Arsenal - March Player of the Month
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March Player of the Month

Whereas finding a Player of the Month for January and February was a slightly onerous task with a plethora of contenders to sort through, so a miserable March has seen few candidates compete for the award. This is largely due to our old foe injury, with the likes of Walcott, Fabregas, Song, Djourou and Szczesny all succumbing to the lure of the treatment table. Squad players such as Denilson have endured some rotten form whilst Abou Diaby continues to fail to stake a claim because he cannot string three games together. For that reason, it is probably about time we parted ways in the summer. A month which has seen us win only one game (at home to League One opposition) and exit two competitions is hardly likely to be bursting with a repertoire of spellbinding individual performances.

However, as Morrissey once crooned, some lights never go out. If you look up the word "consistency" in the dictionary, I`m pretty sure that by now you should be presented with the dreadlocked profile of Bacary Sagna, who would be competing for headroom in the Player of the Season award if he were performing in a more fashionable position. Laurent Koscielny has quietly gone about his business after attracting unwelcome attention for his part in the goal that won the Carling Cup Final for Birmingham (incidentally, I make that Szczesny`s fault more than Koscielny`s, but these are mere semantics). Lack of mental strength is a common and rather tired accusation thrown at this squad, but Koscielny has shown an abundance of it. Gael Clichy too has hushed those that were quietly murmuring for Gibbs` inclusion at his expense earlier in the season.

However, March`s Player of the Month steps up to the podium for the second time this season. In a month of chaos and confusion, one consistently positive theme has been the never say die attitude of the side`s youngest charge. Jack Wilshere is metronomic, he carries on where others falter. Wilshere has become a bona fide first team starter in under six months, remoulding himself into a box to box midfielder, capable of both the arts of defence and attack. As with the embryonic development of Cesc Fabregas, you`ve the impression that Jack only really need add goals to his game to start blossoming into the complete midfielder. This month, Wilshere has stood toe to toe with the Xavi and Iniesta in the Nou Camp, in my opinion, was the best player on the pitch at Old Trafford bar van der Sar and has spent most of the month without the class of Fabregas alongside him.

Though Fabregas` absence always hurts the team in a way that is not expounded upon enough, it will have been invaluable for Wilshere`s education. In his captain`s absence, Wilshere has been tasked with being the main man at the head of the midfield triangle. Arsenal`s passing can sometimes become laboured and slow without Fabregas, but Wilshere`s cultured left foot is capable of opening the pitch out. At the Hawthorns on Saturday, I lost count of the amount of times he opened his body out and sand wedged the ball out to Arshavin on the left. He recycles the ball so well and so accurately, his pass completion stats are freakish. This is also because Wilshere has a maturity a lot of young players lack, he doesn`t try to do too much with the ball unnecessarily. The impudence of youth can often equate to players trying too hard to hurry the game and split a defence at every single available opportunity. Wilshere has the intelligence to realise that sometimes keeping the ball moving quickly over a few yards can be just as beguiling for opponents if done accurately and constantly.

Wilshere`s game has matured very quickly. Earlier in the season, though the raw talent was evident instantaneously, there were small errors you would expect from a teenager. Often he was caught in possession requiring too much time on the ball. His tackling was, at times, frankly atrocious. But good players have talent, great players constantly harness and adapt their game. Since his red card for an x rated lunge on Nikola Zigic back in October, I can scarcely recall a Wilshere tackle that has been close to reckless or even mistimed. To emphasise the point, Wilshere has four yellow cards accrued in all competitions this season. Whilst it is tantamount to the English disease to value perspiration over inspiration, one still must not ignore the importance of endeavour. Wilshere keeps going, even when all looks lost. He looks like he is growing into a perfect blend of bite and ballet. Likewise, I am keen to avoid a further national disease of hyperbole, but should he continue to accelerate his progression at the same rate, talk of him being a future Arsenal captain may not be too wide of the mark. Everybody likes to see a local boy rise through the ranks and such players are usually treated with kid gloves by supporters, but for now, Wilshere is earning our avuncular affection.LD.

August- Tomas Rosicky
September- Jack Wilshere
October- Samir Nasri
November- Marouane Chamakh
December- Samir Nasri
January- Cesc Fabregas
February- Robin van Persie

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 21 2011

Time: 8:18PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
If he remains uninjured for the remaining 9 games, Arsenal Player of the season is his. Nobody would've thought that the way Nasri was playing a few months ago. Nasri has dropped further and further back on the pitch and that has resulted in him getting less goals. I think at one stage at the Hawthorns he was playing defensive mid.
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21/03/2011 20:55:00

Fact is, Nasri suffers more than most when Cesc isn't there. The biggest part of Nasri's improvement has been his play in the 18 yard box. When Cesc ain't there, it's down to Nasri to provide, but he needs Cesc to provide him the ammo. As do most of our players really.
Little Dutch
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21/03/2011 21:09:00

His hunger and desire stands out above the rest of your squad. One of the few players in your side who truly understands what it means to the club and its fans for the club to succeed. Always working hard, always chasing the ball down, confident in his ability and despite being relatively inexperienced I feel, from a neutral perspective, he should be your captain. He's an example on why you should have a few more Englishmen in your side, no offense. English players are definately overrated and not always there ability wise but you can't knock their workrate, hunger and desire. I'm not implying some of your players aren't committed to the cause, but rather some don't show it and some seem to see it as just another job.
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21/03/2011 21:11:00

His passing stats are very good, almost in Rosicky territory. Doesn't have quite the same attempts created rate but the significance is in their relative career stages ...and he wins slightly more tackles. Wilshere is one the seasons triumphs so far.
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21/03/2011 21:18:00

Can't speak rationally about Jack. Won't try. The kind of player who makes perfectly rational, level headed middle aged women a bit nuts. Even the perfectly objective, sane Amy Lawrence admitted to this in an arseblog podcast. Let's just say, to us, he's perfect - run-ins with the police and all.
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21/03/2011 21:22:00

Agreed jaelle. As I approach middle aged (I won't reach 70 ... trust me) I'm completely the same. I absolutely love watching this kid, I love listening to his interviews ... the little sod even got me into Twitter. He is one of the very few geniune Englishmen. Not the sterotypical Stella drinking, bullterrier walking muppets who sing about two world wars and one world cup and all that crap, he really does love club and country with equal measure, and I can't resent him for it. Cesc Fabregas gives his all in every game he plays .... I'm sure Wilshere gives his all, then takes the bits other players can't be arsed giving and gives that aswell. He is the player of the season, the young player of the season, future Arsenal captain, future England captain. I don't mind getting caught up in the hype because f*** all I say matters anyway, so I'm going to enjoy watching this youngman become one of the best players in the world.
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21/03/2011 21:47:00

The future of English football, simples!
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21/03/2011 22:18:00

Unbelievable talent. And he will only get better. He could really be one of the very best. Anyone remember the opening day at Anfield? In all honesty, Jack looked way out of his depth but his improvement since has been astronomical; giving Xavi and Iniesta the runaround at the Emirates obviously being a particular highlight. My only worry for the boy is burnout and injuries in 5 years or so. The likes of Raul and Owen became dogged with niggles in their mid-to-late twenties because of becoming so influential at such a young age, and Ferdinand, Rooney and Fabregas seem to be suffering with the same problem as well. But with his ability, maturity and determination, the sky is indeed the limit. You'll do well to find a gooner who doesn't absolutely love the boy.
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21/03/2011 23:10:00

captain to be ... one day. it was hurting to see him cry at the carling cup final. but wait, i thought wenger is all against them young english players lol
Gooner SA
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22/03/2011 04:27:00

---Abou Diaby continues to fail to stake a claim because he cannot string three games together. For that reason, it is probably about time we parted ways in the summer--- Well said that man! Jack Wilshere, let's hope that muppett Stuart Pearce doesn't call him up the the U21 world championship this summer as that will be 2 straight years of football for a player so young and who is already a fixture uin the full national side. Anyone else think we should tell the U21's to go and "do one" when they inevitably come calling?
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22/03/2011 11:40:00

Not to belittle the lad or anything, but he has kind of won this by default as pretty much everyone who has played these last few weeks has underperformed. To his credit Jack wins it because when he isn't having the greatest of games he still works his nuts off to try and help those that ARE having a good game. Diaby/Denilson/Arshavin take note.
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22/03/2011 11:45:00

This has been Jack's breakthrough season and he has performed really well, deserves this award for the 2nd month. However, a word of caution. There is a possbility of a dip in form, coz he's so young. Let's be alive to that possbility and not be so harsh on him at that time. Let's keep the expectations real. Enjoy his performances, and dont build him up as the next captain of the club and all that. There's a long way yet to go for that.
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22/03/2011 12:41:00

How does Aaron Ramsey feel about the recent success of Jack Wilshere? Previously it was Ramsey turning in great performances and showing consistancy beyond his years. Then the true act of a dispicable **** almost ended a stellar career before it started and he found himself on the sidelines, injured for a year. Jack Wilshere claimed Aaron's place in the squad and has done exactly what Ramsey was threatening to do in his breakthorugh year. He cannot help, by nature, but be a little jealous/frustrated, who wouldn't?
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22/03/2011 12:46:00

he has the highest work rate since parlour or flamini. this is the type of player we need, biting the bullet when the chips are down
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22/03/2011 13:18:00

If nothing else, the emergence of Jack Wilshere is what this season will be remembered for. When he and Cesc and to an extent Song were together, we seemed to have the perfect midfield. I wondered why Wenger played him in a less advanced role, but now I can see how it's benefited him and the team. Simply made for top-level football. Alas, if Cesc's leaving wasn't inevitable, how amazing it woud be to see these to over th next 4-5 years.
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22/03/2011 16:22:00

Cesc, Jack & Song is almsot a perfect midfield. I'm pretty sure we didn't lose a game when we had those 3 in midfield with RVP, Theo and Nasri up front. These 6 players make us the best team in the league with a full starting XI ...out of these 6 players i think Wilshere is the only one (touch wood) who hasn't been injured fron decent periods of time this season.
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23/03/2011 05:55:00

"Gael Clichy too has hushed those that were quietly murmuring for Gibbs` inclusion at his expense earlier in the season"... Actually I think Gibbs himself has hushed those murmurs. Still like the kid, but he's still a way off. At the moment he's like Eboue, a great attacking fullback but absolutely stinks defensively. On Clichy though, he seems to have suddenly acquired an offensive side to his game that we haven't seen before, which I guess is a good thing.
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23/03/2011 11:58:00

My new fav. player. ******** legend in the making.
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24/03/2011 01:24:00

Loving watching your season crumble (:
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24/03/2011 03:19:00

"On Clichy though, he seems to have suddenly acquired an offensive side to his game that we haven't seen before" krismon1 - Just as his contract comes to renewal time!!!
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24/03/2011 11:19:00

Ouch! LG. I'll rather think he chose to improve the observed shortcomings of his game.
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24/03/2011 13:56:00

Please sign the petiton if you are real football fan
west london blue
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24/03/2011 15:42:00

Not really fair to suggest someone isn't a true fan if they don't agree with bringing standing back to top flight grounds.
Little Dutch
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24/03/2011 16:39:00

It should be Sergio Busquets. He scored at Camp Nou and thats how you guys got the goal. remember??
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24/03/2011 19:28:00

Felt great tonking the Chavs at the grove. Wish you a happy quest for a new manager come June. Again.
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25/03/2011 12:47:00


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