Mails: Why Coquelin is actually playing well…

Date published: Monday 13th March 2017 10:05 - Daniel Storey

Keep those Mails coming for Monday morning to…


The horrific coverage of Arsenal vs Lincoln
I realise this may make me look like a bad winner, but goodness me the commentary was bad in the Arsenal game. I thought the BBC were bad for the Sutton game, but BT Sport took it to the next level.

Where to start?
– Practically celebrating a Lincoln victory because they dominated possession in the opening 5 minutes. “They haven’t come here for a day out.”

– Hyperventilating with excitement every time Lincoln made a tough challenge.

– Laughing about the Lincoln defender who said pre-match that he would smash Alexis if he went past him rather than condemning premeditated assault.

– Laughing again when he did exactly that and the ref didn’t even give a foul.

– Calling Arsenal lucky to be winning.

– Once it was clear the game was over for Lincoln, ignoring their previous claims and saying that they never expected to win anyway.

– Missing the delicious irony when the guy who said he would smash Alexis missed his tackle because he was too busy trying to get Alexis with his follow through, missed the ball because of it, and allowed Alexis to beautifully curl in a goal.

– Laughing about Ozil being pushed in the back and then being indignant when he shoulder barged a Lincoln player.

– Screaming for a yellow for Lucas when he went down in the box even though it was clear from the replay that he was caught on his standing foot. Yes he went down in installments and I don’t blame the ref in any way but to see it so obviously in the replay and ignore what’s in front of your eyes is ridiculous.

– For getting in digs at Wenger at every opportunity. Sure, we mostly want him to leave at the end of the season, but what does that have to do with the match you’re supposed to be commentating on?

– And most of all for not letting me enjoy a thoroughly enjoyable match and for making me want to see Lincoln humiliated just to annoy them.

I suppose professional performance from Arsenal to see off plucky but inferior underdog doesn’t play up to the narrative does it?
Adonis Stevenson, AFC


Coquelin is actually playing really well
After the recent discussions about the best midfielders in the league, I thought I’d play around with a few comparisons. My final comparison was that of Kante, Herrera, Gueye, Coquelin this season and Coquelin of 2 years ago (his breakthrough season).

Here’s what I learnt:

1. Herrera is indeed as good as Kante when it comes to defensive contribution on almost every measure. Herrera then destroys him on attacking numbers. Some will point to the fact that Kante’s defensive work is shared with Matic but it is important to note that Matic’s numbers are very poor and on par with Pogba and Carrick, making that point invalid.

2. Idrissa Gueye is incredible. We really don’t need numbers to show this but he is outperforming both Kante and Herrera defensively. It is also important to note that he is usually the more attack minded central midfielder when playing alongside Barry, McCarthy and Schneiderlin, making his stats even more impressive. Where would Leicester be if they’d just listened to the scout that brought them their success and signed him?

3. Coquelin is actually playing well. He has made a few high profile errors that have really hurt this reputation but it all goes back to Wenger deciding he should instigate a high press solely because Ozil won’t do it. Pressuring opponents so high up the pitch where they have various passing options has led to him looking unfairly lost and out of position when they pass him easily.

4. Finally, I’ve wanted to say Coquelin is as good if not better than Kante when used properly for such a long time. However, I’ve had to stay quiet with every match day this season and had even began to doubt myself. However, comparing his stats from two seasons ago to Kante’s this season proves my point. He was averaging 20 defensive points a game to Kante’s 7. 3.17 to 2.37 tackles a game. He wins 4x as many aerial duels a game. He has more successful take ons and wins 2 more interceptions per game. He blocks 5x more per game and clears the ball almost 3x as much as him.

Key takeaways from this are that Herrera is underrated, Kante is still incredible but is beginning to border on overrated while Coquelin is an excellent defensive midfielder that should be played there.
Yeabsra A Ali


The relegation battle is going to be great
(MC – This was submitted just before Saturday’s matches. Amazing what can change)
Despite many pundits trying to convince us that it is not over yet, in the minds of logical fans, the title race is already over. However, what really doesn’t need any advertisement is what is shaping up to be an amazing relegation battle. I thought I’d go over every team.

14. Bournemouth – 26
Only 4 points above the relegation zone now. A few wins below them could put them right in the middle of it. They look incapable of defending and don’t have the talent to outscore teams. I don’t think Eddie Howe is made for this. Even if he decides to play defensively from now on, I don’t think he has the players to do it. I personally think they will be one of the three to go but they really only need a few lucky wins to pull clear.

15. Leicester City – 24
We know they have their confidence back but the real question is how will others teams set up against them. If they are given space like against Liverpool they will be okay, the problem is if opponent start to sit back. I think that this is the reason Ranieri was trying to move to a more possession based style of play. I think that their newly found bounce will carry them through.

16. Swansea City – 24
Look reinvigorated. Are very well organised but also easy on the eye. Paul Clement needs praise for making a defence containing Naughton, Fernandez and Mawson look so competent. I think they will pull clear early and maybe even finish in midtable.

17. Middlesbrough – 22
My bet to go down. A chronic lack of goals plus a manager who continues to bench Adam Traore despite him looking like the only player that can cross the halfway line with the ball. Are also susceptible defensively without Calum Chambers. A sentence that gets funnier every time I read it. Karanka’s transfer windows decisions have also been poor. Signing two slow and tall strikers when there problem was ball players was a poor decision. Look doomed to me.

18. Crystal Palace – 22
In my opinion, they have too good of a team and the perfect manager for this sort of situation to fail. Zaha, Benteke, Cabaye and Sakho are all European class while the others around them are at the very least mid table players. Results have been inconsistent but I think they’re settling. They should be fine.

19. Hull City – 21
I already think Marco Silva is a genius for making them look like footballers again as well as his extraordinary transfer market signings. Ultimately, I think selling your two best players at a time like this is insane and considering most of their signings were on loan, I didn’t see why it was necessary to do so. I think they’re good enough for the league but they might go down due to there being other similarly improved teams.

20. Sunderland – 19
I don’t think they’ll pull off their annual survival because there is no new manager bounce this time around and the teams above are actually good this time, unlike the dross they’ve had to contend with in the past. Pickford and Defoe should be picked up next season.

There you have it. My final prediction is:
14. Swansea
15. Leicester City
16. Crystal Palace
17. Hull City
18. Bournemouth
19. Sunderland
20. Middlesbrough
Yeabsra A Ali


Kane kind of is a flat-track bully
I want to talk about Harry Kane and the huge praise he’s getting recently. I’ll admit I don’t watch as many Tottenham games as I do other ‘top 6’ games. I’ll switch over and watch a ManU, Arsenal, City or Liverpool game, but for some reason not a Tottenham game. Perhaps I still don’t consider them a ‘big’ team. That’s a different argument I don’t want to talk about.

After your recent article and glowing comments in the excellent winners and losers (seriously I don’t know what I’d do at work without you F365, love you). I went to look at who’s scored, and realistically isn’t Harry Kane a flat track bully who is very inconsistent? Since the turn of the year he has scored he has scored 14 of his 19 goals against Everton, Stoke, West Brom, Watford and Boro. He has failed to score against Liverpool, Man Untied, City and Chelsea.In fact all season he’s scored 1 goal against the top 6. With this if he doesn’t score he gets a fairly poor overall rating. Basically saying if he doesn’t score he offers little else.

Perhaps I need a bigger data set and dig a little deeper, but I can’t really be bothered. I just wonder if he is all that, or just a flat track bully who is very inconsistent.


Now look here: Liverpool didn’t bottle it
Your article on Bottle Jobs is another example of the re-writing of history. Time to put the record straight.

In 2013 Liverpool led the league for just one week, and by only two points. Had they won it, the accusation of “Bottler” could equally have been aimed at both City and Chelsea. The reality was it was an unbelievable title battle, which Liverpool didn’t win.

The Palace game is nearly always now taken out of context, as it is in your article. At 3-0 Liverpool couldn’t afford to close the game out. They needed to win by six to put pressure on City, and continued to throw everything at Palace. After a valiant attempt, they eventually ran out of steam. This is completely different to bottling it.

A much better example is United of 2012, which strangely never appears in these types of lists? Top of the league by 5 points and leading first 3-1 and then 4-2 against Everton, they let the game slip to 4-4, and then go on to lose to City, who go on to pip then to the title. The true definition of bottling it!


Fair weather fans
Full top tier against Chelsea in an FA Cup game we’ll almost certainly lose, deserted against Rotherham in our most important game of the season. As Delia would say “where are you?”.

If you care about your club you turn up when they need you not just when you want.
Tom S, Wolves


Why are the referees punished, not the cheats?
After reading that UEFA will sideline referee Deniz Aytekin after the Barcelona vs PSG match, I ask myself how many referees will be sanctioned for contentious decisions helping Barcelona qualify against odds. Why is there no corresponding retrospective punishment for Suarez? Why are referees not wary of Barcelona tricks even when we see them cheat time after time.

I know it’s not easy to score six goals even if being helped by the ref and PSG must shoulder a large part of the blame, but if Barcelona are allowed to get away with this disgraceful behaviour while refs are being punished then where is the moral ground for that?

We don’t care about punishing referees while the team that always benefits from their decisions gets away with it. Even the yellow card for Suarez’ diving are helpful to Barca. Because the ref has dealt with it, he cannot be punished further and he should.

What is the point of having a goal line official if he cannot see Mascherano clip Di Maria? Maybe they were instructed to only scrutinize the PSG defenders.

Stop punishing referees with one hand while, with the other hand, slipping Barcelona through to the next stages of CL. No one is impressed. It’s happened too many times against too many opponents.
Paul, CFC


Nobody likes a show-off
Can I come work for you. I have a wealth of knowledge about football. Coupled with the fact I could have played easily at professional standard. I think I would be perfect for your company .

I have always worked for my family business and I managed to graduate in law. I got some really cool stories but just want you to commission them.

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