Why the British core didn’t work out for Arsenal?

I’m sure many of you will remember the day, 19th December 2012, when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was in that infamous photo along with five young Gunners, all whom had just signed new five year contracts. Arsenal had managed to tie Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Wilshere all down to new long term deals in hope that they were going to be the British core for many years to come.

It was a move desired by many in the hope that we would find strength from these core players mixed amongst the team. In 2012, Wilshere and Ramsey were by far the most established and progressive players in the first team, with Kieran Gibbs not far behind. But at the time of signing, the Ox and Jenkinson still had a long way to catch up with the rest. They were all youngsters, all who had lots to learn and experiences to value, but why now just over four years on from that day, does every player find themselves out of the Arsenal starting eleven?

May I remind you that of course all five players are still on the club’s books and all are now considered experienced players in the professional game. Wilshere of course isn’t technically our player to utilise this season, with the English midfielder out on loan at Bournemouth, but he remains our permanent player nonetheless.

For Wilshere, the reason for his decline has of course been his injuries. When fit, he is a contender for one of the most talented English midfielders in the game. He may not get lots of goals or assists, but his creativity, passing and fight are real strengths to the midfield and the team as a whole. Arsenal are showing through this difficult faze where they have Cazorla out, that they could really do with a Jack Wilshere type figure being amongst the team. I remain adamant that if Wilshere can prove his fitness, then he’ll become an Arsenal regular once again. However until then, he has of course fallen far since the day he signed that five year deal.

Much like Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey has also had his fair few struggles with injury. Ramsey is probably considered to feature the most out of all five players for Arsenal, with Wenger clearly a big fan of the Welshmen regardless of what kind of form he’s in. Ramsey has made leaps and bounds during his time at Arsenal and his goalscoring run in the 2013-14 season showed just what a fantastic player he can be. Sadly he hasn’t shown much of the same ever since and although he’s currently returning to fitness after a injury struggle, I’m not sure if he’ll find himself back in the team as an Arsenal regular straight away.

Kieran Gibbs in my opinion should be getting another shout at first team action right now, especially considering that Monreal’s form is clearly nowhere near his consistent performances last season. Gibbs had a good spell as an Arsenal regular at left back between the era’s of Clichy and now Monreal, but I think it’s time the Englishman looked to regain his place. Gibbs has found himself largely out of the team for the last few seasons, but has remained very loyal to the club during that period of time. Gibbs may not be the greatest of defenders currently on our books but is a graduate of the Arsenal youth set up and certainly deserves another shot towards regaining his place on the pitch.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is a fan favourite at the Emirates, but more for his action off the pitch rather than on it. His media attention and character makes him a much loved player. But since his move from Southampton in 2011, the Ox has failed to really make great strides towards developing with experience. After five seasons with the Gunners you’d expect he’d had made quite the impression by now, but much like former Saint and fellow Gunner Theo Walcott, the Ox just doesn’t have that consistency in his ability. He’s been performing well so far this season, but with rumours last summer that the club were considering a loan move or sale for the winger, I wouldn’t say things have exactly gotten better for the player since 2012.

Last but not least Carl Jenkinson, the man who’s spent much of his time at Arsenal out of the first team and even on loan. Jenkinson spent the previous two seasons on loan at West Ham where he initially made quite the impression before a nasty injury cut his second stint short. He returned to Arsenal this season after recovering from injury, to be backup to Hector Bellerin. But when Bellerin faced a few weeks out injured, it was time for Jenkinson to step up, however he looked like he was on a completely different level to the rest of the players and he quickly found himself replaced by centre back Gabriel after a few games. In my opinion things had looked bright for Jenkinson upon his return to Arsenal, but after the poor few games he’s had back with the side, I’m not sure if the player is too out of his depth with the Gunners.

All of these players have the chance to make a change to their Arsenal careers and to step up to the level that was expected from them by now back in 2012. Some players may find that goal easier to come by than others, because whilst I expect Wilshere, Ramsey and Gibbs to remain with Arsenal, I think that the Ox’s future and certainly Jenkinson’s career hangs in the balance at the Gunners. Time to show Arsenal that they were worth that five year investment!



  1. Lord Banter says:

    ‘Cause it’s crap?!

    1. JAmerican says:

      That contributed to our mediocrity. Maintaining a homegrown quota weakened us more than strengthened because of the quality we kept or lack there of. Something that needs to change as well, time to let a few of them go and keep the ones that actually will be of use to us or just promote from the academy to keep the numbers.

      1. Jimbeam says:

        More than anything Arsene’s bad transfer dealings is Arsenal’s biggest problem.
        Just a few examples from the last couple of years.
        Chambers, Perez, Gabriel, All around 17M each for a total of 51 Million. None are Arsenal quality.
        Not buying Vidal last season when he only bought Cech. Unbelievable went to Bayern for 26-28M He is Sanchez’s best friend, a man of steel and ambition, a boss in midfield. Incredible that we missed out on him.
        Xhaka instead of Kante – wow what a ef-up incredible. Best midfielder in The Prem. He wanted to come to us, cost less than Xhaka – idiotic gamble on Xhaka ( who is a good player btw) instead of buying Premiership experienced, marathon man Kante, for less!!!! Total and utter idiocy.
        Imagine today a midfield of Vidal-Kante-Ozil, Imagine the quality and the steel. Instead we have what El -effing Nenny, and Coq who are just 2nd rate replacements for what we could have had.
        His search for a forward took us to Sanogo, Campbell, Wellbeck and Perez, and a thankfully missed punt at Vardy. If any single one person reading this thinks that any of these guys is a World Class striker that can take Arsenal to the next level, you must be smoking the same stuff Arsene is.
        We loose it on the transfer table even before the league begins.

        1. Franko says:

          Shut up mate. Take Perez off that list as you haven’t seen him play a run of games yet. You will eat your words when you do.

          1. Jansen says:

            I hope Perez gets more time on the pitch and is not treated like Podolski, which he is at the moment, but you have to agree with Jimbeam that Perez is hardly world class. He is merely a potential improvement for the other options on the left who don’t contribute too many goals (thinking of Ox and Iwobi) or help out on defending too well.

        2. Jansen says:

          @jimbeam – People might say that hindsight is 50-50 with respect to signings. But I have to agree that no one can have been surprised by the success of Kante and Vidal.

          Particularly Kante who was PL proven and Xhaka was not, was a painful miss. You wonder why people think Leicester won the PL? Was it luck? or did Kante actually contribute a large part to their success?

          I think Vidal was just chosen Chili’s player of the year over Sanchez, he is that good.

          1. Franko says:

            And who was Kante before Leiceter won the league?

  2. ThirdManJW says:

    Spot on article, enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see what Wilshere does at Arsenal next season, if he remains, and is injury free. Gibbs does deserve another shot as regular. I love Monreal, but he’s been off the boil this season, and I remember Gibbs having an outstanding game against Basel recently, and generally looking good when he’s played.

    Sell Jenkinson to a Championship team, sell Ox to a mid-table Premiership team, and sell Ramsey for £70 million to Chinese team. Please!

  3. citrenoogeht says:

    Of the above five, based on current form, only Gibbs deserves an immediate place in the first eleven. Ramsey, Ox and Wilshere need another chance. Jenkinson is clearly not Arsenal quality and needs to be put out of his misery and sold pronto.

  4. Arsenal_Girl says:

    British players are overrated
    Gareth Bale is the only World Class British player

    England does not have any in my opinion
    We need to have some because of the home grown requirements

    The best English players are also over valued.

    I think we should keep Theo, Ox, Gibbs, Wilshere, Holding and Welbeck

    Get rid of Ramsey, Jenkinson, Chambers, Akpom.

    Non British
    Get rid of Debuchy, Campbell, Sanogo, Eleney

    I like Campbell but if we don’t win anything this season we should get rid of one or two good players to get some excellent players

    We need to make major changes or next season we will be fighting for fourth again

    In summer we need a Top CB, decent Rb, top DM and ideally two Top forwards but at least 1 Top forward and probably a new manager

    1. Budd says:

      So, you want to keep Theo now. My, my, how fast are chnaging your mind. Season didn’t even started and you were selling Theo.

  5. SoOpa AeoN says:

    when the Likes of Ramsey , Ox , Jenko and Gibbs becomes your core,
    then i’m quite sure you’re out for Prom / ballerina show ..actually not FOOTBALL….

  6. Break-on-through says:

    I have to laugh sometimes when reading people say get rid of these players, mostly all the one’s not in the first team. Then when talking about who to buy its lets get Greizmmann Vidal or Suarez when we had the chance. How about next time look up some good squad players out there and say, yeah, he’d do as third choice and maybe he’s a good fourth, they could replace the lot I said get rid of. Do that and then maybe yeah you deserve some credit in flexing your managerial acumen. Any w****r on a playstation can spot a world class player, you don’t even have to follow the football.

  7. marty53 says:

    Maybe the so called ” British Core ” players just aren’t good enough !!!

  8. Jansen says:

    I think it is a number of factors.

    With Wilshire and Ramsey, as mentioned injuries play a big part in disrupting their development.

    I also think Ramsey’s versatility is big disadvantage for the fans and for his development. He has been used all over the pitch whilst he is not that good in some of the positions Wenger has forced him into. Most notably IMO when he is played out wide. He is not a natural wide player. He doesn’t have the speed or the instinct to take on defenders in an effort to get to the by-line and as a result, he always looks to cut back to the middle slowing play down.

    IMO Ramsey is probably best in the role of Ozil, when he has some freedom to roam. Unfortunatly for him Ozil (and Santi) are a level above him. Having said that in games like the one at City when Ozil disappears, had Ramsey been available I would have subbed him for Ozil.

    Wilshire, the few periods that he was fit has also been used in different positions including DM. Not helpful. If Wilshire stays healthy this season, it will raise some questions about our training methods which have often been criticized. Particularly if he returns to Arsenal next season only to get injured again.

    Gibbs was promising when he came on the scene but was also often injured costing him his place and resulting in a few good seasons by Monreal. Having said that for all three players I think Wenger could have used his rotation better.

    Finally, I think Wenger tries to raise intellectuals and not passionados. He doesn’t like it when players get rowdy at half time in the locker room I recently read. This makes it harder to fire up the players and for the players to fire each other up. I am sure Conte, Pep and Klopp get passionate in the dressing room at half time when they need to interfere after a poor first half. For a player like Ozil who plays like an intellectual this is fine but some players, like Sanchez and I think Wilshire and Ramsey are more passionate type of players who would do well with a passionate manager.

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