Tag Archives: Jack Wilshere

Arsenal’s March of the Never Rated

2-2 at full time; 6-3 on aggregate. On paper it looks as if Arsenal have cruised through to the Europa League semi-finals. The reality is somewhat different.

Arsenal survived a scare in Moscow. Trailing 2-0 and under pressure in the second half, a 3rd CSKA goal would see them lead the tie on away goals.

The up stepped Danny Welbeck in the 75th minute to give Arsenal the breathing space with the sides first shot on target.

That single goal by Welbeck turned the tie. Instead of it being 1 more goal for Moscow to go through, they now needed 2 goals just to take it to extra time. It knocked the stuffing out of them.

Welbeck is often derided by Arsenal fans. Deemed not good enough. A frustrating player. One who has all the physical attributes to be world class, but none of the ability. He struggles in front of goal – a massive problem for a striker.

But in the last 4 games for Arsenal, he has 5 goals and an assist – had he joined Liverpool in January, the press will be going on about how great he was, how much he has improved under Jurgen Klopp.

But he, nor Wenger, will get any credit. It will be labelled as “just Moscow”.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup tied and Henrik Mkhitaryan our injured, the role of supporting Alexandre Lacazette has fallen to Welbeck. And he has not disappointed.

In his last 2 second leg Europa League appearances, he has been the game changer.

Against AC Milan, trailing 1-0 at home, Welbeck won and converted the penalty to make it 1-1. He then scored if the 86th minute to put the tie to bed.

Then yesterday Arsenal were on the verge of going out. Shell shocked. It was Roma v Barcelona all over again. Then Danny Welbeck stepped up to the plate with his excellent goal.

Yesterday was actually his 10th goal of the season. If he can do that consistently, as 3rd choice striker, Arsenal have a decent contributor in the squad. Bit like Sylvain Wiltord.

Then we have the man of the match from yesterday. The stats speak for themselves.

During the game, some people began comparing him to Gilberto Silva in the fact that a lot of what he does you do not see.

I am not 100% sold on the comparison, but Elneny has a very simple and effective game. Win the ball, then pass it to someone who is in a better position to create. He understands his limitations and works hard.

Unlike Francis Coquelin; who always seemed to be frustrated and wanting to be involved in the build up, Elneny sits back, covering the back 4.

But he can also play. 2 assists yesterday show this. He might not be as good defensively as Gilberto, but he is better on the ball.

I would like to see him given the chance to play in the middle of the midfield 3 until the rest of the season. We still need a top defensive midfielder, but continual good performances by Elneny will give the manager another option.

Whilst Elneny goes about his business quietly, without much praise from the supporters, a fans favourite is struggling.

Jack Wilshere has a horrendous game. Not for the first time this season, he looked off the pace, his touch and passing deserting him.

He has been average this season, and last night showed why Arsenal are reluctant to invest in him. Whilst the likes of Elneny and Aaron Ramsey have stepped up, Wilshere has gone backwards.

He seemed to spend the majority of yesterday rolling about on the floor and complaining. It is also interesting to see the tide on Twitter turning against him. Many of those backing him to start earlier in the season now questioning his place in the starting XI.

Arsenal clearly think they can improve on Jack Wilshere. That the money he wants could go towards financing a deal on someone who is superior. Fitter. More consistent. And it is hard to argue against that.

The club might even feel that if they secure the right defensive midfielder, it will allow them to push Granit Xhaka further forward. Allow him to be the deep-lying playmaker with a man behind him clearing up.

It is the role he plays so well for Switzerland. The role he played in Germany before he signed for Arsenal. He has never been the deepest of the midfield. He has always played with someone more defensive minded next to him, or behind him.

Xhaka will probably be back this weekend for the game at Newcastle. If he is 100%, he should go straight back in the first team alongside Ramsey and Elneny.

Wilshere is clearly in need of a rest. It might become a permanent one.

So we are through thanks to those who people sit and moan about.

The draw is today at 12noon. RB Salzburg, Atlético Madrid and Marseille are our potential opponents. None of them fear me.

Up the Arsenal

Keenos

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Defending Wilshere; Attacking Ramsey

So I wrote a blog on Wednesday after, scheduled for 8:30am Thursday morning. The jist was simple. It has all gone quiet with Jack Wilshere. 20 minutes before the blog was due to go live, news started to break over some comments made by Wilshere on England duty.

I was proper mugged off.

Before getting into things fully, I feel I need to address something about what Wilshere actually said:

He gave me the opportunity [to leave] with three or four weeks left in the transfer window,” Wilshere said. “He said, ‘I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go’.

The situation Wilshere was talking about was not the present, but the past. He was talking about what happened in the summer. And this has then just exploded onto Twitter and other social media as if it was happening today.

It was not exactly breaking news that Arsenal had told Jack that he could leave in the summer. It was fairly well know, a badly kept secret. Arsenal had told him he could leave, a few offers came in that were accepted, but the ball as always in his court. He decided to turn down a move, stayed at Arsenal and fought for his place.

He is talking about it now, but it is the situation last summer he is talking about. Whilst he is yet to sign a new deal, I believe Arsenal’s position has changed. The club, and Arsene Wenger, no longer wish him to leave any time soon.

As with everything, it has created a lot of fuss, a lot of fuss about nothing.

But what it has done is expose something that I have felt for some years.

When it comes to Jack Wilshere, a lot of fans think with their heart rather than their head. They see Wilshere (wrongly) as one of them, one of the fans, a local lad and the club should do everything they can to keep him.

The reality is somewhat different.

Wilshere has struggled for fitness throughout his Arsenal career. He is now 26 and has played a little over 120 Premier League games for Arsenal. Whilst his injury record has cleared up this season, you still wince every time he go’s down.

He is a good player, delightful on the ball, that is clear. But you could also question if he is good enough? If we are dreaming about the player he could have become when he broke through at 17, rather than the player he has become at 26.

Since his return to the Arsenal first team, he has put in some very good performances. But he has also put in some poor ones.

He does not escape criticism from the poor team performances against Bournemouth, Ostersunds FK, Manchester City and Brighton. In those games, he was not a shining light in a poor team, he was as culpable as Mesut Ozil, as Alex Iwobi, as Petr Cech in the defeats.

Wilshere has earnt a new contract, that is not an argument to be had. The argument is on whose terms does he deserve it.

He has been at Arsenal for a long time. Up until last summer, Arsenal had stuck with him, rehabilitated him. He failed to play a league game in 2011/12. Played just 3 in 2015/16. And Arsenal stuck with him.

We want to offer him a deal where his basic is lower, but appearances fees take him above and beyond what he is on now. A fair deal with his injury record. He seems to be holding out for at least parity in basic on what he is on now, some rumours say he is expecting an increase.

A debate can be had either way on what should happen, depending on if you are thinking with your head or heart. And it is the heart that I am about to discuss.

Wilshere get’s an easy ride with the fans. He is English, been at the club since he was 9, “loves” the club and his passionate. It is easy as an Arsenal fan to love Wilshere.

So let’s take Jack Wilshere out of the scenario.

Imagine it is another player currently in contract dispute with the club. He has had an injury wrecked Arsenal career, put in some great performances, as well as some poor ones. What should we do?

Say that person is Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey is injured once again. He seems to pick up one muscle injury a season ruling him out for about 10 games. He is occasionally brilliant, occasionally poor, often somewhere in between.

The Welshman’s contract runs out in 2019. And the differing views between Ramsey and Wilshere is stark.

Whilst many defend Wilshere, say the club should pay him what he wants, they also abuse Ramsey, say the club should get rid, that he is no good. They say Ramsey is greedy for being in his current contract situation.

But when you look at both Wilshere and Ramsey’s career, it is Ramsey who has done more for Arsenal than Wilshere. So the criticism of one (Ramsey) and support for another (Wilshere) is just a little odd.

Premier League Minutes (last 4 years)

Aaron Ramsey: 7353 minutes
Jack Wilshere: 3840 minutes

Wilsheres minutes include the 27 games he played for Bournemouth. For Arsenal he has played less than 2000 minutes of Premier League football in 4 years. Ramsey might have his injury issues, but Wilshere’s are clearly worse.

Premier League Goals

Aaron Ramsey: 35 goals
Jack Wilshere: 7 goals

There is no argument, Ramsey is the bigger goal threat. He also has double the assists. He is a threat, Wilshere is not.

Of course, Wilshere’s game is not just about goals (I am not going to start talking about second assists), but everything you look at – distance covered, tackles, interceptions – Ramsey is superior.

It baffles me why people defend the inferior player. The only reasoning is that they are thinking with their heart, not their head.

Ramsey should be an Arsenal hero, borderline legend status.

Before you spit your tea out, hear me out.

Aaron Ramsey scored the FA Cup winning goal in 2014. He repeated the feat in 2017. He has played every minute of all 3 FA Cup Finals. 300+ minutes of FA Cup Final football. In comparison, Wilshere has played 27 minutes over the two finals he was at the club for.

Ramsey was rumoured to be fed up with the way fans treat him in comparison to Wilshere. Whilst I think it is bollocks, you can kind of see why.

It will always baffle me how a fan can sit and defend Wilshere one minute, then the next go on the attack against Ramsey.

Finally on Wilshere, if he does leave Arsenal ,where will he actually end up?

What club will want to spend £120k a week on an injury prone Central Midfielder?

We used to mock Darren Anderton in the 1990s for being sicknote. He averaged 25 league games a season for Spurs. Wilshere is averaging 18 league games a season for Arsenal since2010. What top club will want invest a player who is only available 50% of the time? Maybe Liverpool, but they are stupid.

You then look outside the top 6. Leicester City, Everton. Those sort of clubs. Wilshere will fit right in with them. It is probably his level at the minute. Top half / mid table sides. That is where Arsenal are the minute, it is probably where Wilshire belongs.

But at £120k+ a week, sides will want to be a team around him with Wilshere as the centre piece, the lynch pin. But with his injury record, will they be willing to invest that sort of money into someone so injury prone? Who knows.

The fact that last year Sampdoria were the nearest to his signing shows the level he is at. Rumours of Juventus and AC Milan, I just can not see happening.

Clubs will buy Wilshere using their head, not their heart. And the head will show that he is an inconsistent injury prone player. I imagine they would much rather sign Aaron Ramsey over him.

For Arsenal to win the league, we need to buy better than Jack Wilshere.

The argument of “it will cost more to replace him” is pointless when we need to buy better than him even if he stays. We need to spend big on a central midfielder this summer. Wilshere staying does not change that.

If Wilshere does go, it will be a sad day. I will look back at the player he was in 2010 and think what a talent has been wasted.

8 years of bad tackles and injuries. He has never reached the potential he showed and, at 26, will probably never reach that potential.

I want Wilshere to stay, but if his Arsenal journey is over, so be it. We move on. The heart might cry but the head will say his time is up.

Keenos

What is happening with Jack Wilshere?

The gossip around Jack Wilshere’s contract seems to have gone quiet.

Gone are the rumours that we had offered him a deal, gone are the rumours that he was not happy with the deal. It is just silence. A stone wall of silence. And it is odd.

The only thing heard recently is that Everton were willing to hand the Englishman an £8-million signing to join the club in the summer.

Obviously Everton could not yet have offered him this deal, as rules dictate that you can only negotiate with foreign clubs in the last 6 months of your contract. You have to wait until your contract runs out before being able to openly negotiate with domestic clubs (I think).

But realistically, there is no smoke without fire.

This story has probably been planted by Everton to see if there is any interest. To see if the phone rings. To see if one of Wilshere’s gets in touch and says it is a deal of interest, lets talk over an ice cream.

If that is on the table from Everton, it would not be surprised if Wilshere becomes interested. £8m is a lot of money, even for a footballer (2 years wages @ £77k a week).

Ignoring that story, everything at Arsenal and Wislhere seem to be at an impasse.

Arsenal have reportedly told Wilshere he must take a pay-cut on his £110,000-a-week wages if he wants to stay at the Emirates.

But his contract will also give him a chance to increase his pay with bonus payments and appearance money.

This to me seems reasonable. If you do not play, you earn less, if you play, you earn more. With his injury background, it is probably the right decision. The sensible decision.

Football, contracts and sensible do not go together. Whilst football is a short career, it is a well paid career. Gone are the days when a player would play for 20 years and have to be a cabby, or go into construction, or appear on daytime TV property shows. Most top level players now retire and never have to work again.

Saying that, football is about money, about greed. Why would Wilshere accept our offer of lower wages, if he can get the same – or higher – wages elsewhere. Players are no longer loyal.

Whilst what Wilshere wants from Arsenal has never been made clear, speculation is that he wants at least the same, perhaps even more.

And this is the impasse. Arsenal have offered him a sensible contract based on his history (36 Premier League games for Arsenal in 4 seasons), whilst Wilshere wants what he could be offered elsewhere.

Wilshere has managed to stay injury free for the majority of the season. He has played 30 games this season – only Granit Xhaka has played more in the middle of the park. And whilst he has shown some of the best form, that form has also been patchy.

With Aaron Ramsey having just 18 months left of his contract, and Granit Xhaka having struggled to settle in England, Arsenal could be facing a midfield crisis come the summer.

Keenos