Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?Sabotage Times, We can't Concentrate so Why Should You?


Arsenal: Why Emmanuel Frimpong Will Lose Out To Francis Coquelin

by Sam Drew
27 June 2012 25 Comments

With Emmanuel Frimpong possibly tweeting his way into Arsene Wenger's bad books, could he still break into the Arsenal team, especially up against Francis Coquelin?

Emmanuel Frimpong Francis Coquelin Arsenal

While one young Arsenal defensive midfielder, Emmanuel Frimpong, seems intent on making himself into a brand – DENCH! Leave it yeah! – his team-mate, Francis Coquelin, is going about his business in a much more reserved fashion.

The two players, who seem to be in direct competition for a spot in Arsenal’s first team next season, had two very different journeys to get to that position. Frimpong joined the Gunners at nine years old, while Coquelin was signed in July 2008.

Coquelin burst onto the stage (or should that be peeked around the corner and jogged onto the stage?) first, playing for Arsenal in friendlies soon after joining. He impressed in Austria during the annual tour in pre-season, and whispers began amongst Arsenal fans. Having played for the reserves since joining, he made his full debut in September 2008 – he lined up in a slightly unfamiliar right back position against Sheffield United in a 6-0 Carling Cup win, demonstrating his impressive versatility, a sign of things to come.

As for Frimpong, he was added to the reserve ranks in 2008, but made his debut for “the stiffs” the following year against Chelsea. This was having already played a major part in Arsenal’s successful FA Youth Cup campaign, in which he played alongside Jack Wilshere and Coquelin in midfield. He too played a prominent role in a tour of Austria, in 2010, before featuring impressively in that summer’s Emirates Cup.

Coquelin lined up in a slightly unfamiliar right back position against Sheffield United in a 6-0 Carling Cup win, demonstrating his impressive versatility, a sign of things to come.

However, injuries took their toll on the youngster. After a cruciate ligament injury kept him out for 9 months following his promising cameos in pre-season, he returned to fitness and figured as a substitute in a couple of early 2011/12 Premier League games, before starting against Liverpool. At the time, Coquelin was on loan to Lorient, so the fact that Frimpong was selected – during an injury/transfer crisis – was not a slight on the French midfielder.

Frimpong, who could play for either Ghana or England, impressed against Liverpool with an industrious, lively performance in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. His performance was like that of a warrior, and one particular moment stands out when he took the ball on, charged forwards and unleashed a rocket of a shot which was tipped just wide by Pepe Reina. He turned to the Arsenal crowd, pumping full of adrenaline, and gestured fiercely for the crowd to up the ante, which went down a treat with Gooners.

A bust-up with public enemy number one only further endeared Frimpong to the Arsenal masses, with his passionate tweets – including one directed at the Man City midfielder – also increasing his popularity.

Sadly, another moment stands out from this game – after a seemingly ridiculous yellow-card for a slight altercation with Lucas, he received a second yellow for unfortunately up-ending the Brazilian in a clumsy late challenge. Despite receiving his marching orders, however, most Arsenal fans were impressed with Frimpong.

An apparent bust-up with public enemy number one Samir Nasri only further endeared Frimpong to the Arsenal masses, with his passionate tweets – including one directed at the Man City midfielder – also increasing his popularity. In January he joined Wolves, but having impressed initially during his loan spell, his stint was cut short when he received the exact same injury to his anterior cruciate ligament, but in the other leg.

Frimpong remains on the treatment table as it were, and this led to Coquelin being in with a chance to prove himself. He played in a few games in the second half of the season, at first at full back due to another injury crisis, and then later in midfield after an injury of his own.

Frimpong has become immersed in the DENCH brand that he and “musician” Lethal Bizzle have created, and still seems somewhat immature.

The two midfielders have both impressed in different ways for Arsenal on the pitch, and undoubtedly bring different qualities to the table. Coquelin, however, seems more grounded – Frimpong has become immersed in the DENCH brand that he and “musician” Lethal Bizzle have created, and still seems somewhat immature.

The differences between their personalities have probably been well-documented, and of course might well have a big impact on their respective careers. However, with more and more opinions emerging on their off-pitch styles, there hasn’t been much comparison of their playing styles.

Frimpong is, as stated earlier, much more of a ‘warrior; Arsene Wenger described him as “a battler”, and praised his immense spirit, while also insisting that he would channel said spirit in a bid to help Frimpong improve.

Coquelin is much less under-stated; he’s a tenacious ball-winning midfielder in the mould of, say, Mathieu Flamini – although Arsenal fans will hope he has a happier ending at the club. He’s an impressive passer of the ball, and the work he does in the middle of the pitch is often vital to Arsenal’s success when he plays.

Coquelin is much less under-stated; he’s a tenacious ball-winning midfielder in the mould of, say, Mathieu Flamini.

From these last two paragraphs, two separate conclusions might be made – that Coquelin fits in with the Arsenal style better, or that Frimpong could be useful to offer variety. If possible though, Wenger may look to keep both of them as squad options and rotate their positions like with Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs, picking either one based on the specific game.

However, it seems as if, with Arsenal’s traditional abundance of players emerging in midfield, which adds to the talents that are already in the first team, that only one of Frimpong and Coquelin will ‘make it’ at Arsenal. While the former is perhaps limited technically, he does offer some qualities which Coquelin does not, so the two are pretty much neck-and-neck in the playing department.

Therefore it may well be that Frimpong loses out because of the ongoing circus around his personality. This isn’t entirely his fault – ten years ago nobody would have cared and he wouldn’t have had Twitter to showcase some potentially worrying – for a football manager at least – characteristics, but he still demonstrates immaturity at times, and if he doesn’t grow up completely, he might lose out to Coquelin.

Other recent stories you might like:

Arsenal Fans: Here’s What Olivier Giroud Will Do To Premier League Defences

Arsenal Transfer Rumours Quiz: M’Vila, Vermaelen And Pie Shops

Arsenal: Add M’Vila To Podolski And Giroud And We’ll Challenge For The Title

Click here for more stories in Football and Sport

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook

If you like it, Pass it on

image descriptionCOMMENTS

no comment 11:01 am, 28-Jun-2012

Your article is riddled with errors. First Lecoq was not on loan during the start of the 2011/2012 season. 'lecoq' is a different type of player to frimpong and for me we need frimpong more than we need Coquelin. The fans who keep on going on about frimpongs temperament, I have a simple question for you. How many games did Patrick Veira use to miss a season due to suspensions. Arsenal needs to keep players that support the team to become a first class team like Barca or the Manures. Coquelin will most probably leave arsenal when he becames an established player like the others who have left before him.

Paul 11:51 am, 28-Jun-2012

Agree with the first post. We need to be keeping Frimpong and giving him a chance. Personally don't think we need M'Vila, I'd rather give Frimpong an extended run in the first team, he looked very promising and committed at the beginning of last season. We should be looking for a world class centre back instead and our summer transfer dealing will be looking excellent.

john 12:20 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Coquelin over Frimpong any day. Not just he is technically good over frimpong, he can also cover many position which frimpong doesn't seem to capable of. Ball winning ability wise also Coquelin is way ahead of frimpong an the best thing about coquelin, He keeps his head where is neck is.

Rob 12:59 pm, 28-Jun-2012

The BIG problem with Frimmpong, other than loosing his head occasionally. is that he will be missing for half the season every two years with the african nations. If he becomes a really good player and the team rely on him as a first choice defensive midfield then we cant then loose him for long periods on a regular basis.

richard morgan 1:12 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Its nice to see that both players have their supporters and detractors which is right. Out of the two I prefer Coquelin he has better passing consistency, However I would keep both I know Viera was mentioned above and we need a player like him again but we also had a petit it could be that these two players side by side recreate a similar partnership to that of Viera and petit neither should be sold and given the chance to shine thankfully with arteta rosicky and song we have the chance to bring these two along at a slower pace. I have not mention wilshere here or Ramsey as they young players too. An idea for the carling cup earlier rounds would be to put these two together and put a more creative player maybe gnarbry in front of them. Remember also this season sees our youngster pit their wits against the likes of barcelona and madrids youngsters along with teams from italy germany and so on this will improve these youngsters no end.

Sam Drew 2:27 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Apologies for the fact mix-up, poor on my part. It's not really Frimpong's temperament per se that's the problem though, for me anyway, but his attitude off-the-pitch. Vieira's focus was absolutely on football, whereas you could argue that Frimpong's let being a footballer go to his head. I would say we do need someone in the mould of M'Vila - calm and composed on the ball, a good passer, disciplined. Frimpong might be that player one day, but I don't think he's ready to be relied on that much just yet. As for a world class centre back, I reckon that would cost us upwards of £20 million - I'd much rather have Laurent Koscielny, and Vermaelen & Mertesacker are good too. None are world class probably, depending on your definition of world class, but I think they're easily good enough for our first three choices at centre back. Koscielny is only going to get even better. I'd agree with both John and Rob - as for someone like Gnabry in front of Frimpong & Coquelin, Richard, I think Ramsey might be used in the CC next season. Don't forget Wilshere was in his break-through season, and I think Gnabry is still a little too raw. Good chance for Ramsey to get his form and confidence back.

MIchael 2:40 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Frimpong played against Liverpool at the start of the season because Coquelin was playing for France at the FIFA World Cup (U-21, I think), not because he was still at Lorient. Coquelin only returned the week prior to our infamous loss at Man Utd where he started.

Sandy 3:43 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Mvila? Disciplined? You mean a player who, when subbed, walked straight off the pitch of France's match with Spain without shaking the hand of his compatriot Giroud and his manager? Same dude who punched a teenager outside of a restaurant? At least Frimpong is an out and out Gooner and doesn't stomp off po'faced when subbed? You need players like Frimpong, he is raw promising talent and has never disrepected the manager publically.

davi 6:02 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Coquelin is a classier, more versatile player, but Frimpong has some amazing qualities. He's immensely strong for someone his age, really incredibly strong. Personally I think giving Coquelin 1st team football should be the priority because he's better technically, tactically, and even physically, despite being weaker, given that he is not weak at all in reality (just compared to Frimpong) and is quicker. That said, I could never say that I'd be happy to see frimpong leave. I'm thoroughly convinced that he would have kept wolves up this year, such is the effect he was having on their games: completely dominating the midfield, even taking shots and setting up chances. He has an imposing personality and is destined to be a big player somewhere - hopefully at Arsenal, alongside Coquelin. If Mvila really is on the way I have a feeling Coq may find another niche in the side, but I'm sure Wenger sees the value in keeping both of these players around.

davi 6:10 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Rob - The ACN isn't a big problem unless you're talking about several 1st team players all going at once, and even then it's hardly for "half a season", it's about a month, although it can disrupt individual players' form.

sam 8:06 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Mvila? Disciplined? You mean a player who, when subbed, walked straight off the pitch of France's match with Spain without shaking the hand of his compatriot Giroud and his manager? Same dude who punched a teenager outside of a restaurant? At least Frimpong is an out and out Gooner and doesn't stomp off po'faced when subbed? You need players like Frimpong, he is raw promising talent and has never disrepected the manager publically. dude you missed out an important bit he was flirting with his sister

Sam Drew 10:29 pm, 28-Jun-2012

Sandy, when I said disciplined I meant on the pitch; tactically disciplined, tidy on the ball, not going to go galloping forward all of the time like Song. Someone to help us be steady; like Arteta did I suppose, although that wasn't always enough. (as for the punching a teenager, wasn't he defending his little sister? If so I'm sure everyone would defend their sister, although I'm admittedly not 100% on the situation with that) And Davi, I agree with your comment entirely.

sreidc 12:45 am, 29-Jun-2012

I think Frimpong, Coquelin and Wilshere would make a great midfield in the future. Frimpong has the strength and fight to protect the back four, while wilshere and coquelin both have the ball-winning, creative and technical ability to absolutely dominate the midfield when they mature. As someone already mentioned, they have already played together with success. I'm hoping frimpong and coquelin can get slowly developed and worked into the first time with enough game time to keep them happy until they are ready to succeed the likes of song and arteta.

sreidc 1:03 am, 29-Jun-2012

I'd just like to expand on why i'd like to see wilshere, coquelin and frimpong form our future midfield three. All three have a high work rate and excellent defensive qualities. Both wilshere and coquelin have the technical and creative qualities to pull the strings up front, but combine that with the aforementioned defensive qualities, and they would have a lot of flexibility to rotate and pivot in the midfield, and any of the three could sit and cover how arteta does for song now. I think this type of midfield would do more for our defense than anything, but would also not sacrifice our attacking play. This is the type of midfield play that dominated man city this year, highlighted by arteta's late goal after an excellent steal in midfield.

Bangladesh 4:07 am, 29-Jun-2012

Both are good, both should get chances and rotated. How ever i can see Frimpong being the next Viera or the next Yaya Toure.

Gooner 1:35 pm, 29-Jun-2012

Frimpong all the way, he has been bred in the Arsenal way since he was 9, Wilshire and him have an understanding that is very hard to develop overnight and only he looks like a replacement for Vierra!

gunnerstuff 12:19 pm, 30-Jun-2012

I hate it when people always talk about his attitude off the pitch. So is Jack Wilshere's attitude bad because he g

gunnerstuff 12:26 pm, 30-Jun-2012

I hate it when people always talk about his attitude off the pitch. So is Jack Wilshere's attitude is bad because he got a girl pregnant at 18? No. At the end of the day, he's Arsenal through and through and is fully commited to make it here. Even with a big set back, he did not give up and faught to come back and do whatever needed to win some appearances, and now with another big set back, he's fully commited to doing the same again. Who cares if he decides to make some songs with his family in his free time while he's sidelined? Right now, he's off twitter, in the gym with Jack and Hendo with his full focus on getting fit for the new season. That's what's important. Besides, Wenger rates him highly. And he's already said he'd like to stay at Arsenal forever, that to me from a young player in this day and age is great to see. I remember before injuries gave Coquelin his chance, he was so frustrated with not playing he was talking about a January transfer.

Yann 3:09 pm, 30-Jun-2012

The best we ever saw both Frimmy and coq last year was when they played together against citeh. Those two looked damn near telepathic.

Arsenal fan 3:27 pm, 30-Jun-2012

Why can't we keep them both?

Neil Patrick 12:10 am, 1-Jul-2012

Frimpong is injured I don't see what the big deal is about him doing music or making t-shirts. Wilshere was having a kid a 18/19. Other players are getting arrested at Frimpong's age.

Oniang'o from Kenya 3:40 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Both players are fantastic and we need to keep them. We need to provide support to song and the two are up to the task. I wish them well.

DanM 7:15 pm, 5-Jul-2012

Not an Arsenal fan, but if i had to pick one i'd pick Coquelin-he already looks like he can play at that level for a long time.

Michael Dickens 5:08 pm, 4-Aug-2012

Frimpong needs to get off Twitter, Soccer AM and Youtube and concentrate on his career, otherwise he'll just be another footballer entrapped by the footballer lifestyle. I realise he's been injured and is just keeping busy but he seems more bothered anbout being DENCH than he does becoming a top footballer for the Arsenal

Barry 11:42 pm, 13-Sep-2012

Coquelin is obviously a better football player than Frimpong. Anyone who objects clearly hasn't analysed either player sufficiently enough to pass judgement on their ability (most likely bandwagon jumpers because he's a more well known player for 'perceived' accolades off the pitch). Coquelin is better technically and tactically; the only thing that Frimpong tops him with is physicality. He also integrates into the team much more astutely and naturally because he possesses the Arsenal style. There is no doubting that Frimpong has the potential to become a good player but until he stops his indulging lifestyle with the likes of Twitter and YouTube abuse then he may not reach that potential. I do think, though, that with the likes of Wilshere, Diaby, Arteta all ahead of them in similar roles one of them will have to leave and I sincerely hope it's not Coquelin.

Leave a comment

Football image description SABOTAGE

1