Despite Manchester United’s dominance for large periods at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, Arsenal responded well after going behind to Juan Mata’s 68th minute strike to snatch a last-gasp point, in no part thanks to their subs.
Francis Coquelin, who started alongside Mohamed Elneny as part of a holding midfield duo, publicly praised the impact that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud made after being introduced late in the second-half.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, the 25-year-old Frenchman said: “The players who came on were superb. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on at right-back and gave a great ball to Giroud, he scored a massive goal. It showed the whole team is really focused on what we are doing.”
Olivier Giroud, despite his recent goal-scoring form, hasn’t been starting as much as he would’ve liked. Understandable given the attacking options in the final third, but the former Montpellier man seems hungrier than ever, which is beneficial for the team as a whole.
“There’s this theory that every time he comes on he manages to score,” Coquelin added. “He did that again and his headers are unbelievable. It’s probably the only chance he had and he put it away. He showed how good he is.”
Arsenal’s mental strength has been a common theme, constantly criticised in recent seasons, as supporters and critics alike have said they struggle to show fight in tough matches where things aren’t always going their way.
Saturday was the perfect example why Arsenal have the ability to shake off that tag this term, and Coquelin said their potential is justified given the rich squad depth at Arsène Wenger’s disposal.
“Every time someone comes on, it puts quality in the team,” Coquelin continued.
“Alex came on at right-back which isn’t his favoured position but he did extremely well. We’ve also seen Olivier’s quality as well because he only needed one touch of the ball and it went in. It just shows how good the squad is and how tough we are mentally.”