On 20 September, 2012, Arsenal fans around the world heard some great news. Jack Wilshere, out 14 months with an injury, had made his return for the Arsenal under-21 match against West Brom reserves.
The 20-year old midfielder is expected to play a few more matches with the Under-21s and the reserves and probably return to first-team football in approximately a month, barring any setbacks.
With the new Arsenal no. 10 coming back, it seems as if the midfield will be set. However, it is still a little tough to envision what the Englishman's role will be.
There are two main aspects to look at when examining where Wilshere will play when he returns: Arsenal's formation and the player's style.
Currently, Arsene Wenger's men have been employing a 4-2-3-1 formation.
For most the season, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby paired together in the holding midfield role. Arteta stayed at the back and orchestrated the attack with his precise passing, whereas Diaby was the ball-winning midfielder with more of a license to move forward.
Santi Cazorla, Wenger's brilliant new signing, played in attacking midfield role, with preferably Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski on the wings.
With Diaby having recently suffered a thigh injury, and probably out for about three weeks, Aaron Ramsey has become a regular member of Arsenal's XI, although he tends to attack more than the injured Frenchman.
Wilshere has played a multitude of positions in his time in North London, and it will be interesting where the current Gunners' staff thinks he fits best.
He is most comfortable as a box-to-box midfielder or as a CAM. He is more creative than the other defensive midfielder's so he doesn't really fit that mold, even if he can be efficient tracking back and defending.
The 20-year old tends to, like Arteta, hold more with passing than with tackling, making him a nice fit for the new mold of defensive midfielder that has recently been taking the world of football by storm.
Wilshere can create for himself and for others. He can play both attack and defense fairly well, and he won't be rushed into too many minutes too fast, given that he's been out over a year.
Given his talents and Arsenal's current situation it seems as if there is a great spot for "Baby Jack" in the Gunners' midfield.
Arsenal's formation would fall under a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-2-3, but it truth it would be different.
They would place one midfielder as the defensive, or holding, midfielder, with another in front playing as a box-to-box player, both making tackles and directing attacks, finally there would be a third player who would be the creative, attacking man, the hub of the attack.
Mikel Arteta would no longer have the luxury of partnering with the imposing Diaby, but the Spaniard is more than capable of handling the back of the midfield on his own.
On top of that, Wilshere, who would be able to utilize his creativity as well as helping Arteta, playing the box-to-box role.
Of course, Cazorla, who has formed a dynamic partnership with Arteta, would play directly behind the wingers and strikers Gervinho and Olivier Giroud. He has been at the center for plenty of Arsenal's goals in the 2012-13 campaign..
This would be the best way for Wenger to play Wilshere to his full potential as well as helping out his team. This trio of Gunners midfielders has a big chance to leave a huge footprint on the Premier League, as they complement each other beautifully.
They will be the key for Arsenal's success this season.
Wilshere's return will provide great depth in the midfield, as behind the probable three starters will rest Diaby, Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky (when he returns), and Francis Coquelin.
This seems like a great mix for Arsenal, and Gooners should impatiently be awaiting their no. 10s return.
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