Faithful departed: No crisis at Arsenal, says Coquelin

Departed midfielder Francis Coquelin says there is no crisis at his former club.

Faithful departed: No crisis at Arsenal, says Coquelin

Premier League

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Today: Emirates Stadium, 3pm

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Betting: Arsenal 4/9, Palace 11/2, Draw 7/2

Coquelin left for Spanish club Valencia last week but continues to back Arsene Wenger to pull the club out of its current slump — Arsenal haven’t won in five games,

“It’s not a crisis, they just need a couple of results to get going again,” Coquelin told the BBC World Football show.

However ,Coquelin believes his former boss must sign a high-quality replacement if star man Alexis Sanchez leaves for Old Trafford.

“People tend to forget what Wenger has done for the club,” he added. “I understand the frustration but everyone should stand by him, everyone should be behind [him]. That’s the only way results are going to turn around.

“If they let Sanchez go, what I am sure of is they will have to strengthen the team, because he will be a big miss. For fans, they demand a competitive team. They will be upset if no-one comes in the transfer market and they let Sanchez go.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to arrive from Old Trafford as part of the Sanchez deal and Granit Xhaka has backed the Armenian playmaker to be a success at the club he once professed to love.

Mkhitaryan has struggled to make an impact at Manchester United since joining in the summer of 2016 and hasn’t featured in Jose Mourinhio’s plans in recent weeks.

Having impressed Gunners boss Arsene Wenger while playing against Arsenal for Borussia Dortmund, Mkhitaryan has been a long-term target for the Frenchman. Signing Mkhitaryan would soften any blow suffered by the loss of Sanchez, who is out of contract in the summer and could walk away then for free.

Xhaka, who came up against Mkhitaryan during his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, reckons he has seen enough to know he can shine in north London.

“I read that in 2009 he said that he likes Arsenal,” said Xhaka. “I’m sure the style of play here would suit him. Every player has their own qualities. He is a great footballer, so let’s just see what happens.

“It was tough to play against him. To be honest, I would rather have played alongside him. He is a player who is obviously very good and has lots of good qualities, as well.”

Xhaka was referring to a UEFA interview with Mkhitaryan during his spell at Armenian side Pyunik, where he praised Wenger and said Arsenal were his “favourite team” and that he would “want to play there one day”.

Speaking ahead of today’s clash with Crystal Palace, Wenger said he feels Mkhitaryan, who turns 29 on Monday, saw how good Arsenal were during their Champions League clashes.

“We played many times against him (Mkhitaryan) when he was at Dortmund,” Wenger said. “He certainly appreciated the quality of our game and the way we play football. That’s why certainly he loves the club as well.”

Wenger insists Sanchez could yet feature against Palace, despite saying the move to Manchester United is “likely” to happen.

Sanchez was left out at Bournemouth as his future remains in doubt, but Wenger could bring him back against the Eagles, with Mesut Ozil also available again after a knee problem.

Oivier Giroud is still unavailable with hamstring injury.

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