Francis Coquelin is in line for a long term contract at Arsenal, following his impressive displays in the last few games.
After what has been a disappointing career so far for the defensive midfielder, he has suddenly come out as a surprise performer and a player that cannot be dropped from the first team, especially after his recall from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic.
While his good performances have been against teams that weren’t exactly the toughest to deal with in terms of quality, the Manchester City game was supposed to be his acid test, where he would either be found out by the City midfielders, or if he will come out on top in the battle. On evidence of the game on Sunday, he came out in flying colours, denying space for David Silva to do the magic that he does.
The overall contribution of the players in the City game was excellent, but Coquelin received specific praise for the way he positioned himself during all the time that Manchester City had the ball. He was always disciplined and focused, and he also ensured that his teammates around him stuck to the plan.
This is a fantastic turn of events for a player whose contract would have come to an end in the summer, and his loan spell to Charlton was more or less a shopping window for other clubs to see what he can do. But a combination of unfortunate circumstances, where players like Arteta and Ramsey were injured, has seen the French midfielder recalled and given a chance in the middle of the park, and he has taken the opportunity with both hands.
This, however, is not the first time that an Arsenal player has had fortune play a role in sealing his place in the team. Mathieu Flamini was a similar beneficiary, where injuries saw him play a very important role in the team’s march to the Champions League final in 2006. He followed that with a scintillating 2007/08 season in the defensive midfield position, eventually moving on to AC Milan rather than renew his contract with Arsenal.
An even bigger beneficiary of circumstance was Ashley Cole, who was on the verge of being sold to Crystal Palace, but was stopped at the last when it came out that incumbent Sylvinho’s passport was a forgery. Cole took his chance, and became one of the best left backs in the country.
Hopefully, Coquelin will be another such beneficiary who will take advantage of the opportunity that has been given him, and if he does sign the contract, Flamini’s future at the club would be a major doubt.