On July 31st 2011, Jack Wilshere limped off the pitch after just 7 minutes against the New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup. His injury was immediately written off as insignificant by Arsene Wenger. If only he knew.
Now, fourteen months and numerous set backs later, Jack Wilshere is ready to return to the Arsenal first team.
At the time of writing, Arsenal sit 9th in the Premier League, ten points behind league leaders Chelsea. Despite the immaturity of the campaign, it’s fair to say that Arsenal are in need of a boost. Especially after losing to Norwich.
In Jack’s absence, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin & Abou Diaby have all chipped in to make up for the loss of the Englishman. Each one of those three players provide an exclusive quality to the side, but none can match the brilliance of Jack Wilshere’s passion & guile in the middle of the park.
Our squad has certainly evolved and progressed thanks to three good transfers into the club, however we’re still missing a battler in the side who can drive the team forward when our traditional techniques begin to fail us. Jack’s the man to do that.
[title]The Jack, Mikel & Santi Dream[/title]
With the sale of Alex Song, Arsenal have had to adapt and change their midfield strategy. Mikel Arteta has been excellent in both defensive and holding positions, allowing Santi Cazorla to weave his magic further up the field. As mentioned earlier, the third arm of our midfield has been swapped and changed regularly since the beginning of the campaign, mainly due to injuries.
The dream however, is for the emergence of the elusive midfield trio that is Jack, Mikel & Santi. A perfect mix of youth, experience, energy, skill and passion. [quote_right]”The mere fact that Jack has never played with either of the two Spaniards [Arteta & Cazorla] is both a mind-boggling, and mouth-watering prospect.”[/quote_right]
Mikel Arteta is more than comfortable sitting in front of the back four, distributing pinpoint passes and intercepting with experience. This will allow Jack to be Jack, and Cazorla to be Cazorla.
Far too often this season, against Sunderland, Stoke, Chelsea & most recently Norwich, Arsenal have been pacified in the centre of the pitch. Teams have closed us down far too easily, and thus the creativity within our midfield simply hasn’t been up to scratch, and our attacking menace has suffered as a result.
The solution to our toothless midfield is, in my opinion, the re-introduction of Jack Wilshere. However, we shouldn’t expect miracles just yet.
[title]Cutting Jack Some Slack[/title]
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, Jack Wilshere has the potential to kick-start Arsenal’s title challenge, but we have to be realistic.
Having been on the sidelines for over fourteen long months, we have to be ready for the inevitable consequences. Jack Wilshere will not immediately produce the types of performances we were so used to before his injury. He’s going to need time, and lots of it.
Fortunately, Jack has the luxury of regaining his form alongside Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. The mere fact that Jack has never played with either of the two Spaniards is both a mind-boggling, and mouth-watering prospect.
The main focus at the moment should be to minimise the risk of a relapse, and maximise his potential to build on his U21 appearances. Arsenal need Jack Wilshere back at his best. A matter which I’m sure is being dealt with delicately by Arsene Wenger and the medical staff.
One thing is for sure, Jack Wilshere’s return is definitely a momentous occasion. Indeed, he’s an Arsenal legend in the making.
What do you think of Jack returning to the side? Share your views in the comments section below.