Ever since Wenger intimated that Wilshere would be set to play in an U21 against West Brom, there has been a whisper that one of our brightest young players may actually be able to play a part in our season. We shouldn’t get our hopes up too much because players rarely return from a long injury lay-off at the same level as they were before – see Rosicky, Ramsey, Eduardo. There’s also the likelihood that he will have a few “setbacks” as is natural with a player getting used to Premier League football after 14 months out. And I’m sure Wenger will be particularly careful and gradual with regards to Jack’s return, because he is a valuable asset to the club – he’s a young English box-to-box midfielder who is considered the future of the national team, and he’s a true Gooner.
Wenger has said the following about Wilshere (from The Metro):
“He will be a better player because if you have this kind of injury at the age of 20 you will take off again and move forward normally.
“If you have the injury after the age of 25 it is different. At his age it is no problem. It’s difficult to predict [how long he needs to find his best form]. You want people to be patient. After three months of competition for sure he would be back. It takes a while to find the little burst again.
“He has had ups and downs and many downs because he had a few setbacks. He dealt with it very well, especially in the last three months.
“He was highly focused every day, he was in every day very early and worked all day through. He is rewarded now with a good condition. When you are so young and out for 14 months that is a good test for your mental strength. On that front he has been absolutely brilliant.”
It’s typical Wenger to mention Jack’s impressive “mental strength,” but I can’t imagine it’s a breeze for any player to sit out for such a long period of time. This is especially the case for a first team player who is used to playing week in, week out. He’s seen Arsenal’s poor start to the season last campaign and must have been itching to get involved and make a difference. Furthermore, we failed to really pin down our midfield last season, which would have frustrated a player who knows he could fulfil that role brilliantly. In fact, we have continued to have that problem this season. Arteta and Cazorla have made their positions their own, but the third midfield position is yet to be completely sorted. Diaby has had some great games and some average ones. Coquelin is probably not quite at the level required to start every match for us, and although Ramsey has played well, he hasn’t been outstanding. Wilshere is the perfect player for the third midfield position – it requires defensive discipline but it gives the player a license to attack.
He completed 62 minutes today in the U21 match against West Brom, and by all accounts he was lively but not quite at his best. Arsenal lost the game, but the big news (especially on the Arsenal website) is the return of our talented midfielder.
It was inevitable that Giroud would be lambasted by the media following his late miss against Chelsea. And it goes without saying that I, like all other Gooners, was disappointed after Giroud did the hard work – he had made a superb run and rounded the keeper.
It was his third big miss this season – with the other two coming against Sunderland and Liverpool. Like the other two, he showed great awareness and movement, but his shooting was poor.
But despite all this, I am sure he will succeed at Arsenal. He may not be the next Thierry Henry but he will score goals. I’m not being over-optimistic and I’m not saying I can see something in him that no one else can. But from his performances so far, I’ve been impressed. His ability to win aerial battles is second to none in our squad, and his hold-up play is fantastic. As I mentioned before, he’s got his runs spot on in every match so far and his first touch has also looked reliable. As far as I’m concerned, he’s an excellent focal point for our attack.
Part of the reason I reckon he hasn’t scored as many goals as we would’ve liked is that Wenger is refusing to start him. Why splash £13m on a player and not use him? Especially given that we have no other players that have secured that role in the side. Granted, Gervinho has been decent, but he does seem better on the wing with the option to cut inside. I understand if Wenger wants Giroud to get used to the level of the Premier League, but he’s barely given him a chance. He has made as many substitute appearances (in all competitions) as he has starts.
Let’s hope Wenger gives him a chance in the next few games, which are against decidedly weaker opposition.