Coquelin with Freiburg in 2013.
|Full name||Francis Coquelin|
|Date of birth||13 May 1991|
|Place of birth||Laval, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|2000–2005||AS du Bourny|
|2010–2011||→ Lorient (loan)||24||(1)|
|2013–2014||→ SC Freiburg (loan)||16||(0)|
|2014||→ Charlton Athletic (loan)||5||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:30, 15 May 2016 (UTC).
Born in Laval, Mayenne, to a French mother and a Senegalese father, Coquelin began his career playing for AS Laval Bourny before departing in 2005 for the biggest club in the commune, Stade Lavallois. Coquelin spent three years at the club before being spotted by renowned Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi, while on international duty, playing in a 2008 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship elite round qualification match against Israel.
On 22 July 2008, Coquelin joined Arsenal from Stade Lavallois following a successful trial with the club. Although he suffered a thigh injury which cut the trial short, Coquelin impressed and was subsequently offered a deal to stay in North London.
Coquelin played for the first team in Arsenal's pre-season matches against Barnet and Szombathelyi Haladás in the summer of 2008, and made his competitive first team debut for Arsenal in a 6–0 win over Sheffield United on 23 September 2008, coming on as a substitute for Fran Mérida to play at right back. Coquelin scored his first goal in an Arsenal shirt in a reserve match against Stoke City on 6 October 2008, shooting powerfully in from the edge of the box with his weaker left foot.
He was a regular for Arsenal's reserves during the 2009–10 season, playing 12 times and scoring twice. On 22 September 2009, he made his first start for the first team against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup third round, playing 58 minutes before he was replaced by Mark Randall. He featured again in the League Cup, this time as a second-half substitute for Fran Mérida in the 2–1 victory against Liverpool. Coquelin made a disappointing first FA Cup start in a 3–1 loss to Stoke City. Playing in an unfamiliar right back position, he was substituted in the second half for Aaron Ramsey.
Coquelin opted for a move to Lorient on a loan deal that saw him play his football in France throughout the 2010–11 season. He made his Lorient debut as a second-half substitute in the 2–1 home defeat to Nice on 14 August 2010. Coquelin grabbed his first assist as Lorient lost 6–3 to Lille. After beating one Lille player, he played a through-ball for Kévin Gameiro for Lorient's opener. Coquelin received his first red card while playing at right back against Valenciennes. He received the second yellow card after a handball decision. Coquelin scored his first goal in professional football as Lorient beat Rennes 2–1; he scored the winner from close range after Rennes goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez had spilled a Morgan Amalfitano long-range effort. In the latter stages of the season, Coquelin was heavily used on the right hand side of midfield. He completed his loan with Lorient making 24 appearances in Ligue 1, one appearance in the Coupe de France and scoring one goal. Sky Sports reported that Lorient manager Christian Gourcuff was keen to re-sign Coquelin as well as his Arsenal teammate Gilles Sunu on an additional year's loan.
Return to Arsenal
After spending pre-season at the U-20 World Cup with France, Coquelin returned to Arsenal and on 28 August 2011 and made his first team league debut against Manchester United. He played 62 minutes in the 8–2 defeat before being substituted for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Coquelin made his second Premier League start for Arsenal in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. Despite Arsenal losing the game 2–1, Coquelin was voted as Arsenal.com's Man of the Match by fans for the first time. On 6 December 2011, he made his UEFA Champions League debut for Arsenal in the 3–1 away defeat to Olympiacos, playing 67 minutes before being substituted for Tomáš Rosický. On 10 January 2012, he signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal. The Frenchman had been rewarded with a new deal after demonstrating his versatility with a string of fine performances in both holding midfield and defence. Coquelin got his first assist for Arsenal in the 7–1 victory over Blackburn Rovers; his low cross to the front post was converted by Robin van Persie.
At the start of the 2012–13 season, Coquelin received a new squad number, moving from 39 to 22. He made his first start of the season in the 6–1 home win against Southampton, playing 67 minutes before being replaced by Aaron Ramsey. Coquelin provided his first assist of the season in the 6–1 victory over Coventry City in the League Cup; his sliding flick on for Olivier Giroud allowed his compatriot to score his first goal for the club. On 25 October 2012, Coquelin was again awarded Arsenal.com's Man of the Match for his performance in the 2–0 home loss against Schalke 04.
On 5 July 2013, Arsenal announced that Coquelin would be loaned to SC Freiburg for the 2013–14 season. He was played out of position on the left wing during most of his time in Germany, which he admitted he found "tough". He does however credit his season loan there as being beneficial to his development as a player, and in November 2013 scored his first goal at first-team level in a 2–1 win over Slovan Liberec in the UEFA Europa League.
Without taking part in any games for Arsenal during the first three months of season 2014–15, Coquelin joined Championship side Charlton Athletic on 3 November 2014 for a month's loan. He made his debut a day later coming off the bench in Charlton's 2–2 away draw with Leeds United at Elland Road. Coquelin's loan deal was originally extended through the end of December 2014, but on 12 December, the media reported that Coquelin had been recalled early due to an injury crisis at Arsenal.
Having been recalled from his loan at Charlton to cover for injuries, Coquelin made a late substitute appearance in the team's 4–1 league victory against Newcastle United on 13 December 2014. After further substitute appearances in the team's next two matches against Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers, Coquelin was selected to start a Premier League match for the first time in 23 months as Arsenal beat West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground on 28 December. After this, Coquelin retained his place in the Arsenal team and performed impressively as the Gunners defeated champions Manchester City 2–0 at the Etihad Stadium on 18 January 2015. In his Press Conference on 22 January 2015, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke of Coquelin's loan to Charlton, saying, "I saw that he made huge improvements in training so I sent him on loan for match practice." On 1 March, during the win against Everton, Coquelin broke his nose in a collision with teammate Olivier Giroud after a strong home performance as a midfield pivot to Santi Cazorla. Coquelin wore a protective mask and produced a resolute performance in the heart of midfield again against Queens Park Rangers on 4 March 2015, completing 89% of his passes and successfully performed six out of six tackles.
Coquelin was a revelation on his return from loan at Charlton, establishing himself as one of the top defensive players in the Premier League. Since his first start of the season for Arsenal against West Ham United in December 2014, he went on to lead the league in defensive interceptions made, one-on-one duels, and placed second in tackles made, only four tackles fewer than Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta. Arsène Wenger publicly displayed his shock of the sudden impact Coquelin brought since returning from loan, being quoted in The Guardian saying that Coquelin could be a "long-term solution."
He played in the season's opening game, the 2015 FA Community Shield against Chelsea, which Arsenal won 1–0. Coquelin missed two games in September against Leicester City and Tottenham with a minor injury, and was dropped for a League Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in October. Despite the three missed games, Coquelin played in every other Arsenal game since the season begun, but his season was halted by a knee ligament injury sustained in a 2–1 defeat to West Brom that ruled him out for three months.
Coquelin returned to training in mid-January 2016, and made his return to the first team on 30 January, playing from the start in Arsenal's 2–1 win over Burnley in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Coquelin is a French youth international having earned caps for the under-17s, under-18s, under-19s, under-20s and under-21s. Coquelin played a key role in France winning the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, starting four of France's five matches. In the semi-final against Croatia, Coquelin skipped past three challenges and slipped a pass through for Cédric Bakambu to score the winning goal and put France into the final.
Coquelin, as well as former Arsenal teammate Gilles Sunu, were named in France under-20's final 21-man squad that competed at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Francis started and completed all seven of France's world cup games, as France finished fourth in Colombia.
- As of 15 May 2016
|SC Freiburg (loan)||2013–14||16||0||3||0||0||0||5||1||0||0||24||1|
|Charlton Athletic (loan)||2014–15||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0|
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