Showing posts with label Jack Wilshere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Wilshere. Show all posts

02 March 2023

Secret Agent Jack Wilshere lures Declan Rice to join Arsenal...

This is the transfer rumour that just won't go away, isn't it? We're going to move Declan Rice to the Emirates by sheer dint of will—or, if rumour has it, Wilshere. As the story goes, our own Jack Wilshere, current manager of the u18s and former teammate of the former Irishman, could be our ace in the hole when it comes to securing Rice's services. The two buddied up during Wilshere's two-year spell at West Ham, and Rice has gushed over their relationship while also dropping hints about his future and his desire to play Champions League football. His contract is up in June 2024, but the persistent rumours suggest he'll be moving in a matter of months. 

21 February 2023 Saka next?

It's common knowledge that every fan thinks it's their own club the refs are biased against. Very few fans believe in conspiracy theories...unless their club is the target of the conspiracy. However, when it comes to Bukayo Saka, we have more than cognitive dissonance, more than confirmation bias, more than corrupt incompetence (or was it incompetent corruption?). We have ample evidence of the objective variety that there's something wrong with how he's being treated by opposing players and by referees. It's getting to the worrisome point that he may have to suffer some kind of injury before those referees take off the blinders and start holding those players accountable. 

03 January 2018

Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea—vote for Player-Ratings and MOTM!

An entertaining first half saw both Arsenal and Chelsea come agonizingly close on several occasions only to come away empty-handed. In the second half, the story was much the same, and Wilshere lashed it home to make it 1-0. However, minutes later, Hazard offered up his best rendition of a man tripping over an invisible wire, and Anthony Taylor took the bait, awarding a penalty that Hazard himself finished, posing fresh question about Čech's record of failing to save penalties. Sloppy defending was to blame on the second goal, allowing Alonso to put Chelsea in the 85th minute. Then, just when all hope seemed lost, Bellerin emphatically belted it home on the half-volley in the 92nd minute to equalise. It's a fortunate result but one well-fought for. Let's get down to the poll!

14 December 2017

Wilshere, our Man of the Match, played a full 90'. End of.

It's truly hard to get excited about West Ham. Unlike the truly detestables—Chelsea, Stoke, Tottenham—and the plucky admirables—Burnley, Brighton, Southampton—West Ham elicits little more than a mild distaste such as one might experience from room-temperature coffee, stale beer, or toilet paper hung in improper underhand fashion. To therefore suffer a draw is irritating, disappointing, or even chafing, respectively. We should have found the three points. In the short run, we failed to do so, but it was not for a lack of effort on at least one player's part. In the long run, the fact that Jack Wilshere played a full 90' for the first time in 577 days should warm your weary heart.

13 December 2017

Wilshere looks ready to lay waste to West Ham. Will he? We'll see...

Ah, West Ham. So inept. So backward. Why, they're the dumping ground for the once-were's and might've-been's: Joe Hart. Pablo Zabaleta. Chicharito. Andy Carroll. The list goes on. David Moyes. Ah. That last one's different. After obliging his erstwhile Everton employers with a 4-0 loss at Goodison Park, Mr. Moyes does seem to have set West Ham on a course altogther different from the one on which the Irons had previously been so thoroughly hammered. After a depressing start to the season had seen Slaven Bilić sacked, Moyes has steered West Ham to an impressive resurrection, punctuated all too recently by a 1-0 win over Chelsea on the weekend.

07 December 2017

Arsenal 6-0 BATE Borisov—Vote for Player-Ratings and MOTM!

Arsenal blitzed BATE Borisov, scoring five goals on their own and adding an own-goal along the way. This doesn't really change anything because we had already won Group H, but it's a confidence boost after the disappointment at the weekend against Man U. Goal-scorers included Debuchy, Giroud, Wilshere, Walcott, and Elneny. Not much else to say, to be honest, by way of analysis or take-aways. We'll wait for the draw for the knockout stage, in which we could conceivably find ourselves reunited with our old friends at Borussia Dortmund. Time for that later. For now, let's get down to the poll!

30 September 2017

Will Wilshere wither, or will he weather the storm?

Safe to say there was underwhelming expectation for Jack Wilshere as we entered the 2017/2018 season.  Our fan base has clamored to the idea of signing an additional central midfielder for obvious reasons.  For Wilshere, there was more expectation from our fans for him to be sold or loaned than to play any part this season given his injury record as well as the loan circumstances when he went off to Bournemouth. However, as the summer progressed, and our transfer activities stalled, I became open to the notion that Arsène might just be planning to utilize him for central midfield depth.  Of course, this roll of the dice all rides on Wilshere’s maintains fitness and our ability to properly manage him.  Sure enough, here we are at the tail end of October and we are seeing positive signs thus far. Slowly but surely,  Arsène has brought Wilshere back into the fray.

Starting with matches for the U-23’s (okay, no need to mention his role in the brawl vs Manchester City U23’s), working his way up to a cameo in the Europa League opener against Cologne, and finally starts vs Doncaster in the Carabao Cup and BATE in the Europa League, it's time to evaluate Wilshere's role in the squad.

In Woolwich 1886's own post-match voting, Wilshere earned himself man of the match performances in both matches against Doncaster and BATE, with 7.9 player rating vs Doncaster and an 8.44 rating against BATE. For me, he was easily the best player on the pitch in both matches.  He did seem to fade away a bit and become less influential as both matches wore on past the hour mark.  Part of that might have been due to him not quite being where he needs to as far as match fitness, bu another part comes down to our side collectively fading. Let's look at a few variables to consider for both matches...

Difference in Roles
Against Doncaster, Wilshere was partnered with Elneny as a deep central midfielder in a 3-4-3 shape. Within this shape, he operated from deep, a lot of times picking the ball up from our centre backs, demonstrating his passing range, swinging balls out to our wing backs who were constantly getting into advanced positions as well as making some good advanced runs in their final third.  From my perspective, he was running the game from midfield and was one of our most influential figure on the pitch.  I thought the dinked chip to Giroud was brilliant when he volleyed the scissor-kick and smashed the crossbar.  He also had some neat short combination passing links with Alexis.
We’ve missed some of that when operating in the final third. We saw him operate in a more advanced role against BATE. However, this shape was more of a 3-5-2, with Walcott pushed further forward as a second striker with Giroud as opposed to shared responsibilities playing just behind the main striker. Wilshere operated as the highest central midfielder, forming a CM trio when necessary and acting in a number 10 role between the opposition's midfield and defensive lines as our creative hub.  Since Walcott was pushed further forward as a second striker, this gave Wilshere more room to operate freely as a 10.
Jack's first-half passing agaisnt BATE, courtesy of Squawka.

In the first half, Wilshere completed 23 of 24 passes and created two chances, (credit Squawka) one being a very nice chipped assist to Walcott.  I also enjoyed his pass to Maintland-Niles which completely cut the BATE defense open.  Thinking ahead to what position he would be preferred in, I would lean towards his role against BATE. Playing this position with two strikers ahead of him is probably not as realistic in a Premier League setting; however, it is very much attainable in the Europa League.  As far as the Premier League is concerned, I think one of the advanced roles behind the striker will call for a little less physical demand than playing as a deep central midfielder. 

Quality of Opposition
Before we all jump back on the Wilshere hype train, we need to consider the quality of opposition. Let’s face it, Doncaster and BATE are not Premier League level sides.  The difference is Wilshere will not be afforded the time the same time and space. The Premier League opposition will not be quite as forgiving either.  It is just a different level of intensity and physicality.  Wilshere showcased that he still has some very good technical qualities, but I think anyone calling for him to start Premier League matches at this point in time should pump the breaks.  The last thing we need is to mismanage him and cause another horrific injury setback.  He’s incurred enough of those. 

If anything, I think the unexpected revival of Wilshere gives us fans something to finally be positive about given all the turmoil so far at the start of this new season.  He may not currently be the central midfielder we need, however having a player of his technical quality in that position is a commodity we definitely need to utilize efficiently when possible.  For now, Arsene needs to continue with his gradual integration and progression working up to playing Premier League matches.  If he continues his progression and remains fit, he will get his chance sooner than later.

Emory Stern has been an avid Arsenal supporter since the days of the Dutch-duo of Overmars and Bergkamp. He loves beautiful, fluent,attacking football and appreciates a good run to the near post—a Gooner through and through.  You can find him under his Twitter handle @emorystern. 

28 September 2017

BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings/MOTM!

Theo Walcott bagged a brace but could have, should have had more; Rob Holding opened his Arsenal account, and Olivier Giroud scored his 100th Arsenal goal as the Gunners mostly waltzed past their hosts in Belarus. The match started to get ragged late on, and BATE had numerous chances but were wasteful or were denied by fine saves from David Ospina. In any case, it was enough to see us win for the fifth in six matches, and we're comfortably atop Group H. Not much else to say other than to invite you down to the poll to rate the lads!

22 September 2017

Kieran gives the kiss of death to Arsenal's "British Core"...

There was a time, not so long ago, when Kieran Gibbs might have been the left-back of choice for England and for Arsenal. It wasn't so far-fetched to think that he would eventually overtake Leighton Baines as the heir-apparent to none other than Ashley Cole for country if not club as well. Then, along came Nacho Monreal. Way back in January 2013, as the transfer-window was about to slam shut, Gibbs suffered an injury, and Monreal's signing—potentially set to happen in the summer window to follow—was pushed through. The significance of this sequence of events is brought into high contrast as West Brom, the club that finally agreed to take Gibbs off of Arsenal's hands, pays a visit to the Emirates on Monday.

25 November 2016

Cherry-poppin' Gunners gotta get back to winning ways...

e knew that November would be tough, and it has been--enough to see us slip from the top of the Prem table and to let slip through our fingers the same position in our Champions League group. Three consecutive draws have blunted the momentum that we created in September and October; after tense matches against Tottenham, Man U, and PSG, we might like to lick our lips as we size up the Cherries. Howevever, if we're to regain any of the form we did enjoy earlier on, we can't afford to drop our guard just because we're facing a club with a somewhat less-polished pedigree.

30 April 2016

Jack-Jack on the Attack: Can Wilshere save the day?

This is it. This is the one we've had circled since the fixtures werepk first released, the one on which we have pinned all of our hopes and dreams. It would be a clash between two—oh, sorry. Those are my notes on next week's match, the one at the Etihad. This one may lack the marquee billing, but it more than makes up for that in significance. While there was once a time when we could look past Norwich's visit, but we have to seize all three or see an already lack-lustre season slip away all the more.

23 October 2015

Arsène undoes Forsythe's Anti-Injury Opus...

Arsène has taken the blame for exposing Aaron Ramsey to the hamstring injury that will keep him out of Saturday's clash with Everton. Despite his apparent ineffectivenes while playing on the right, Ramsey has been an instrumental cog in Arsenal's success to date, and his absence might matter more that it would seem to those who doubt him. Ramsey's hamstring injury will knock him out until December (we all know how estimates go around the Emirates).  In fact, this might stand as the first "preventable" injury we've seen in the current campaign, thanks in large part to the efforts of Shad Forsythe. First, let's get to Arsène's confession of culpability...

15 July 2015

Arsenal 4-0 Singapore Highlights

An Arsenal side that featured a handful of youth (Akpom, Iwobi, Martinez to start, and Zelalem, Toral, Willock, and Crowley subbing on) manhandled the Singapore XI in a 4-0 win, advancing to the final on Saturday against Everton. Akpom claimed a hat-trick and Wilshere chipped in, each man scoring once from the spot. It might be a bit early to anoint Akpom as the saviour. For now, rather than trying to draw any meaningful insights, sit back, relax, and enjoy the highlights...

Who needed Schneiderlin when we have Ramsey and Wilshere and Ox and Cazorla and Rosický...

While it's been a bit alarming to see Man U aggressively signing players, even more so one or two whom we've pursued, a bit of perspective is perhaps helpful. Morgan Schneiderlin, for all of his virtues, is not the defensive midfielder we're looking for—not as competition, support, or upgrade on Coquelin, anyway. He might have made for a nice addition to the squad, but he's more of a traditional CM than DM. As such, he'd find himself fighting against Ramsey and Wilshere for time on the pitch at a position at which we're already ridiculously deep. Throw in Cazorla, Rosický and the Ox, and is it any wonder Schneiderlin figured that his best chance at playing lay with Man U, whose midfield was held together by duck tape and baling wire for most of the past season?

03 June 2015

Wilshere faces a three-match ban for being a bit confused...

After winning the FA Cup for a second consecutive time and record-setting twelfth time overall, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was momentarily confused and in need of clarification. Apparently, he was unsure of the current status of a certain North London rival, seeing as how they had once again, for the 20th consecutive season. Against that history, it would be easy to see how one might lost track of key details, which tend to disappear in the annals of history. Having won three pieces of silverware in just over 12 months, Wilshere sought insight into the matter from the crowd assembled to celebrate the most recent piece won. For his uncertainty, the FA has levelled charges against him that could result in a three-match ban, starting with the Community Shield against Chelsea.

25 May 2015

Walcott and Wilshere lay waste to the want-away rumours...

It was a throw-away line, a bit of vanity, that I tossed in as an afterthought. In hindsight, though, I should have seen it coming. My predictions, after all, had been off-base in recent weeks. I kept calling for wins and we staggered to draws, even a loss. I started to doubt my ability to see into, nay, control the future. 3-1 over Swansea? 1-2 over Man U? What was I thinking? And then...and a moment of inspiration, as I sought to regain control of the future, I reached very far back into the past—24 May 2009, to be more precise—to point out that the last Prem we played on this auspicious day was against none other than Tony Pulis's Stoke, a match we won by the even-more auspicious scoreline of 4-1. There's no other conclusion to be drawn: I control this club's future!

18 May 2015

Send out Wilshere and Walcott against Sunderland, please...

We've backed ourselves into a bit of a corner, but that's still a far cry better than we've done in previous seasons when we've needed some last-second heroics or results to break our way elsewhere before claiming a Champions League spot. Despite our recent setbacks, we still have a gilt-edged glimpse at finishing second and should certainly feel like third is ours to lose. Standing in our way is a squad struggling to stave off relegation and a cauldron of complicated results. If we can make the most of our Wednesday clash with the Black Cats, we'll have third in the hand with second lurking in the bush. That might sound borderline inappropriate, but bear with me.

08 April 2015

Whether Wilshere whithers: Ramsey, Coquelin, and midfield-congestion...

Jack Wilshere's fit again. He's ready to take his position on the pitch. However, where is there room? For as heretical as it may be to suggest, it's hard to see just where he can find a way into the starting XI. The emergence of Francis Coquelin as a proper defensive midfielder, should it prove out over the long term, narrows Jack's options even more than before. Early in the season, it looked like his performances for the Three Lions hinted at a deeper-lying role with Arsenal; after all, Aaron Ramsey seemed to have secured the box-to-box role role in the 4-2-3-1 we so often play. If only be default, Wilshere's future might have lay in replacing Arteta in the holding role. Then, along come Coquelin. If he is serious about his desire to emulate Vieira (or, more fitting, Gilberto). Where, then, does Wilshere's future lie?

20 November 2014

Jack Wilshere, heir to Vieira...

Ever since the glory days, we've pined (somewhat excessively, in this correspondent's opinion) for a brash, brawling, brawny defensive midfielder, someone who could and would win a fight in a back-alley or in the prematch tunnel...someone in the mold of Patrick Vieira, that swash-buckling, swaggering buccaneeer who terrorized the Prem in nearly a decade as Arsenal's domineering defensive midfielder who, at 1.9m, lorded it over all opponents. Ever since he left the club in 2005, we've yearned for the arrival of a similarly-dominant destroyer who could lay waste to the opposition, both demolishing their attacks and also launching counters of our own. We've had to make do with Arteta and Flamini in the last few years, neither of whom intimidate or inspire. Looking beyond them, only Abou "I'm unbreakable kind of like Little John is little" Diaby seems to fit the bill. Given his recent performances for the Three Lions, then, could the diminutive but feisty Jack Wilshere be the DM we've been waiting for?

18 October 2014

Has Arsène scuttled Wilshere's deep-lying development?

After two weeks pondering Jack Wilshere make mincemeat of San Marino and Estonia, it was starting to look, sound, and feel like we might start to see more of Wilshere in a similar role with Arsenal. With the continued absence of Ramsey, the nagging injuries (and inexorable ageing of Arteta), and the relative softness of the next half-dozen fixtures, I was starting to think that Arsène might play Wilshere in a deeper-lying role, maybe even—theatrical gasp—returning to a 4-2-3-1 with Cazorla as the central midfielder. However, speaking at the official Arsenal site, Arsène seems to have scuppered the notion before it can even take hold, at least with the club. However, there's reason to hope that this opens the door for other options to unfold...