Dietmar Hamann: The player who can help Arsenal win the title
Dietmar Hamann believes that Francis Coquelin could prove the key to an Arsenal title challenge next season
Dietmar Hamann has claimed that Francis Coquelin could be the player to inspire Arsenal to a genuine Premier League title challenge next season.
The Gunners finished third and won the FA Cup last season as they failed to recover from a slow start in the league, ending up behind champions Chelsea and second-placed Manchester City.
Coquelin enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season as he made the midfield holding role his own in the absences of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini.
And former Liverpool midfielder believes that Coquelin could prove to be the missing link in Arsene Wenger’s squad as the Frenchman looks to guide his side to their first top-flight title since 2004.
Hamann told talkSPORT: “He made a huge difference to them, results improved dramatically [when he came into the side], and he gave them that protection in front of the back four.
“He had a massive influence and if he can repeat what he did last season I think they are set fair. With the likes of [Aaron] Ramsey and [Jack] Wilshere going forward they’ve got so much quality and you know they are always going to score goals, so defensively was always the problem with Arsenal.
“Coquelin deserves a big mention. Can he do it again? It remains to be seen but, if he does, they will be a lot closer come the end of the season. I expect them to be fewer than five or six points off the Premier League winners, and I think they’ve got a fighting chance to win it.”
Arsenal are in action in the Emirates Cup this weekend as they continue their pre-season preparations at their home ground.
The Gunners take on Lyon on Saturday afternoon before facing Wolfsburg in their annual curtain-raise in north London.