Wenger on team changes and Wilshere + Arsecast 386 with Danny Karbassiyoon

Arsecast - the Arsenal podcast

Morning all, welcome to Friday and I guess because we have an early kick off tomorrow the press conference was yesterday, so we have bits and pieces to go through this morning.

First off, team news – and it looks as if Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini are fit again. However, it seems unlikely that either of them will play from the start as the manager expressed some very welcome ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ sentiments. Having found a system that appears to work better than most in recent times, he said:

I’m always reluctant to change what works. Team play has improved in those games and our game is based on mobility, speed and technique. We have found a good balance in our game.

Now, I wouldn’t say he’s always reluctant to change what works. Sometimes he definitely does that, but in this case I don’t see how any of the players returning from injury can realistically hope to do anything but make the bench. The front three is ticking along nicely, while Coquelin and Elneny have another chance to show that their promising midfield partnership is can do what’s necessary.

The only change I can see is Petr Cech coming back in place of David Ospina, after that leave well enough alone. Anyway, we can discuss more in tomorrow’s pre-game preview.

The manager was, of course, asked about Jack Wilshere. He admitted there had been an incident but that he’d spoken to the player, and it was all a bit overblown:

He loves football. He’s very serious and dedicated. I invite you to come in and watch him work. You’ll understand that he’s very dedicated.

And on the late-night antics:

He had a hard session on Monday and he did very well. So if he had been heavy drinking on Sunday, I don’t think he would have survived. The real question is this: ‘Does Jack have the serious life or not?’ A player cannot hide when you watch him practise every day. Jack is serious in his life. Jack is not a drinker – at all. I don’t even have that worry. Not at all.

There’s no question that Arsene Wenger wants to give Jack Wilshere every chance to have the career his talent deserves, and I do think there’s an element of this all being a bit of a storm in a teacup. However, as I wrote elsewhere, there’s often a big difference between reality and perception when it comes to footballers.

The perception of Jack Wilshere, whether it’s fair or not, is that between the smoking incidents, nightclub incidents, and the fact he’s been unavailable all season, he doesn’t take his career as seriously as he should. Rightly or wrongly people will make a connection between him being involved in a nightclub incident and his injury problems.

And at the end of the day, he’s the only man who can change that perception. Nobody’s saying he can’t have a good time, but he’d be wise to ensure that the good times he does enjoy occur far away from the public gaze, making sure that he doesn’t become social media carrion because the vultures are always circling.

People may question his company, and whether his friends should do more, but it’s got to come from Jack himself. It also goes without saying that given his injury issues, his lifestyle can’t have any impact on his athletic career.

I don’t see anything other than Wilshere being an Arsenal player next season, but even with the backing of Arsene Wenger, he’s approaching a fork in the road of his career. He can make the right choices, and he also needs a bit of luck in terms of his injuries. If that doesn’t happen, there’s only one way it’ll go, and that’d be a real shame.

A quick couple of extras: the manager has confirmed a new deal is in the offing for Alex Iwobi, while in his column this week Tim Stillman looks at what’s next for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.

Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and it’s Danny heavy episode. After analysing some of Danny Mills’ punditry, I’m joined by Danny Karbassiyoon, a man whose only Arsenal goal came when he left Mills in his wake at Man City in a Carling Cup game. We chat about his new book ‘The Arsenal Yankee’, his time at Arsenal and how his career was cut short by injury. We also discuss his move into scouting, how that changes your view of the game, finding talents like Joel Campbell and Gedion Zelalem, how you can be a top youth player and find the professional game more a struggle, and lots more.

Danny’s book is out now, you can get all the details on the website The Arsenal Yankee, or follow him on Twitter @dkarbassiyoon. We’ve also got a couple of signed copies to give away in a competition and there’s the usual waffle in there too, for all you waffle fans.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download the Arsecast directly, use the link below the player, and if you are a regular listener via iTunes, if you would be so kind as to leave a review/rating that would be greatly appreciated.

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As ever you can find all the news and updates of the day over on Arseblog News. The Gent will be here later, more from me tomorrow as we face West Ham in the early kick off.

Until then.