Coquelin Set For A Rare Start For Arsenal At Right Back Against Hull

Due to a crisis in the right side of Arsenal defence as a result of injury to first choice Mathieu Debuchy and suspension to Calum Chambers, many Arsenal supporters have been divided in their opinions on who to take charge of the position between 19-year-old Hector Bellerin and 23-year-old Francis Coquelin, the versatile and utility player, for the English Premier League clash against Hull City this weekend. While many would easily fit Hector Bellerin, the Spanish speedster as the right back position for the sole reason that he is a right back, highly rated and has played in that position for Arsenal’s senior team twice this season, many others believe that Francis Coquelin is more experienced has played in that position more times than the Spaniard before his loan spell at Freiburg last season.

Originally a defensive midfielder, Coquelin has demonstrated that he could be Arsenal’s next utility player as he has played at right back, left back recently against Southampton, in Arsenal’s FA Cup 2-1 defeat and could be offensive as a midfielder. The 23-year-old, who was on loan at Freiburg in the German Bundesliga last season, has just a year left on his existing contract was a subject of a deadline day transfer link to London EPL rivals, Queens Park Rangers. However, Arsene Wenger refused to sell the player, probably because of times like this when there are injury problems in the squad. No talks of a contract extension have been revealed for Coquelin but for now, it would be just ideal to have the player justify his status as an Arsenal player.

With a midfield comprising Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby, a very good but injury-prone player, Aaron Ramsey and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who all can play as defensive midfielders and are more highly rated than Coquelin, his chance of being even on the substitute bench is very slim, except Wenger decides to keep him on the long term to understudy Flamini and Arteta, who are past 30. Therefore, because he has been strong playing makeshift roles for Arsenal in the past, the opportunity to play the very physical English Premier League oppositions should just be handed to the French player who has had some impressive performances against very tough oppositions in the past.

Arsenal was linked to a plethora of defensive midfielders all summer long because Wenger was believed to desperately want an anchor man on the long term. Names like Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton, Sami Khedira of Real Madrid, William Carvalho, who plays for Sporting Lisbon and Josuha Guilavogui, an Atletico Madrid player, made the news this summer as likely options in the transfer market, all of who are believed to fit Arsene Wenger’s desire for that position perfectly. However, after the departure of former Captain Thomas Vermaelen, the club’s attention seemed to shift from the need for quality defensive midfielder to adequate defensive reinforcement especially in the Centre-Back position. Also, the departures of Carl Jenkinson on loan to West Ham United and Johan Djourou’s permanent move to Hamburg FC, meant that Arsenal only have 6 senior team defenders for the new campaign. Then, the speculations surfaced that Wenger would rather buy a player who can fit both roles of defensive midfielder and defender, especially central defender. This saw names like Luis Gustavo, William Carvalho and Benedikt Howedes, the Schalke 04 Captain gracing the pages of newspapers, websites and blogs, as likely candidates. None of these rumours have seen the light of the day, which may be a result of Wenger’s plan for Coquelin.

Francis Coquelin has played not only in the defensive midfield position for Arsenal in the past, but also in either full-back positions when required. He just so unfortunately belongs to an Arsenal side that has an array of good players especially in the midfield where he plays.

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