PER MERTESACKER reckons Arsenal's injury crisis has unearthed a jewel in Francis Coquelin.

The Gunners have won eight, drawn one and lost one since the 23-year-old was brought into Arsene Wenger's team after returning from a loan spell at Charlton.

With stars like skipper Mikel Arteta and England's Jack Wilshere injured long-term, holding midfielder Coquelin has seized his chance.

"You would not have expected to see Francis in our line-up, but he is doing really well," said Mertesacker.

"The younger talent, who were unlikely to play a part this season, have played an absolutely fantastic role and will get the experience now.

"That is really important, when there is an injury crisis, they can step up and can have a real impact and people can see he has been able to do that."

Coquelin looks guaranteed to keep his place for the north London derby at Tottenham on Saturday.

Arsenal won 1-0 at White Hart Lane last season and did the treble over their rivals, knocking them out of the FA Cup at The Emirates.

"Last season we did quite well at White Hart Lane, so will try to repeat that," added vice-captain Mertesacker.

"Now they have a new manager (Mauricio Pochettino), there has been change in the squad.

"It will be a good game, with an early-kick off, so we need to be fresh."

Mertesacker also welcomed new £13.5m signing from Villarreal, Brazilian Gabriel.

"It is very promising because we were short at the back, especially in the centre position," said Mertesacker. "We suffered a lot and had to change so many positions."



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