Tomorrow’s game against the Spuds could well become an unforgettable one for Jack Wilshere. I have a feeling it will, but then I am a big fan of JW10 and, like many, have seen in him all along a great talent, who will one day lead our beloved Arsenal to glory.
I am not saying he is ready yet, and I agree to a certain extent with those who have been saying we should not expect too much of Jack yet. However, my gut-feeling is telling me tomorrow will be his day.
In previous posts on Bergkampesque, I have been stressing how much we need Jack Wilshere in our current – once more going through a major transition this season – team.
Tomorrow, we will rely heavily on his technical and tactical abilities, as well as his character and temperament.
Jack plays in the linchpin role that nits together our two major blocks of defence and attack. In our 4-3-3 system there is often a lot of space in midfield which needs to be exploited by Arsenal, but at the same time can be exploited by the opposition. I feel we play a lot less compact than in the Fabregas (more like 4-5-1) days, and a hell of a lot is required from our three, predominantly, central midfielders.
Arteta is often sucked in by the needs/gaps of our defence and Cazorla is often required to stay near the strikers in order to make something happen, and therefore the role of the most central of central midfielders cannot be underestimated.
Whoever plays slightly ahead of Arteta has a huge job to do in gaining and keeping possession; and safeguarding the shape to our team, as well as providing Cazorla and our other three attackers with fast and accurate service. It takes a multi-skilled, animal of a midfielder to play this role to perfection.
Diaby started off fantastically in the linchpin role this season, and his performance against Liverpool was simply phenomenal. Abou has all the skills to make this role his, but unfortunately he has not been blessed with the physical health – so needed for this pivotal role – ever since that black day, at and in Sunderland, when his ankle was so horrendously snapped to pieces.
Ramsey had a few games in the linchpin role: he offers a great engine and work-rate, and he can pick a pass quite well, but he is less strong on and with the ball; and we all could see clearly what we had missed when Jack returned to the fore.
JW10 is so good at holding on to the ball in tight spaces; in finding a way out, with our without the ball. He can turn a player and not lose the ball in often very dangerous positions. He also has a great overview and can pick a killer-pass in a flash. But he is also happy to play it simple, and this ability to decide what is best to do next, is one of his major qualities; and what turns a good player into a great one.
When he moves forward with the ball, you can see that the team starts moving forward as well; with both a good shape and full of determination. They know he will not lose the ball quickly and get the game going for us: he simply leads the team technically and tactically when we are changing from defence to attack.
But there is something else about Jack that we have sorely missed recently: his temperament – his desire to win and fight for his team. He is not a nasty player but he will leave his foot in a bit, or make a strong physical challenge, when required; just to show his opponents as well as his team mates what the game means to him.
In that dreadful, drugged-out game against the Mancs a fortnight ago, Jack was one of very few who knew that our pride and honour were at stake. He was not just focussing on doing his own role as good as possible; he demonstrated to us all that fight and bottle were also required. It was almost as if he got those two yellow cards on purpose; to show the rest of the team what is needed if we want to have a chance of winning at places like Old Toilet.
I expect him to battle with real character again for us tomorrow: he cannot help it – it’s his temperament. Of course there is the risk of it getting the better of him, leading to a sending off: he is only young in the end.
But I reckon he will find the perfect balance between aggression and composure tomorrow, and I expect Jack to announce himself once again at the top stage of football.