Francis Not Coqy About His Place In Arsenal XI


Granit Xhaka’s arrival at Arsenal has been welcomed by other squad members with Per Mertesacker and Francis Coquelin both positive about the contribution the Swiss midfielder can make this coming season.

Mertesacker told the official website:

“He’s a leader and that is really important, especially in midfield. He has got a very good attitude, is very composed on the ball and contributes a lot.

“He is a good passer as well, so he will set the tempo. I am looking forward to how he does it, how composed he will be in training and in the games. He will be the perfect signing for us.”

It’s been no secret that many of us have been frustrated in the past with the absence of this type of player. We have lacked individuals who are able to take a game by the scruff of the neck in a physical manner. Xhaka is no stranger to the disciplinary issues which come with that attitude toward the game and made it clear when he joined that he wanted to come to England because the football suited him.

Who will accompany him in the centre isn’t, I think, certain. At £35m, he hasn’t come to sit on the bench and nor will Arsène put him there; a manager obsessed by value for money hasn’t spent that much on a squad player.

To begin with, I don’t think Wenger is going to change the formation. Despite Olivier Giroud’s performances improving as part of a partnership for France, I think Wenger will stick with his notional 4-3-3. He could go to a more orthodox 4-4-2 with Alexis up front and Özil shifted to the left. With more Premier League clubs pitching the centre of their midfield with ‘enforcers’, the flank gives the German an elusivity he may not otherwise find so often.

The freedom of the role, drifting inside and wider may make his creativity more telling, although a consistent scorer would undoubtedly have a similar effect. Orthodoxy of thought means we all too often cast the wider players in the role of wingers. That’s not necessarily true of Arsenal. Wenger has preferred in the past to have a winger in the side, countered by a box-to-box midfielder on the other flank.

With Hector Bellerin willing to scamper forward,  that may work on the right but reduces the effectiveness of Aaron Ramsey. However, the question of importance to the side has to be balanced by the individual, subsuming their personal desires into the team ethic.

One player eyeing the situation nervously must be Francis Coquelin. He isn’t complacent about Xhaka’s arrival:

“We’re playing for Arsenal Football Club. There’s always going to be great players around the club.

“It’s a positive fight for everybody one. It’s going to take the best out of every one of us.

“We know we are going to sign quality players and I think he is one. He’s going to add quality to the team and that’s a good thing.”

Coquelin’s contributions shouldn’t be undervalued but with Xhaka arriving, the prospect of the Frenchman becoming more conversant with life on the bench is very real. With Mohammed Elneny also competing, there are four spots and half-a-dozen players eyeing them up.

I suspect that one or two will fall by the wayside along the way. Santi Cazorla, 32 in December, is most likely to leave next summer; he’s still got much to offer the team but reduced playing time probably isn’t featuring highly in his plans.

Coquelin and Elneny are the interesting players in this sense. Even with our appalling injury record, there is a wealth of midfield talent in the squad. With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott rivalling Alexis and Aaron Ramsey for the wider roles, we are quite unbalanced in the sense of numbers across the middle of the pitch. Versatility covers several of the positions off and I think we could see some ‘names’ shorn from the squad over the next 12 months.

Talking of which, Bolton’s Rob Holding is set to join for a fee believed to be in the region of £2m. We’re negotiating it apparently; yes, I raised my eyebrow as well in a startling good Roger Moore impersonation.

And we’re also in for Matthias Ginter or Jason Denayer (Manchester City, if don’t know) as long-term replacements for Per Mertesacker.

’til Tomorrow.

142 thoughts on “Francis Not Coqy About His Place In Arsenal XI

  1. C says:


    I can fully understand that and makes sense because the officials in the top leagues protect certain players and not others. I hope they do grow apair and start handing them out but I feel it might be one of those things were in the first month of thr season we will see it and then as the season goes on we will see less of the refs having a the balls to show a card to certain players.

  2. C says:

    Apparently twitter is going crazy because Wanda Icardi is in London apparently based on her twitter.

  3. silvergunner says:

    Yeah c the icardi thing might have legs.

  4. silvergunner says:

    Well one things for sure we will definitely see more reds and yellows.

  5. C says:


    It certainly might and would certainly mean a change in CF style of play. I actually think he is the type of striker we need who is more worried about scoring goals than being apart of thr build up. The only thing is he is a first class asshole as Big Al pointed out and Gooners would have to deal with opposing fans chanting about how he took his mates (Maxi Lopez I think) and then married her.

    The guy is an asshole but he scores goals and at 23 will only get better.

  6. Wavey says:


    It works both end of the pitch for me. If you have your foot on the ball you are control of it and you can do what you want. If you are not touching the ball, but stopping another player from getting to it that’s obstruction.

    Video analysis for shirt pulling is fine by me.

  7. silvergunner says:

    Yeah c he is an asshole but like vardy would probably get 20 goals in the epl from CF that’s key to challenging he wont have it easy from opposing fans. My money is still on Aubameyang it’s a quiet around him which I find quite odd.

  8. andy1886 says:

    Silver, if we’re going to buy Auba then it probably would have to be your money on it, because AW certainly isn’t going to pay the sort of fee that has been mentioned!

  9. C says:


    I think you would be treading in dangerous water because there are times when a player is shielding the ball in the middle of the pitch but doesn’t have hit foot on it.

    I agree though on shirt pulling in the box (even if Kos does it regularly), it would be a foul outside the box so why not inside it too.

  10. C says:


    He will get goals, Big Al made the point that he might get bossed physically but I think in our system he would be fine because of his movement and playing with players like Ozil, Sanchez and Xhaka would take some of the focus off of him and allow him to move more freely.

    Aubameyang would be quite the signing if it did happen.

  11. andy1886 says:

    Personally I would like referees to be reviewed internally on some sort of ‘fairness’ basis. It’s a simple matter to go through the game after the event with a panel of referees and determine if the two sides were treated equally. So in essence the ref can have a bad day but if he’s makes decisions that are more or less equally poor on both sides then fair enough, it’s just a bad day at the office. What we do know however is that even if it is subconscious referees tend to favour the bigger clubs, and some clubs more than others. Bias doesn’t have to be overt, somewhere inside there will be a little voice that says big club A should be beating little club B, and that will have a bearing on decisions. Similarly if big clumsy CB D tackles fleet footed skillful forward E and the forward goes down there is an inclination to assume there has been a foul.

    Some referees may actually be biased of course, but intentional or not if a referee is seen by his assessor to have been overly favourable to on particular side, or overly harsh with the other, then ultimately they can be ruled out of future games featuring that club for a certain period of time. Which would have ruled out Mike Riley from ever taking another Arsenal v ManUtd game after the so called ‘Battle of the Buffet’ in October 2004.

  12. C says:

    Middlesboro have signed Negredo, that might be a good signing for him even though he didn’t have much success at Citeh, he understands the PL and did help them.

  13. C says:

    Don’t know if the Napoli President De Laurentiis is just talking out of his ass (which is known to happen quite a bit in Italy and with Italian clubs) but he said of bids for Higuain:

    “The only offer I’ve had was from Atletico [Madrid] president [Enrique Cerezo] a month ago and I told him we couldn’t do it,” De Laurentiis told reporters at the pre-season training camp in Dimaro.

    “He offered me €60m plus two or three players and I said no.”

  14. silvergunner says:

    c hats of to boro they have a decent striker on their hands he knows the league and to be fair looked really good for half a season.

  15. C says:


    He did look good for half a season. Rumor has it they were in for Subotic too before that deal fell through.

  16. andy1886 says:

    Stoke offer WBA £20M for Berahino which makes Walcott worth what? £25m?, £30m?

    I’d be looking to sell, but suspect that Arsene has him pencilled in for the Liverpool game….

  17. C says:


    What makes that bid for Berahino even more interesting is that its £20M and he only has 1 year left on his deal if I’m not mistaken.

  18. HenryB says:

    Andy, @4:08

    The PGMO Board was formed to provide all referees for the Premier League, Football League and Cup matches. It consists of the three governing bodies’ Chief Executives and Referees’ Managers in addition to The FA’s Head of Refereeing.

    Therefore, referees managing games in the Premier League are appointed by the Professional Game Match Officials Board and those referees are regularly assessed, and disciplined as appropriate.

    There are referees who seem to make rubbish decisions against particular clubs – and frankly there are two who I dislike refereeing Arsenal for that reason. However, that is just a personal and unprovable opinion, and to be honest I cannot believe refs are up to intentional mischief — unless I am reading Untold Arsenal. 😀

    I may have misunderstood you, but as I read it — your chances of having any other refereeing panel introduced — would fall somewhere between ‘fat’ and ‘chance’. 😀

  19. HenryB says:

    Hi C,

    I am not a betting man, but if I was to have a non-monetary bet with you, I would say that the Napoli President is probably telling the truth when he said that he had only had one offer for Higuain — and that implies it was not Arsenal.

    It is no surprise to me, as I simply could not give the rumour credence once I heard the alleged cost for the player was (originally) £60m and has risen incrementally since then.

    Higuain, in my opinion, is a bum steer, as would be my opinion for any player quoted around that figure — at a guess, I think any purchase price would mirror the amount paid for Sanchez — that is the ball park — and even that is unlikely. If Arsenal had got Vardy for £20m that would have been it – so another £60m or £70m fora CF sounds like a creation from La La Land. 😀

  20. Wavey says:


    I know, but it’s just that it irritates me so much. And if it could be brought in it would make defenders work that bit harder when being pressured by the forward. It might also stop some of those frustrated lunges through the back of forwards by defenders when the forward is simply trying to keep players from the ball and nothing else.

  21. Wavey says:

    Why does La La get to have her own land? The rest of the teletubbies are going to be pissed when they find out.

  22. C says:


    I was speaking more to the £60m plus 2 or 3 players. I am in agreement with you about the fact that Arsenal probably didn’t bid. I was hopeful that we would see it but at the same time I figured they hadn’t especially when you consider that outside of releasing Arteta, Flamini and Mozart the only other sell has been Wellington Silva.

    Athletico made a bid (if Athletico would have gotten Higuain to pair with Griezmann, Carrasco and Gaitan with that defense, they would have been an even bigger threat to doing the treble) and I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal asked.

    I’m not sure what to think of the Vardy thing because I feel like if we would have gotten him and Xhaka the business would have been done in Arsenal’s eyes given the 2 or 3 players Arsene spoke about bringing in and then it would have been about the sell of players. It felt like if Arsenal were going to make additions to the first team, that they wanted them to be done prior to the Euro’s and the rumors now are just for clicks.

    This Icardi thing may have some legs because his wife is his agent and she popped up in London but I think even then it depends on how much Arsene and Arsenal want to spend.

  23. C says:

    Sky are reporting that Fat Sam is going to be confirmed the new England Manager within the next 24 hours.


    Last week I think it was when I said that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fat Sam named Manager of England and you scoffed at the idea, well………….. 😉

  24. C says:


    It would also stop some of those frustrated and bone headed challenges and pushes from forwards and attackers on defenders as they shepherd the ball out of bounds.

  25. DeiseGooner says:

    I really do hope there is something in the Icardi rumours. I think we might have gotten Greizman when he was 22-23 but didn’t want to risk it at the time. I hated that Liverpool got Suarez from Ajax, it should have been us. I have the same feeling about Icardi. I really do think he is about to kick off

  26. Hoksilato says:

    L’Equipe reporting Pogba to ManU for c. 120m euros agreed by all parties….
    Watch now Juve buy Higuain and then Napoli chase a striker or two with the 95m they got from Juve…. We will have to wait until everyone has done its shopping before making a move on who’s left 🙂 GREAT

  27. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    I’m hoping for Icardi, even if just because he’ll be a new bauble. He is very similar to OG in that he is accomplished as a hold up the ball type of player. He seems to be a better striker of the ball than OG. Scored 16 league goals last term in a very average Inter side. He is not quick aground the pitch by any stretch but still has more legs than OG to get on to a ball. He well absolutely not contribute defensively whether at set pieces or defending front to back. I’d rather have Higuain, but begs cannot afford to be choosers.

  28. C says:


    I think the biggest thing is his movement and while he isn’t overly fast he has enough pace and quickness to get the space needed to finish. Agree he won’t necessarily help out defensively most of the time but its part of the package. He does do the hold up but isn’t the great passer or dribbler but is good enough and will continue to develop. I think though its his movement that suits the current Arsenal team.

  29. YW says:

    Evening all,

    There will be a post now that BT have decided to get us working again. In the meantime, I’ve cobbled together something on Dad’s Jukebox:

  30. andy1886 says:

    Good old BT eh YW? – not!!

    Gave AFC a little more time to bag a signing that you could include in your post but alas AFC are even slower than BT (but just as reliable when it comes to disappointing their customers it seems).

  31. andy1886 says:

    Often said about the best strikers that although they may not be the quickest the first half yard is in their head, if we sign him I hope that he’s one of those.

  32. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    I hope so C. To be honest I’m not that bothered by names, after all when we had free scoring RvP, we still managed to find ways to Fuck it all up. It is the Arsenal way. The lack of work ethic is what is most frustrating. I’ll be in Cali next week to watch Arsenal play, so I might get a look at Xhaka.

  33. C says:


    Understandable, hopefully the signing of Xhaka will help change the way we play but it starts from the top so who knows.

    Lucky lucky you, you’ll get to see Chambers v Drogba as Chambers has been apparently talking about facing him. Though you will get to see Adelaide and Iwobi who I hope can each take the next step in their respective developments.

  34. jonnygunner says:

    Higuain isn’t worth the money that’s being mentioned,it’s fucking crazy- I also don’t think Icardi is worth £40m either.Paying over the odds for a player you’re desperate for is one thing but are we really,really £40-£90m desperate?

  35. Damon says:


    That’s quite a wide spectrum of “desperate” you’ve put forward there. I think we need to be prepared to break the club record to get the CF of a standard we need today

    Stoke just apparently offered West Brom £20m for Berahino. A year left on his contract and West Brom haven’t ripped their arms off to grab the deal. That’s where the market is today

    I personally don’t think there is anyone out there that offers an attractive return on anything over £60m. Higuain at his age at the kind of money Napoli are talking about doesn’t do it for me.

    I’d imagine Lukaku and Aubameyang could be prised into our colours for somewhere a bit closer to £60m and either of those two work for me. They still have the potential to go into the megastar realms. It’s a punt. One our current manager won’t take, imo

    I can’t shake the feeling that the search is being almost entirely cost driven. Vardy at £20m already feels like it would’ve been a theft in this window. If this Icardi thing has any legs, the £40m they’re talking about seems light to me too, considering how few young strikers are about. Conincedence? Not for me, too much form for a bargain. I’m completely fine with the concept of value for money, as my reasoning above on Huguain shows. The point is, there’s no value if you’re shopping for a Hoover and come home with a bag of apples and some penny chews. The missus will say, it might have saved you a hundred bloody quid, but that’s not going to score you 20 league goals this season, is it. I mean, clean the carpets, is it 🙂

  36. Damon says:

    Interesting that Everton are looking set to take Leicester assistant manager and chief scout into Koemans new regime

    Could be the two signings of the summer?

  37. aligooner says:

    My first comment in a while, but this morning’s transfer news speaks volumes about where we are yet again in a transfer window:

    Arsenal look at securing Rob Holding from Bolton….
    Pogba on his way to United for £92mil

    The absense of ambition in the club is staggering

  38. Wavey says:

    Wenger has a very defined view of what he believes to be value and has never believed in paying up just because the market puts a value on a player. He also doesn’t appear to agree the the supply v demand principles of rising prices, he’d rather shop for cheaper players that he hopes will improve, or sits on the sidelines. He clearly thought that the prices were right for Ozil and Alexis given what he was getting. He was also willing to pay double digit fees for Walcott, Ox and Chambers as he believed he was getting young stars in the making. If he doesn’t see a bargain he is happy to make do. That just won’t win you titles in a market where there are big spenders willing to buy in the talent to win trophies. Unfortunately Wenger’s approach suits the businessman who owns the club. That doesn’t bode well when the league is flush with money and other teams are willing to stump up for players. Palace has been throwing £30m+ bids around like confetti.

  39. YW says:


    Don’t forget Watford turned down £32m for Deeney.

  40. Damon says:

    Let United take him for £92m

    A player they let go on a free – FFS!!! And they want to blow the trumpet to it??

    I personally think its utterly hilarious. He’s a really good player, but I don’t think he’s worth half that, let them embarrass themselves and lets see who Juve throw all the money at in turn (Higuain? Sanchez??)

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