It’s Stupid To Write Off Coquelin Now…

Date published: Thursday 1st January 1970 12:00

It's Stupid To Write Off Coquelin Now...

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Coq Of The Walk
‘My Coq Has The Best Defensive Stats’…

F365, you saucy minx.

Stupid To Write Coquelin Off Now
Easy to laugh at Wenger saying that the Coq has the best stats in Europe, isn’t it? telling people how he ranks 15th for tackles and 32nd for interceptions in this massively mature, 3 game Premier League season.

But using Squawka stats for Coquelin, Matic, Xabi Alonso, Danielle de Rossi and Sergio Busquets, arguably the best defensive midfielders in the world, it turns out that Arsene is almost 100% right. Looking at “per 90” metrics, Coquelin comes out top for interceptions, blocks, tackles won and the slightly subjective ‘Defence Score’ and is second only to Matic for clearances (3.66 vs 3.72).

People, including one or two of your columnists, were up in arms over Arsenal’s failure to sign the likes of Schneiderlin or Schweinsteiger but le Coq again beat both of them in all categories with the exception of being a close second to Schneiderlin for tackles won (3.17 vs 3.25). While I agree that Arsenal need a decent back-up for the times when Coquelin is out injured or (more likely at the moment) suspended, I doubt either of those two would be happy sitting on the bench nor would the board or Wenger be praised for spending £20m+ on a player who wouldn’t start.

Would be nice to see a striker signed and either a back-up DM or new legs for Arteta, but if Coquelin has anything close to the season he had last then our first choice DM is sorted. And to JazGooner, I’ve spent the whole window trying to not get my hopes up, please don’t start now.


Wishing Markovic Well
I, for one, shall miss him.

Mostly because if I squint hard at a camera long shot he looks a bit like Steve Macca when he’s off down the wing.

On a more serious note, he’s got a lot of time to come good at only 20 and just looked a bit too slight for the premiership. A year out the limelight lifting weights and getting hoofed in Turkey might be good for his strength and confidence
Matthew H

You Can’t Knock A Hat-Trick
I get why people are sceptical of talking up Rooney’s goals against Brugge. However, I do take exception to the continued dismissal of a Champions League hat trick.

There is no denying Rooney has started the season slowly. Yet there are several mitigating factors. For one, Utd only played four pre-season games. Rooney played between 45-60 mins in each of those as well as 17mins in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial. This is a player we all know takes time and games to get full match fitness. In each match so far this season there have been signs of fitness and form returning.

This culminated in his scoring a hat trick this week. His movement for the first goal was fantastic and his finishing excellent. Yes, Brugge wouldn’t tear up any trees in the Premier League but that shouldn’t take away from an objective analysis of the performance. This also came on the back of the weekend game where he could well have opened the scoring having broken the offside trap.

Is Rooney in decline? In truth, I don’t think anybody can say on the basis of 5 matches this season. The last 2-3 years have been spent plugging gaps in other areas of the team. Watching the games it looks like he’s been figuring out his movement bit by bit and is starting to make those runs you need from a lone striker.

Besides isn’t everybody willing Rooney to return to prolific goal scoring form in a season which culminates in the Euros. Or are we just hoping that knackered Harry Kane or that the crocked Sturridge can lead the line for England.

Another Ideal Premier League
Loved reading Ben, MCFC’s email this morning on his ideal league, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Man Utd.
Man City
Dirty Leeds
Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield United
Derby County
West Brom
Aston Villa
Nottingham Forest

I call it the ‘Northern, Welsh & Midlands Premier League’. Entry price will be thruppence ha’penny, or tuppence if you bring your own cultural token of being downtrodden, like a kestrel or your granddad’s defunct union card. Bovril, Bitter and Vimto will be the only drinks on offer; pies, barm cakes, stotties and rarebit the only food, and we’ll bring in those German standing terraces with the un-unfoldable seats. All matches will be on a Saturday afternoon, no excuses. Bliss.

All you Londoners/unlucky Southerners caught in the black hole pull of London can have your own league, with quail’s eggs and tiny bottles of expensive water, and stupid plastic chairs that numb your arse, and Chelsea, and matches all nights of the week. We’ll keep the good bits. And Manchester.
Matt (only joking….a bit) LFC

…Ben, MCFC, Manchester – you’d take Derby County’s 7 seasons in the Premier League, including the lowest points total of all time above Southampton’s 16 seasons.

I suggest you look up the definitions of both “traditional” and “established”. Go ahead and check out “exciting” while you’re at it. No problem with the rest of your list though, except probably Bolton over Wolves.
Dave, Spurs

RIP The North
Ben, MCFC’s list looks about right – in terms of the clubs that have big stadiums, and great post-WW2 histories. These are, with one or two exceptions, the “big clubs” of English football.

But they’ll never all be at the top again. The population of England’s gone up by about 7 million since 1970, while the population of the north (accounting for 11 of the 20 “ideal” clubs) has barely increased. Even without getting into the increased relative prosperity of the south, new teams were always going to emerge.

Some clubs have been fighting the depopulation and deprivation of their heartlands for a long time – the population of Liverpool has almost halved. It’s not clear that they can continue doing so forever.
Nick O’Connor

Martinez Is Playing This Perfectly
I’m sorry Pete B, I know you’re annoyed that we haven’t just rolled over and given you our player because you want him but I’m not quite sure how you can liken Roberto Martinez to Comical Ali.

Yes Stones is going to be in a difficult/strange frame of mind at the moment so his club probably should try and support him. He’s a 21 year old man under enormous pressure from fans and media so I would be appalled if the club were not willing to support him. It may not be the way Chelsea would do things but I like to think we’re better than that.

And you criticise Martinez for saying we have great plans for him because we haven’t bought enough players yet. Yes, we do need a bigger squad but it’s not always about buying players. Again, you’re a Chelsea fan and the last time you brought a player through the youth ranks was John Terry so you may not understand this but we have some excellent young players coming through that we are trying to build as a team.

This is obviously a different type of plan to Chelsea who want to buy first team ready players rather than develop their own (hovering up young talent, loaning them to Vitesse and then selling them for a profit may be good business but it doesn’t constitute a youth policy) but that doesn’t mean you should be laughing at our manager for that.

Also, he does want the window closed but as it is open, we, along with every other club will operate within the rules and use the time available. That’s within the rules, not tapping up another club’s player.

Yes we are no longer the force we were but we are still a big club with a big tradition so I’m not sure how you can criticise him for saying that.

In terms of his own career, this is a completely different situation. He stayed with Wigan previously when he could have left and only moved on with the full blessing of his employer so please tell me where the double standards are here?

The reality is Chelsea have acted with complete disrespect for the rules, our club and the player. I accept that Everton took Stones from Barnsley and will ultimately lose him to a club higher up the food chain than us. We have also signed Mason Holgate from Barnsley again in a similar situation. The difference is that at no point were we told that Stones or Holgate were not for sale. A bid was made and accepted.

Clubs are entitled to bid for players but having been told publicly and I would assume privately on a number of occasions that the player is not for sale, Chelsea continued to bid making the player and club unsettled and then got players and management to discuss our player in the media. Sadly with Mourinho and Chelsea it does not surprise me.

If and when Stones leaves I will genuinely wish him well. He has conducted himself professionally under enormous pressure. He seems a genuinely likeable young man who is grounded and has off his own back been involved with a lot of the clubs work in the community. It’s for these reasons that when he does leave I would rather go anywhere but Chelsea. Learning from John Terry and Mourinho? He’s better than that.
Sam, EFC

Son Song
Just a thought, but they have one already:

Nice one Heun-min
Nice one Son
Nice one Heun-min
Let’s ‘ave another one

(Ask your grandparents).

I’ll get me coat.
Wilson “old enough to remember the Cyril Knowles song” Beuys

Good Spot
Did Mediawatch make a reference to JoJo’s absolute classic from 2004 today!? (“Get out, leave”)

I hope so because I’d forgotten that song and now I’m listening to it, absolutely loving life.
Rob, Kingswinford

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