. It also leaves the more than capable Per Mertesacker to fill in where necessary.
Coquelin had a little experience in the left-back position earlier this season and looked pretty handy. He has got the strength and stamina to get up and down the wings and he has got the defensive nous to cope with his left-back duties. Surely deploying him here makes more sense than to continue to play Vermaelen out of position?
What’s your take? Should Coquelin be switched the left-back position or be forced to wait it out on the bench?
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