Francis Coquelin irreplaceable for Arsenal, claims Martin Keown

Martin Keown runs the rule over Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin

Francis Coquelin has become an indispensable member of Arsenal’s first-team, according to Martin Keown.

The France Under-21 international has been ever-present in the north London side’s starting line-up this season after starting in all five of their Premier League games.

What has become obvious is that, no matter who Arsenal are playing, without Coquelin they do not have the necessary balance in midfield

Martin Keown

Coquelin also avoided the cull in the Champions League as Arsene Wenger fielded a weakened side for their 2-1 defeat Dinamo Zagreb, which saw the French midfielder introduced as a substitute.

Former Arsenal centre-half Keown explained why the 24-year-old defensive midfielder has become a key component in Wenger’s Gunners side.

“You could say that some of Arsenal’s players let Wenger down, because he has trusted them and trusted his squad. It is now looking like it is not strong enough to cope,” Keown told BBC Sport.

“The worst thing about it is that, when you look at the group of players Wenger has got to choose from, Francis Coquelin has now become almost irreplaceable because they do not have anyone else who can do his job as a disciplined defensive midfielder.

“Missing out on Morgan Schneiderlin, who joined Manchester United in the summer, looks like a bigger blow now.

“What has become obvious is that, no matter who Arsenal are playing, without Coquelin they do not have the necessary balance in midfield.”

Coquelin has been virtually ever-present in the Arsenal side since the end of 2014.

The former Charlton Athletic midfielder helped the Gunners retain their FA Cup crown after a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in the final at Wembley.

MORE: Read the latest Arsenal player tweets

Arsenal make the short trip to defending Premier League champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

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