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The recovery of Arsenal Football Club

The recovery of Arsenal Football Club

The recovery of Arsenal Football Club

Coquelin - an important player for Arsenal

It is no coincidence that Arsenal's sharp turnaround in form has aligned with the introduction of a quality defensive midfielder.

Francis Coquelin - who would have thought it 6 months ago - has proven himself as a quality player for the Gunners since the turn of the year. Arsenal fans have been crying out for a defensive midfielder for over three years, or maybe longer, since the departure of Gilberto Silva. However, manager Arsene Wenger has waited patiently for the consistently injured Abou Diaby to force his way into first team recognition. Who could believe it that a player, who spent two spells on loan at German minnows Freiburg and perennial strugglers Charlton Athletic, would go on to become one of Arsenal's most important players of the last three years.

If you're not convinced yet, you will be soon. In January, Coquelin emerged from the shadows to star in a victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Since then, Arsenal have turned in one of their best runs in almost a decade in the league and are now surprise contenders for the Premier League title. Arsenal take on Chelsea in a huge match at the Emirates Stadium and now is the best chance Arsene Wenger has of getting one over his rival Jose Mourinho. If Arsenal grab three points, who knows where the title race could head after that?

What makes Coquelin so effective is the way he slots so perfectly into Arsenal's lineup. Arsenal historically have played a very attacking formation with both full backs kicking forward, essentially creating a barrier of three players in front of two central defenders. Hector Bellerin, who also has had an impressive introduction to Arsenal's first team this season, helps the Gunners get forward with that incredible pace. Nacho Monreal on the left adds that little bit of extra panache that Kieron Gibbs perhaps lacks. Coquelin provides the cover for his defence and spreads the ball between his midfielders in front of him and the full backs who push on up the pitch.

Arsene Wenger hasn't changed much. He's stubbornly stuck with his style of football for years. What has changed is the emergence of a quality defensive midfielder. Finally.

Can Arsenal continue their recovery and make a real challenge for the Premier League title? Let's wait and see.