Daily Archives: January 28, 2012
Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere was born on a New Year’s Day in 1992 and joined Arsenal’s Youth Academy at the young age of nine. His potential was very massive at such an age and he rose through the ranks before making his Arsenal debut at the age of 16 beating Cesc Fabregas’ record in the process.
He was introduced slowly into the first team and made some appearances in the Cup ties but his big break arrived when he secured a loan move to Bolton Wanderers in the winter of 2010. Under the tutelage of Owen Coyle, Wilshere made 14 league appearances and scored one goal.
Everyone tipped Wilshere to go to Bolton again for another season but Arsene Wenger slotted the youngster straight into the first team and Wilshere repaid the manager’s faith with a string of scintillating performances.
Wilshere’s performances on the pitch were good enough to send Abou Diaby and Denilson down the pecking order and the youngster was rightly rewarded with the PFA Young Player of the Year award for 2011. He also earned a place in the Team of the Year and was voted as Arsenal’s Player of the Season for 2011.
This season, Arsene Wenger had hoped that Wilshere would build on his performances in the last campaign but an ankle stress fracture suffered in the summer kept Wilshere out for a very large chunk of the season. He was tipped to make a comeback in February but he has suffered another injury setback.
Wilshere has grown to become one of Arsenal’s most influential players and his absence from the field of play has been a bitter pill to swallow all season long. Without further ado, here are 10 reasons why Arsenal misses Jack Wilshere:
GOOD PASSING RANGE
Jack Wilshere is arguably one of the best passers of the ball at Arsenal. His passes to teammates upfront pierce defenses like hot knife through butter. In his short Arsenal career thus far, his best pass still remains that diagonal ball he gave to Nicklas Bendtner in the 3-0 Carling Cup semifinal victory over Ipswich Town.
Since the exit of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri this summer, Arsenal has really lacked in the creativity department as the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky haven’t come to the party yet. Arsenal clearly misses Wilshere’s good passing range.
Jack Wilshere goes into every game like a general wielding a sword and a shield ready for battle. Last season still remains Wilshere’s best in Arsenal colors and there were so many games he stamped his authority showing off his amazing bravery.
When Arsenal visited the Britannia Stadium (the ground where Aaron Ramsey’s leg was snapped like a twig), Wilshere was one of Arsenal’s best players and he refused to be bullied by the goons from Stoke City. He epitomized it all by facing off with Jermaine Pennant and Dean Whitehead.
He earned a booking for his troubles though.
Wilshere is the kind of player that loves football for what it is: the beautiful game. Wilshere played close to 4,000 minutes of football for Arsenal last season but he reiterated his desire to represent England in the Under-21 European Championships despite the fact that he was becoming a Three Lions first team regular.
Wilshere also declared his interest in representing Team Great Britain n the forthcoming Olympic Games in London and this clearly shows that Wilshere’s passion for the game is second to none.
BALANCE IN MIDFIELD
Arsene Wenger adopted a new improved 4-2-3-1 formation to bring out the best in Cesc Fabregas and it was a move that paid dividends as the Spaniard smashed in 19 goals and 19 assists in the 2009/10 season.
However, Wenger handed Jack Wilshere a role in between Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song to maintain the balance in midfield. Wilshere excelled in this role and his performances as Arsenal’s box to box midfielder left fans drooling. Mikel Arteta currently occupies that role since joining the club from Everton and he has been phenomenal in that position.
Arsenal has clearly struggled in Arteta’s absence and with no Wilshere in that role; the struggle is bound to continue because Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun don’t have the defensive awareness to cope with the demands of the role.
Despite having such a small stature, Jack Wilshere possesses the stamina of an Ox (not Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain). He’s a general in midfield and he also regarded as a tireless worker because of his high work rate.
Wilshere covered a lot of distances every game he played and there were games he amassed up to 12km on the pitch. The only midfielder that managed that such long distances on the pitch was Mathieu Flamini the Flanimal in the 2007/08 season.
The only player present in Arsenal’s squad that can match Wilshere’s work rate is Alex Song and there’s a limit to what a player can do. Wilshere’s work rate has been badly missed this season.
Arsenal was regarded as the most technical team in the Premier League last season because of the large outlay of football “technicians” present in the squad. They were led by technical chief Cesc Fabregas and he was followed closely by Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Abou Diaby, Andrey Arshavin, Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna.
In the League of Extraordinary Arsenal Technicians, Jack Wilshere was well placed among those at the top and his close control, swift movement, cutting in and the way he curled the ball sweetly proved his worth in gold.
Many of the players in the aforementioned list are haven’t been on the pitch this season because some have been sold off, loaned out or out injured. Sadly, Jack Wilshere is presently in the last class.
HIGH CONCENTRATION LEVELS
Wilshere’s role as a box to box midfielder allowed him to work on his defensive side as well as buildup his attacking prowess. Wilshere made a lot of tackles and he was also an effective marker of the ball high up in midfield.
However, Wilshere’s concentration levels on the pitch were very high and the midfielder hardly put up a wrong foot all game long. This season, lapses in concentration as high up in midfield have cost Arsenal dearly with the latest disastrous lapse shown the Swansea City vs. Arsenal game.
What seemed like a simple routine pass from Andrey Arshavin to Aaron Ramsey turned into a nightmare as Swansea capitalized on that error to score a goal. First teamers Alex Song, Mikel Arteta and Ramsey have had their fair share of sloppy passes this season and this was hardly seen when Wilshere was on the pitch.
COMPOSURE ON THE BALL
If Jack Wilshere was termed as a mystery, the greatest enigma would be how composed he is with the ball. Wilshere was 19 in the 2010/11 season but he played like a footballer that has been in the game for all eternity, a sentiment that was shared by England’s boss Fabio Capello.
He scored only two goals last season but my pick of the bunch remains his chipped effort in the 6-0 thrashing of Eduardo’s Shakhtar Donetsk. This season, lack of composure in midfield and in front of goal has cost Arsenal in vital moments this season.
Theo Walcott’s miss against Queens Park Rangers still stands out though.
FLAMBOYANT STYLE OF PLAY
Wilshere’s versatility in midfield makes him an unpredictable player to come up against. While primarily playing in the center of the pack, Wilshere moves into channels and is a big fan of the art called “one-two”.
His flamboyancy was a major plus for Arsenal last season and it has been clearly missed this season.
ARSENAL’S BEST MIDFIELDER
If you take a good and honest look at Arsenal Football Club, you can count a handful of players that can challenge for a first team place in the biggest teams in world football. FC Barcelona can be rated as the best team in the world so I intend to use the club as a basis for my comparison.
In goal Wojciech Szczesny isn’t really match for Victor Valdes but he’ll get there in a few years time. In the defense, Bacary Sagna can match Dani Alves pound for pound and Thomas Vermaelen is better than Gerald Pique defensively while it’s the other way round in offense.
Barcelona is blessed with the midfielders of the 21st century but there can still be a place for a player of Jack Wilshere’s quality. I’ll take Robin van Persie above any forward Barcelona has to offer with the exception of that Messi-less wizard from Planet Krypton.
Jack Wilshere is Arsenal’s best midfielder and he’s followed closely by the impressive Alex Song.
Arsenal has clearly struggled with the absence of Jack Wilshere because his “replacements” haven’t even come close to matching what he did last season and the results on the pitch are glaring for everyone to see.
Age is slowly creeping in on Tomas Rosicky and his countless niggling injuries have made him lose that spark even though he still has some bags of quality in him. Yossi Benayoun has been on the fringes this season and he has put up decent performances in his short stint but not anywhere close to Wilshere’s level of performance.
My key focus would be on Aaron Ramsey. Like Wilshere, he has been touted as the future of Arsenal’s midfield but the Welsh captain has been very inconsistent to say the least. He has had his good days for sure but in his off days, he can be very frustrating to watch.
With Wilshere still out and Arsene Wenger’s refusal to buy a worthy replacement for Fabregas and Nasri, a huge burden of responsibility has been placed on Ramsey’s young shoulders and he has shown that it’s too much for him to bear.
I wish Jack Wilshere a speedy recovery and I pray that he doesn’t suffer any more setbacks after this recent one.
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