Three goals in three minutes, that was wonderful. Mesut Özil pulling a Mesutözilesque performance was wonderful, too. Also, Danny Welbeck opening his Arsenal account was wonderful. And a clean sheet, wonderful!
I still have a bad taste in mouth, though. A very light one, but it’s here and there’s nothing a can do about it. Despite all the positives from the win at Villa Park, one thing spoiled the very pleasant weekend a little bit: the Aaron Ramsey/Jack Wilshere dualism.
With Arsène Wenger reverting to the old system and with Mesut Özil shifted back to his favorite role, it became evident that only one of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere would start the match.
Forget about the little injury occurred to our Englishman, if Arsène Wenger decides to stick to the old formation then both our talented midfielders will have to battle for the box-to-box midfielder role alongside Mikel Arteta.
That would be a real shame, one of the rare abundance-related problems the Arsenal faced in the past ten years. Both players are at a stage where they need to play week in, week out but none of them could really play in a different position – both for their qualities and the internal concurrence (i.e. Mesut Özil).
Jack Wilshere seems to be the most versatile player, having played in the hole as well as on both wings, but I doubt he sees his own future elsewhere than centre midfield.
What shall Arsène Wenger do?
He looks uninterested in moving Aaron Ramsey wide or backwards, seen his great eye for goals and his perfectly-timed runs (when he’s fit and in-form), so I guess Jack Wilshere will need to adapt.
He tried (he is still trying) to accommodate everyone by playing Mesut Özil on the left wing, however the outcome was poor for the German and the whole team; Jack Wilshere shone against Manchester City and Besiktas at home but as an unit, the Arsenal suffered a lot; personally, I don’t see it as the ultimate solution as Mesut Özil – arguably our best player – looks wasted on the wing and is unable to be as influential as he is when he plays in is preferred position.
Maybe he could copy what Carlo Ancelotti did at AC Milan a few years ago, when he used to play what experts call a diamond (it looks like a rhombus, tho) midfield with Andrea Pirlo at the bottom, Clarence Seedorf and Genaro Gattuso on each side and Kakà on the top.
That would accommodate MikelArteta, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil at the same time but would force Arsène Wenger to play with two strikers – something we all Gooners seem to appreciate as much as the manager does not.
I would be very intrigued to see that, I’d better surrender to the idea I will never have the chance – however.
Selling one of them is simply not a viable solution neither is playing only one of these two excellent players, Arsène Wenger must find a solution and allow us to see Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey (plus Mesut Ozil) combining in the final third.
Roy Hodgson tried to play Jack Wilshere as holding midfielder when England defeated Switzerland, a solution that many among us seem to like.
At a first glance, I liked the idea, too.
Then I realised how much Jack Wilshere loves to bomb forward with the ball at his feet and how dangerous that could be for our defensive line – especially with someone like Per Mertesacker at the back – and I changed my mind.
As much as I appreciate Jack Wilshere, it’s always 50:50 when he attempts a burst past opponents: he could break through and find himself beyond half line or crash into the first midfielder and lose the ball, leaving both centre halves exposed and full-backs out of position.
I wouldn’t take the risk nor ask Jack Wilshere to change his game, it looks like his instinct always prevails on the pitch and I love it.
My choice would be playing Jack Wilshere where Santi Cazorla usually plays – on the left wing.
He might not see his future elsewhere than in centre midfield but Jack Wilshere could really do a great job there, exactly like our pocket-sized magician: they’re quite similar players and love to drift inside from wide positions, playing one-twos with teammates as well as take on opponents on the wing and look for a back pass in the box.
Both have quick feet and great vision and both put a real effort in defending – something Mesut Ozil tends to do less – hence I think Arsène Wenger should persuade Jack Wilshere to play there.
With Santi Cazorla ageing and perhaps willing to go back to La Liga, his natural replacement is already at the club.
It might be difficult to convince Jack Wilshere that he could be a good (a typical) winger but Arsène Wenger could do it.
If alternatives are not playing on regular basis, being something like a wildcard to be deployed in different positions when a teammate is injured/suspended or having to leave his boyhood club in search of playing minutes, Jack Wilshere could understand that moving from centre to the wing isn’t the end of the world.
It could be the opposite, actually.