We will not know the official starting line-up of Arsenal until about an hour before the kick-off against Red Star Belgrade in the third of our Europa League group games this evening, but I think we can be fairly sure that the name of Jack Wilshere will be in there.
With the England international midfield star being the player chosen by Arsene Wenger to do the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, it looks like Jack is going to be handed a start. He will surely be raring to go after missing out on a rare Premier League appearance last Saturday when Koscielny had to be replaced as Wilshere was set to come on as the third sub at Watford.
The 25-year old has another reason to be fired up for this match as well, because he has not taken well to the criticism and comments about Arsenal supposed lack of ‘cojones’ from Troy Deeney. As reported by The Mirror, Wilshere has defended his team mates and insisted that there is no lack of character in the Gunners dressing room.
He said, “Nobody can question our character.
Watford skipper Troy Deeney slammed the Gunners after Saturday’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Arsene Wenger’s men, accusing them of lacking “cojones”.
“As a player, if your attitude is questioned, it’s horrible. I look around this team and you can’t question our character.
“People try to put us down, they always have. I don’t think the comments were justified.
“When we look back at the game we look back at ourselves and what we did wrong. I don’t think we can look back and question our character. We did certain things wrong, but we certainly didn’t want to let the lead slip.
“We will move on.
“We have a game against Red Star Belgrade and another big game at the weekend [away to Everton] and we have seen with this team that the players can bounce back quickly and we will do that.
“I am sure individually players are disappointed – no one wants to hear those comments. But players are entitled to their opinions and to talk.
“That’s part of the modern-day game and we have to deal with that. All we can do is bounce back with a good performance tomorrow and at the weekend.”
Jack has already seen red this season for scrapping on the pitch with the under 23 Arsenal team so hopefully his desire to show fight will not go too far but he has clearly been riled by Deeney’s words, as has his manager. Arsene Wenger also alluded to the comments in his interview reported by Metro when asked if the Watford striker’s words had hurt.
He said, “Yes but I know who my players really are. In the last seven games we had six wins and one draw.
‘Comments are part of the modern game. I love my players and I trust their strength of character to respond.”
So will Wenger pick a strong side and will the likes of Wilshere justify it by proving the Arsenal doubters wrong against Red Star Belgrade?