Hi all, I hope all is well..
I have a debate for you…
…Is Jack Wilshere already, for one reason or another, guaranteed a starting position in this CURRENT Arsenal XI…
I’m not so sure…
First of all – Jack is a magnificent player and in my opinion IS the future of our football club. He has all the qualities needed to be a magnificent talisman for Arsenal Football Club…
Before his short-term injury a few weeks ago – Which was also the start of our winning run (coincidence? I think not..) I posed a question to Michael Cox. For those of you who don’t know Michael, he is a very talented writer who concentrates on tactics and he runs his own website – Zonal Marking (www.ZonalMarking.net). He also writes for a majority of the of the largest sporting media outlets in this country. If you use twitter and don’t follow him, you must….- @Zonal_Marking
I asked Michael “Is the current Arsenal midfield better without Jack Wilshere in it?”
Michael – “I don’t think so, although they need to find a balance with him in it.”
“In your opinion what is his best position ?”
Michael – “I think for now deeper in the 4-2-3-1. But he can play at the top if needed, in ‘bigger’ games. I don’t think he’s a problem”
He confirmed what I already believed. I just needed to here it from someone else…to confirm my sanity and all that…
My issue with him currently is – He doesn’t really have a set position, role yet. I haven’t decided if it is an issue at all actually – does a player need a label? As we all know, Jack’s style is up and at ‘um. But with a sprinkle of je nai se qua…
Jane Cavendish then posed an equally interesting debate on Twitter – Wilshere and Cazorla cannot play in the same team. Discuss.
Jane is a very talented and intelligent writer I follow on twitter. Please amend if you don’t – @jcav90
Interesting and telling. But very hard to disagree with it. (I’m writing this after the Norwich game) Very harsh because Wilshere has been injured and didn’t look fit enough to start the game. But, What is for sure – Rosicky and Cazorla have a great connection. Very telepathic. Needless to say, both technically very good players, they have no problems interchanging positions at all. This in turn frees up space for each other to let the havoc begin. Something Wilshere doesn’t currently posses in his game. Wilshere will drift out to the left (being predominantly left footed he will, it’s natural) but its very robotic, not as natural and fluid as Santi and Tomas. With Podolski wide left, we play a lot of our football infront of the opposition defence rather than behind it. This Leads to Jack and Santi wanting to take up the same positions, meaning both players eating up each others space.
Currently if you had to pick our Number 10, you would have to say Santi. Jack needs to work on and improve all the things Santi is currently excelling in – Scoring goals and his final ball.
I would be intrigued to see the difference with a natural wide player in the team. Dragging defenders and freeing up space. Both players would benefit from it in my opinion. But I will save that debate for another day…
My interpretation of our formation, 4-2-3-1 and what is key to the whole formation, is that the two players who cover the defence (The ’2′) have very astute positional sense in order to do the job sufficiently. One generally breaks up play and helps regain possession, with the other concentrating on distribution. Think Liverpool under Rafa Benitez – Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. (Who I might add was ridiculed for using this formation). They had an excellent partnership. Mascherano did much of the tackling, breaking up play and winning the ball back. While Xabi Alonso was more offensive. A perfect combination. Both players are now rivalling each other in La Liga for the two Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, so it shows you how good they really were.
Having the two players in front of the back four provides a platform on which the team’s attack begins and the more advanced players can focus on creating chances.
The main strength of the formation is to allow a ‘Trequartista’ the freedom to have free-rain in the opponent’s half (Santi Cazorla or Tomas Rosicky for example). A Trequartista is not an out and out striker; they bring an element of fantasy and invention to a team. It has become fashionable to have more than one – Look at Chelsea, Mata, Hazard and Oscar)…
The main strength of the formation – It allows Arsenal to play the illusive ‘Wenger Ball’. Keeping possession, fill the the centre of the midfield with red shirts, allowing the attacking players to express themselves, toying with the opposition, until the moment arrives to strike.
Now, on to this so called ‘holding midfielder’ or ‘Defensive midfielder’ if you prefer. I might quickly add, Arsene has said on numerous occasions that he doesn’t believe in a defensive midfielder per say, which says a lot and also leads us the Le Professor’s current answer – Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard plays an almost combined role. A role that doesn’t come naturally to him, but he has done very well in my opinion.
We are about to go in full circle in any Arsenal debate you have ever had – Do Arsenal have the correct personnel for the current formation?
In short, I don’t believe we do…
The players you have available, will and should always have a bearing on the tactics/philosophy of the starting XI for the match ahead.
What is for sure, we don’t have a player with the quality of Sergio Busquets. A well disciplined, master of the game, that allows others ‘to go and play’. For whatever reason, Arsene chose not to bring in the correct player needed in the summer to do a job that has stayed vacated since Gilberto Silva left. So we have to find a balance between the players that we currently have available.
Currently the best suitor seems to be Aaron Ramsey. The young Welshman has been the essential link between defence and midfield. Earlier on in the season against Aston Villa, at Villa Park, we where simply atrocious. One of the worst games of football I’ve seen us play – Per Mertesacker would recieve the ball, he would then lay the ball off to Mikel Arteta, who in turn struggled to move the ball on. Simply put, the ball just kept coming back. This continued for 90 minutes of torture. Horrific scenes.
This issue seems to have been solved in recent weeks, a balance has been found. The combination of the discipline and work rate of Aaron Ramsey and the intelligent, well timed driving runs from Tomas Rosicky has given the team a new impetus. Wilshere can play the deeper role and do it very well. But he has previous – leaving Arteta exposed on countless occasions. Something Ramsey doesn’t do as regularly. A major issue and Wilshere’s downfall. As the three attacking midfielders have second natured defending ability (and that’s being polite) It is key to have disciplined ‘holding midfielders’, something Jack currently doesn’t posses.
So on on current form, Aaron would get the nod over Jack to partner Mikel in my opinion.
Does that mean Ramsey is a better player than Wilshere? A better understanding of the game possibly. As we have seen in recent weeks, Ramsey will play anywhere on the park and he looks comfortable, a cultured player. Could Wilshere do the the same? I’m not so sure, but what Wilshere has the that Ramsey doesn’t: Dynamism. That’s something you can’t teach.
A quick thought on Jack and his England career, and deciding on what sort of player he wants to be (If he has too!?), including comparisons with Steven Gerrard. They are both club sweethearts who came through the youth ranks. Gerrard burst onto the scene, marauding around the pitch like a modern day superhero. Since I can remember Gerrard has carried Liverpool. With his, heart, passion and more importantly his massive contribution of Goals and assists. you got the same sort of feeling once Fabregas left the club. To mention another Premier League legend and England player, Frank Lampard. The man is a goal machine. The man made arriving late to the party fashionable. I mentioned all these great players in the same breathe as Wilshere because I believe he can emulate them. he just needs to home his talents. The future’s bright for the future Arsenal and England Captain.
An interesting summer awaits Arsenal Football Club and Jack Wilshere. Will Arsene decide what he believes Jacks best position will be? Will he want him to be our Number 10? Will he sign a Capoue or a Gonalons to help him progress? Or will he finally splash the cash on the some serious attacking talent, signalling a deeper role for Wilshere long term, signing a Mario Gotze or Stevan Jovetic? Questions, questions, questions, but we all can agree, very exciting ones.
Cheers for reading,