They keep telling us that Jack Wilshere is the next big thing, the complete midfielder. Maybe one cold evening in North London was what Arsenal were waiting for – Wilshere playing in his best position, scoring a late winner, and looking like the player that was promised so long ago.
It’s always about the finish. A 0-0 draw an going to extra time would have changed the way this match was perceived. Arsenal did have one of their better days this season, but as usual, couldn’t find the net. Olivier Giroud ended up with the assist with a nice setup to Wilshere’s finish, but it was another display from the French striker that leaves you wondering as to what on earth did Arsene Wenger see in him beyond the impressive numbers that stretched over one season?
The real benefit in the lineup was Kieran Gibbs, who is going through a lot of ups and downs this season, but looked more dangerous than ever in the FA Cup replay with his runs and angle cuts to the middle through the left flank, creating chance after chance while Swansea usually concentrated on Wilshere and Theo Walcott on the other side of the pitch, playing once again in a position he doesn’t like and the more he plays in looks more and more unfamiliar with.
Abou Diaby was also somewhat of a revelation as DM or something of the sort, if Arsenal actually play with that position. The Frenchman who is never healthy for a too long needs to be used as much as possible before he picks up his next injury. Diaby is 26, but you hardly remember too much of him playing football; mostly waiting for him to comeback from injuries. It freed up Wilshere to do so much damage and cause havoc near the box, showing us and Wenger what he is at his best.
Like Wenger said – a complete midfielder. He’s not the next coming and a new breed of English central midfielder, not yet. He needs more than 40-50 matches to convince anyone with that.
At the moment, he does look like the only Arsenal player with the right kind of ability and mental combination to pick it up from the depth of mediocrity and ineptitude it has fallen into this season, along with the decisions of his manager and the entire course this club is taking, separating itself from those wanting to win titles, and putting making money and “only” reaching the Champions League as its master goal for the end of the season.
This is an FA Cup win against a team that caused quite a lot of problems on their last visit to the Emirates, in a match that had the usual setup of an Arsenal disappointment – chance after chance gone off target or saved before the poach at the end. It didn’t happen this time; the gunners stayed on course in the only competition they have a real chance of winning and hopefully, it has some sort of effect on their Premier League push as well, currently six points away from the fourth place.