Poor old Jacky Wilshere, eh? If reports are to be believed he’s gone and smashed his legs to pieces again, which leaves him absent for the final run in, returning to Arsenal early and probably even more up in the air about his future. Timing wise it’s an absolute stinker. He has 12 months left on his contract and so what do Arsenal do if he’s out for the next six? Give him an extension as a gesture of faith? It’d be one heck of a gesture given his injury problems. But if they wait and see if he recovers we could find him starting to return in October, needing a couple of months to get up to speed and so probably not getting as much game time as he needs, followed by him leaving the club on a free in June next year. But for Jack even in his position with all of his injuries, clubs would be expecting that they’d be taking a gamble. Right now Jack Wilshere is looking more and more like the player that never was. Such a precocious talent when he burst on to the scene, injury after injury has robbed us of a great football who I’m convinced would have been the lynchpin of the team by now if his development hadn’t have been as stunted as his has through injury. It really is a crying shame.

But Arsenal will deal with it in the manner they will and I’m sure Arsène will have some consoling words for Wilshere at the moment. In our immediate world though, most talk seems to be about this new formation change, with Gooners across the globe talking amongst themselves about the motives, possible future of the 3-5-2 formation, etc, etc. Actually, it’s probably more like a 3-4-2-1 with Özil and Alexis behind Giroud, but I’m getting in to the realms of ‘little bit semantics’ here. The important questions that I’ve certainly been speaking about with fellow Arsenal fans is:

  • Why now the change?
  • Will we see it again?
  • Do we have the personnel to adopt this on a regular basis?
  • If not, will this see our summer activity alter as a result?

Of course the latter two questions relate to whether Arsène is still manager. Although as you and I are probably already aware of the chances are that he will be. All of the signs seem to be pointing in that direction. So that being the case, does the target of players in specific positions need to be reviewed? For example, with the set up of the team as it was against Boro, how can you see a future for Theo Walcott? Iwobi can tuck in behind the lone front man, Alexis and Özil are good enough to drift across the pitch, but with a formation like we played on Monday night it would certainly seem to spell an end to Theo’s regularity in the side. That would be no real problem for me however; Walcott’s limitations have been all too obvious so far this season. But in my mind I was imagining us going all out for a wide forward in the summer. A massive Walcott upgrade, if you will. Yet if Arsène remains in charge then perhaps the thinking will change, because what we might need to find is more of a wing-back type player on the left and right to compete with Hector, the Ox, etc. There might also be cause for picking up another centre half, especially given how poorly we’ve been defensively of late, but there again we do already have a stockpiled list of central defenders. If you count Chambers too, we’ve got six for three positions, which is probably what you’d need over the duration of a season. 

So there are certainly plenty of questions that this formation change has kicked up, but as I said on one WhatsApp group, at least it’s given us something else to talk about in relation to The Arsenal. The poor performances and repetitive nature of them too was starting to get really boring and with Arsène offering little by way of explanation or anything different, throwing in a formation change curveball at least gives bloggers and other Arsenal fans like me some food for thought.

I don’t think we’ll see it again at the weekend though. Arsène offered his explanation that the formation change was due in part towards Middlesbrough potentially going direct with Gestede and Negredo, but in Man City there will be a different threat and it won’t be through route one football, so I expect Arsène to revert to type and go back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that he’s been so rigid with over the last couple of seasons. Personally I wouldn’t mind it being shelved for a period of time given our insipid displays, in favour of a little more defensive solidity, but certainly against City I think Arsène will want to roll the dice a little more and trade attacking blows with Pep’s team.

We don’t have to wait long to find out though.

Right, I’m done for the day and having had five days of drinking and eating too much, it’s back to the working grind for me, so I’ll take my leave and bid you all a good day.