Player Focus: Emmanuel Frimpong & Francis Coquelin
In the second of our 'first impressions' articles, taking a look at the club's new playing staff, Adam Pembrey reviews the impact of 'promoted from youth' pair of Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong.
He’s quite the character isn’t he? Those of you who follow him on Twitter will know what I’m talking about. Anything positive is referred to as being ‘DEEEEENCH’ (five E’s) and we have also seen him reply ‘pfffft c’mon Jack’ to Jack Wilshere when tweeting a good luck message to Samir Nasri, not to mention referring to the manager as ‘Daddy Wenger’.
So one impression we get of him is a fun loving young lad who should bring some laughter and energy to the dressing room. It’s on the pitch though that really matters and it is been a mixed bag so far. He has shown plenty of tenacity, aggression and energy in midfield which we have sometimes been lacking however he needs to channel it a bit better which he didn’t do against Liverpool. He shows a willingness to run with the ball and go at players which is great however he also needs to work a little bit on his passing which can be erratic.
I like Frimpong a lot and believe he can add something to our squad which we don’t have. I can see him providing cover/competition for Song and I can also see him playing with him as the pair of them can provide a great screen in front of the defence allowing the ‘other’ midfielder be it Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta etc to get forward and work their magic.
Coquelin is a bit more of an unknown quantity than Frimpong, we don’t hear as much from/about him off the pitch and he is less noticeable on it. The small amount I have seen of him though I’ve been impressed. He seems to be very composed and goes about his job quietly and effectively. He has that Gilberto style ‘invisible wall’ quality to him. One thing you would say is that he could perhaps add a little bit of tenacity and aggression to his game and perhaps look to support the attacks a little bit more.
On both players
I think we have two very good prospects in Frimpong and Coquelin. If Frimpong can add some of Coquelin’s composure to his game and Coquelin can add some of Frimpong’s energy and drive they could both turn into very good players for Arsenal, it will be interesting to see if there is room for both of them to make it at the club, and if not which of the two will prevail.
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The wait for suitable back up for Alex Song has been a long and overdue affair. It has previously been a case of best fit between Denilson and Diaby with neither having the tools or the mentality to suit the role. In Frimpong and Coquelin and wait could well be over with two options that genuinely fit the role each bring something unique to the mix.
Physically and stylistically Emmanuel Frimpong looks the most natural replacement like for like but whilst his youthful exuberance is a massive plus and a breath of fresh air in many ways he just needs review the efficiency and discipline to his work, but he’s well on track and a reunion with Wilshere, whom he played with through the youth ranks, could be well be the catalyst for his step up.
Francis Coquelin had been somewhat of an unknown quantity having spent time on loan at French side Lorient, but he looks the more polished and accomplished player for it. There’s a touch of Emmanuel Petit in the way he collects the ball and distributes the play forward, as well as the positional perfection of Gilberto. Francis has faced some daunting situations but has shone every time.
We are a long way away from it being a case of either or at this stage of their careers and the fact there are two shares the burden giving each the time to reflect and develop.
Read part 1 of our 'first impressions' series on Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun