Heralding the return of Jack Wilshere after a good performance on a night when another away result eluded Arsenal would seem like a step too far, but when a player of such potential has been so unlucky with injuries, people get excited if there’s a potential return.
Against West Ham on Wednesday night, Wilshere was the Gunners’ best player, whilst his aggression and directness stood out as something Arsene Wenger has lacked in his side for too long.
The Arsenal midfielder’s all-round play was impressive, getting involved in the game with 80 touches as his side dominated possession against a disciplined West Ham side.
More importantly, though, it was Wilshere’s willingness to take the game to his opponents that stood out. He attempted four dribbles – more than any other Arsenal player – completing all of them, and completed 92% of his passes, showing that when he got the ball, he rarely wasted it.
His three tackles showed his contribution to his side when they didn’t have the ball, too, and only Nacho Monreal won the ball back more times on the night than the English midfielder.
It’s too early to say that Wilshere is coming back. One good game – especially one where Arsenal didn’t actually win – is hardly cause for unbridled optimism, but at the same time, it’s encouraging that the England man isn’t shying away from his natural game when he’s on the pitch, still playing without fear and playing a direct, swashbuckling game.
Having had so many injuries, Wilshere might well need to adapt his game to a slower, more considered style at some point. But for now, he possesses a fight and the good kind of aggression that his team don’t have too much of in the centre of midfield. And if he can keep his form high between now and the end of the season, staying injury free, he could make a huge difference to Arsenal’s season.
If you are putting together an accy for this weekend, hold fire until you’ve seen our recommended coupons! We’ve got a Premier League outright win treble that benefits from LeoVegas Enhanced Odds, plus a banker of an EFL fourfold with odds of nearly 10/1! Check out the latest Football FanCast Accy show and let us know who you’re backing this weekend.