As February roles around, we are once again expecting the second stint of the season in which we always find tough in our campaign. The Gunners always have dry patches in November and February, often proven tough by plenty of fixtures and a growing injury crisis.
The injury crisis for this February comes in midfield, with Arsene Wenger finding his choices very limited. Normally the Gunners have a midfield packed full of competition and talent, but injuries, suspensions and players away on international duty have meant the Gunners are now low on midfield options. Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey all find themselves currently on the treatment table, whilst Mohammed Elneny has reportedly picked up an injury whilst on AFCON duty with Egypt. Granit Xhaka is also currently suspended and Jack Wilshere is out on a season long loan with Bournemouth.
It makes our very competitive midfield, now seem low on options and Arsene Wenger has a tough challenge in naming a strong midfield for the intense affair against Chelsea this Saturday. One player that Wenger admits he could really do with, is Jack Wilshere; however the player is of course unavailable to Le Prof whilst he remains out on loan.
Wenger said ahead of the Chelsea match: “We have agreed for Wilshere to go for one year on loan, we will accept that, I would like to reiterate that we didn’t push him out. He wanted to go somewhere and play and I agreed with that.He wanted to go because he saw the level of the competitive players we had in midfield and let’s not forget we have as well Xhaka suspended, so there’s a huge level of competition.”
“I accepted to let him go and we have to deal with the consequences of that.”
As much as Wilshere’s transfer came as a shock to many Arsenal fans, I think at the time it was the right decision. Wilshere was unlikely to be starting many of the matches and there was just no guarantees that he’d be able to stay fit for the entire season. Bournemouth gave the player the opportunity to build in his fitness, get regular playing time and show Arsenal and Arsene Wenger that he still has what it takes to be a valuable member of the club.
I think Wilshere’s doing well during his time on the south coast, because although he may not be racking in the statistical figures of goals and assists, he’s proving vital to Bournemouth in their Premier League campaign. It is good to see the Englishman going on a long spell without injury and I think that’s the biggest beneficiary of Wilshere’s loan. Hopefully he continues to build on his fitness, get over his injury concerns and with any luck, he’ll return to Arsenal next season as a player who is ready to stake his claim in Arsenal’s midfield.