Good morning, the start of another week at the end of which we have the return of Arsenal, something to look forward to.
In the meantime there are internationals for some of our players to contend with. Tonight Ireland will try to qualify for the European Championships with a game against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first leg away from home was drawn 1-1 and hopefully for players and fans visibility will be greater than 3 feet, the view on Friday was pretty poor.
Tomorrow there are a clutch of friendlies in which some of our lads will be involved, most notably the one between England and France at Wembley. After what’s happened this weekend, that’s a game around which there’ll be plenty of emotion, for sure.
Further afield Chile play Uruguay tomorrow night and we’ll be looking for Alexis Sanchez to come out of that one as unscathed as possible. Right now I think he is a bit scathed anyway, and without some kind of rest he’ll scathe himself further. Hopefully with some players back after this Interlull we can afford to ease the burden on him a little bit as we are heading into that hectic festive schedule.
Speaking of which, yesterday’s Mirror reported that Jack Wilshere could be back in time for the Christmas games which would be very handy indeed. The more bodies we have available the better, it’s just a question of how quickly he can find some form. It can often be the case that a player who has spent months out also needs months to play their best football, but while time is hardly running out for him, it feels like he’s heading into a very important part of his career.
I think it’s obvious that the only thing holding Wilshere back is the injury situation. I think the talent and ability is there and, despite his DNA witterings, when somebody like Xavi talks in glowing terms about how he could be one of the best midfielders in the world then you have to pay attention. However, missing large chunks of each season, trying to regain fitness, taking a step forward then another one backwards, mean that he’s struggling to realise that potential.
We know Arsene Wenger will give him plenty of time. More than anyone he’s aware of what Wilshere the player is capable of, but there also has to come a time when you look at someone’s place in the squad and you have to reassess it. There were times when Abou Diaby’s absence hurt us, then we built a squad with better depth and when the Frenchman was fit it was a bonus.
I do worry though that Jack will always suffer these problems. If I’m right, the last three injuries he’s suffered have been from tackles. One in an England friendly, the one where Paddy McNair’s studs caused him serious damage, and the one on the training ground on the eve of the season. On the one hand we can say he’s been unfortunate to have taken such heavy impacts, on the other we might have some concern that he’s simply unable to withstand the rigours of the game.
Other players can take hits and carry on. With Wilshere it seems to be a case that he’s more susceptible to damage that leaves him sidelined and thus has such a negative effect on his career. I really hope that it’s just bad luck and that he can have a period of sustained fitness. It’s certainly too early to write him off. If you look back at the early career of Robin van Persie, for example, he was similarly brittle but as he matured became more resistant to injury.
Hopefully Jack Wilshere can do likewise without the unfortunate side-effect of turning into a massive twat too. Fingers crossed.
Also in yesterday’s Mirror, a report that the club are considering giving Mesut Ozil a new contract. There were no quotes or anything, but it’s pretty obvious it’s something we need to do now. I think his current deal runs until 2018, but when a footballer gets into that period of a deal where there are less than 2 years left, it gets complicated.
So, we’re looking to avoid that, but first and foremost we’re (hopefully) moving to secure the future of a player who will continue to be, in these next few years, be a fundamental part of the team. His attacking value is obvious, he’s now in the peak years of his career, and we should do whatever it takes to make sure he enjoys them with us.
Right, that’s about that for this morning. There will be an Arsecast Extra for you today, but as James is currently in New York it’ll be a little later than usual. I thought it might be a little much to ask him to get up at 4am to record at the normal time. As usual, questions or topics for discussion to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra.