Beige paint. Tan carpet. Silver cars. Milk. Coldplay. These are all things that exist and yet slide under the radar most times - not interesting enough to elicit a reaction, boring enough to not offend anybody, and yet useful in sentences like this so hopefully they never go away. Francis Coquelin would fit in that sentence too, but nobody would know who he was.
The thing I remember about Francis Coquelin was a game against Blackburn (I think) where he was really, really aggressive with his tackling, that a lot of people thought was a good thing but failed to notice it opened up the entire right flank. He played a few times in midfield, and got hurt after playing relatively well against Chelsea, but aside from that, I don't remember much from Coquelin.
I remember far more from his 2011/12 season, and it seemed as if this season was a step backwards; plus, the injuries. Not being injured is a big thing (hi Abou!), and it's not as if there's a single source of injuries we can point to as we could with long term injuries that were the result of some thug breaking a leg (again, hi Abou).
Remember Frank Grimes? That's kind of a pointless question if you don't/didn't watch The Simpsons, I guess. But Frank Grimes was the guy that nobody knew, even though he'd been around forever - he did his job, he didn't get recognized for it, and, at the point where this analogy falls apart, he electrocuted himself trying to act like Homer Simpson in order to show how easy it would be to live like Homer.
All throughout his episode, though, there were jokes made about Grimes' anonymity. He was a competent person, but others, both more and less competent, got all the exposure, recognition, and acclaim. The world is full of Frank Grimeses, and the Premier League is full of Francis Coquelins - players who play, get no acclaim, yet keep finding places to play.
So yep, that's Francis Coquelin. He was an Arsenal player, I guess. He might be again next season, and he might not.
Grade: D, delivered with a Gallic shrug
When I went back to think about Francis Coquelin's season, something occurred to me. I literally don't remember a single performance he had this season. And when I say "literally," I'm not misusing it - I had to look up his season statistics to make sure he hadn't been loaned out.
I'm not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing, but I'm leaning toward the latter. I've always liked Coquelin, and I've thought he could be a really good midfielder for a while. But if he played 22 times for Arsenal this year, and I don't remember a single one, he wasn't getting a lot of stand-out performances (or starts) in. When you add that in with the rumors that he could be on the way out at Arsenal, it makes me think that he's not doing a lot to impress the manager and the coaches. I hope he stays, because I still think he can be a really good player. But he's going to need to do a better job of showing it, and soon.
Francis Coquelin played in eight league matches, eleven in total? Huh, wow. That's pretty interesting, unlike anything he did on the pitch this past season. Then again, it's pretty hard to stamp your name on a match and the manager's conscious when you only feature in a grand total of
94 what was I looking at probably the amount of hamburgers Alisher Usmanov could eat in 20 minutes 222 minutes of league play, accumulate two yellow cards and one singular shot on goal.
Look, in all honesty, he's simply not at the right club. Not a club with newfound transfer money laying around, ready to be splashed on players who can elevate them to the trophies everyone's desperate to win. He could do well to move on, whether on a season-long loan to get more time on the pitch or a transfer away. While not a great player, Coquelin's not a bad player, but the timing of his arrival to the first-team coupled with the internal and external pressures on Arsenal means he's best served to find somewhere else to play.
Like everyone else, I don't really remember much that Coquelin did this year, and certainly not much positive. I'm not really sure what his future holds in an Arsenal shirt, but given that he's behind other midfielders who pass better than he does and are more positionally disciplined, and that even when he appears, he doesn't really seem to offer much as a backup option...I dunno.
He's pretty far down the pecking order, often injured, and there are probably better players to be had out there as backup options at this point...he's a good tackler when he's in the right place, but other than that, he probably doesn't have quite enough for regular play with Arsenal.