Goal papers over cracks of woeful first-half Wilshere display

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere still received plaudits despite an atrocious first-half display.

Arsenal are still top of the league, after a Jack Wilshere goal saved them from defeat at The Hawthorns against a West Bromwich Albion side who played out of their skins in front of a rapturous home support.

For Arsenal, it just didn’t quite click yesterday. Mesut Ozil struggled to get a foothold on the game while Aaron Ramsey was not in the form that has seen him take the Premier League by storm so far this campaign.

But in the first-half Jack Wilshere was the main culprit - in what has to be one of the worst displays I have ever seen on live television.

At half time Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said that ‘Wilshere has given the ball away nearly every time he has got it’ and he wasn’t far wrong.

Wilshere was woeful, his touch was off, his passing was sloppy and if not unambitious, he was disposed at will by the likes of Claudio Yacob, Youssouf Mulumbu and Billy Jones and his general attitude was one of a man just not getting the break he needed - he also looked unfit, maybe it is the smoking?

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In the second half things started off just as bad, when he inexplicably lost his footing on the far touchline allowing West Brom to mount an attack.

At full-time Wenger seemed to suggest that Wilshere was just getting fouled a lot in the first-half - which was a bizarre assessment seeing as statistically Wilshere committed more fouls than anyone else in the game.

But then the headlines all changed, because of two moment of admitted courage and execution.

His goal, was fortunate in regards to a Jonas Olsson deflection - but he still met it true and pure, with conviction, on the half-volley so credit where credit is due, it was a solid effort at goal that got just rewards.

But for me his best moment of the game was that pass for Olivier Giroud, picking the ball up in his favoured central midfield position he scythed open the Baggies defence to find Olivier Giroud.

The second half was better, but still certainly not his best - and the first-half display was so woeful it is hard not to be critical, despite him scoring his first goal in god knows how long.

Arsenal fans got the point they deserved in the end, and Wilshere was responsible, but there must still be doubts over whether he needs time out from the first-team or if continuing with him is the right strategy for Wenger considering his current form.

As for England, well he will probably start, but only because of a brief period of improvement in the second half at The Hawthorns.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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