Jack Wilshere: Thoughts on his Form this Season
At a tender age, Jack Wilshere’s potential was very massive 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 breathtaking performances in the 2010/11 season. 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.
Arsene Wenger had hoped that Wilshere would build on his breakthrough performances in the 2010/11 campaign but an ankle stress fracture kept him out for a lengthy period. From then on, Wilshere continued to have niggling injuries and the trend continued as the seasons progressed.
However, the Englishman managed to have a good preseason this campaign and with Mesut Ozil getting an extended break following his World Cup exertions, as well as a tactical switch to 4-1-4-1, Wilshere has had a consistent run of games, and he feels that he’s getting to his best,
“I feel good and I’m always looking to improve, no matter what. For a player of my age, I’ve missed a lot of football so I’m just trying to play as much as I can, train as much as I can and I’ve always said that when I get fully fit you’ll see the best of me.
“I said at the start of the season that it was going to take some time to get back to my best. Ever since my first injury, it’s always taken a run of games – probably between five and 10 – to get back to my best.
“Some players are different, some players come back and are at their best straight away. But some need a run of games and I’m one of those players.”
This season, Wilshere has been a vital cog in Arsenal’s new look 4-1-4-1 formation, and under the new tactical approach, Arsene Wenger has finally found a way to accommodate him and Aaron Ramsey in the middle of the park but unfortunately, it has been to the detriment of Mesut Ozil, as he has been playing on the wings for the considerable chunk of the season.
Listed below are Wilshere’s stats this season via WhoScored,
|STATS (EPL Only)||
|Overall shots (Shots per Game)||
|Bookings (Yellow / Red)||
3 / 0
|Total Tackles (Tackles per Game)||
|Total Interceptions (Interceptions per Game)||
|Total Fouls Suffered (Fouls per Game)||
17 / 2.8
|Total Passes (Accurate Passes)||
|Pass Completion %||
|Total Long Balls (Accurate)||
|Total Through Balls (Accurate)||
As these stats show, Jack Wilshere has continued to make those his lung-bursting runs and he has attempted 17 dribbles with 10 of them coming in the Arsenal vs Manchester City game, where he was a colossus in midfield. However, Wilshere has been fouled 15 times already and with the way he hugs onto the ball, the foul count is going to pile up. When the Gunners played Tottenham in the North London Derby, Wilshere twisted his ankle in an awkward manner but he managed to play for over an hour before he was substituted as he clearly struggled. The same could not be said about Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey, that had to be replaced immediately.
Wojciech Szczesny is someone that clearly has some faith in Wilshere’s abilities and he has stated that he can be a complete midfielder if he adds goals to his game, and to some extent, I agree. Goals are the very fabric of the beautiful game and if you have a player that is reliable enough to score on a consistent basis, he’d be a guaranteed starter in the team. See Aaron Ramsey for instance – his form has been very erratic this season but he already has three goals to his name, which ultimately means that when he returns to full fitness, it’s a no-brainer that he’d return to the first team. Don’t get me wrong, Ramsey isn’t just in the first team because of the goalscoring threat he poses but he’s an all-rounder that contributes offensively and defensively.
In 142 appearances for the Gunners, Wilshere has scored 11 goals with five of them scored last season. With the Englishman clearly favored by the manager, he needs to keep performing well because Arsenal is a club that is well stocked with midfield options. Wilshere has a commanding presence in midfield that makes runs from midfield, penetrating defenses and creating space for himself or teammates.
For his sake, I hope the goals come along too.
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