Jack Wilshere Injury: Players Who Must Step Up in Arsenal Star's Absence

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere takes a shot at goal during their English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates stadium in London, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

The news of Jack Wilshere's injury absence is a worrying twist for both Arsenal and England supporters alike, with the FA confirming through its official website that a hairline fracture in the midfielder's foot will keep him sidelined for six weeks.

However, Gunners fans will undoubtedly miss the player's influence more over that period, especially when one considers the club are enduring their most jam-packed section of the campaign.

Arsene Wenger now has to look to other talents within his squad in order to steer the North Londoners through what's just become an even more daunting patch of fixtures, some of whom are discussed below.


Mathieu Flamini

Mathieu Flamini hasn't started a Premier League fixture since late January, but the Frenchman seems the most likely candidate to now see a boost in playing time as a result of the void left by Wilshere's injury.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18:  Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal holds off Clint Dempsey of Fulham during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Kim Kallstrom isn't yet back to full fitness, and Aaron Ramsey is yet to come upon a clean bill of health, leaving Flamini to fill in alongside Mikel Arteta as Arsenal's midfield anchor.

Admittedly, Flamini won't provide the same forward-thinking impetus as his younger Arsenal colleague, with Squawka showing that the veteran has made just six chances in 19 league outings.

That being said, Wenger can rely upon his midfielder, now in his second spell at the North London outfit, to provide the same, if not more, steel in the engine room, which will be sorely needed considering Everton, Bayern Munich and Tottenham are the next three sides on their schedule.


Mesut Ozil

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal warms up as a substitute  during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Get
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Though far from a like-for-like replacement for Wilshere, Mesut Ozil will find more pressure on his shoulders now than has ever been the case so far in his Arsenal tenure.

The German international's creative assets are myriad, but with injuries badly affecting the middle of the pitch, all those around the club's core will be expected to do their bit in easing the burden.

As Football Radar's Thomas Holland points out, Ozil's defensive work rate isn't what he's most renowned for:

Not that Wenger will be looking to drop his £42 million man right in the mixing pot, but Ozil can expect to have to drop back at times and work harder to gain possession, with the same service unlikely to come in his direction without Wilshere.


Mikel Arteta

The aforementioned Arteta stands as the most obvious teammate in need of an ascension in the weeks to come, standing as Arsenal's most consistent central midfielder this term with 21 Premier League appearances, per Transfermarkt.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Mikel Arteta of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The 31-year-old has gravitated more toward an anchoring role in recent seasons, but should Flamini be the man nestled in as a midfield partner in coming matches, Arteta will need to dust off his more offensively oriented boots once more.

Arteta's experience and leadership have been thriving aspects of his contribution so far this term, and with Wilshere out of the picture, the Spaniard's rounded provisions in breaking up play and distribution will need to be at their optimum in order to counter the absence.