Jack Wilshere's performance off the bench at Hull was a bit of a surprise wasn't it? He's been out for an awful long time now so naturally you expect the long road ahead to match sharpness but I've found myself saying this a lot in recent times and then subsequently being proven wrong.
Is it something we are doing in training? Are players afforded more time coming back into the first team squad thus allowing more time to get closer to match fitness? Whatever the reason, it can only be a good thing.
Arsene Wenger spoke about the fitness of Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck in the pre match press conference yesterday and it appears that both players are doubtful for Monday night's match against Swansea. It could well be the open door Wilshere would have been hoping for, assuming of course that Theo Walcott doesn't run through it first. Although I'm not sure Arsène will allow that to happen.
A right sided attacking role is a very intriguing one for Jack I believe. On paper it could well be a position in this Arsenal team well suited to him for a number of reasons. Firstly as I've mentioned before he doesn't have to rely quite as much on his positional discipline. Something that has hindered us in the past when Wilshere has been in the middle of the pitch. Also Wilshere likes to aggressively close down players which is now very much required from our wide attacking players.
Mesut Özil tends to also look for spaces on the right which would allow Wilshere to move inside, an interchange that could well suit both players. Lastly, we know that Jack is very left footed and will look to drive inside his man/men, he is unlikely to run outside his opposing full back so this should allow plenty of space for Hector Bellerin to operate in.
As excited as I sound about a possible start for Wilshere, the feelings towards him over the last 12 months or so have been very different by quite a few Gooners it seems.
His constant injury problems have hampered his progression as a player and for the first time Wilshere is not being held up as the golden child anymore. So much so that in some cases it's gone the other way. More and more Gooners are behind the idea of selling Wilshere in the summer and bringing in another player in his place. He holds onto the ball for too long, he is reckless and he is tactically poor are all criticisms leveled at Jack from many Arsenal fans. These are the reasons often cited as to why we should cash in on him. I understand some of the arguments, the same way I understood some of those who said Ramsey held onto the ball for too long, he attempted too many flicks, he was wasteful in front of goal and so on. You see where I'm going with this don't you?
Deficiencies in young players are not set in stone, hell it can be the same for older players also. Nacho Monreal was prime for the scrap heap according to some last season and look what a run in the team along with a dash of confidence has done for him. Argubly he is now producing the best and most consistent football at left back since Ashley Cole. If you were a Monreal doubter and are now a Wilshere doubter then why can't Wilshere make huge leaps forward with a run of football under his belt?
The other difference to take into consideration is that the team around Wilshere is in very different shape to the team at the start of the season. Cohesion and team balance was not correct at the beginning and yes you could argue that Wilshere had contributed to that but I'd argue that so had Alexis Sanchez even though he provided us with match winning/saving performances. But it was no good Alexis being a star player when the rest of the attack was not functioning. The attack as a collective is functioning now rather than individuals and we are far better for it. I wonder if this team stability will be a big help for Jack.
Having said all of the above Wilshere has a way to go before he dislodges someone like Aaron Ramsey who has been terrific in whichever position he plays. Ramsey also has goals in his game, something that Wilshere simply does not have at present.
All Wilshere needs to do is to perform as he did during that cameo in Yorkshire on Monday night and more importantly than anything else, stay fit. If he does that then I'm sure he will prove a lot of people wrong.
Compilation by iGooner
Before I go, I would like to quickly point you in the direction of the good folk at CampoRetro. They are giving away a classic 1994 Arsenal shirt and all you have to do is answer the following question to enter into the hat.
Question: Which invincible had a short stint at Aston Villa towards the end of his excellent career?
To enter just send a message via the contact page with your answer, all we require you to do is enter 'AVCAMPO' into the subject. Alternatively you can send a Tweet with the hashtag #AVCAMPO and the correct answer.
Best of luck with that, competition closes on Sunday 17th May, where a winner will be picked out at random.
Anyhoo, weekend stuff to do so enjoy yours.
'til the next time