Jack Wilshere made his first competitive start for AFC Bournemouth following his season-long loan move, but was restricted as Manchester City scored early on and were able to dictate the pace of play for much of the match afterwards.
Eddie Howe previously hinted that Wilshere would get his opportunity to start in later weeks, after coming off the bench during their slender win over West Brom last time out.
He started against Pep Guardiola’s ever-improving City side and ultimately wasn’t given the chance to create much in the final third. The hosts were comfortable for large periods and enjoyed the majority of possession too, meaning Bournemouth were restricted to half-chances and forced to chase possession.
The major criticism of Wilshere’s performance was the fact that he was overrun in midfield too easily. Although he’s brave and doesn’t shy away from tackles, Kevin de Bruyne got past him too easily on occasion and Jack’s foul on Nolito outside the box was punished to devastating effect by the talented Belgian.
As the Cherries struggled to create many chances, Wilshere was consequently reduced to limited touches on the ball (15 in the first-half) and although his excellent passing range was on-show occasionally, he wasn’t given free roam to get forward where he’s at his most dangerous against opposition defenders.
He showed flashes of individual brilliance and made a key pass to find Josh King late in the first 45, but the second-half wasn’t any better as City looked threatening and took their chances with a clinical edge.
Brought off with 20 minutes left to play, the damage was already done and although he’ll be criticised for an underwhelming performance, it was a tough fixture to make your first start in, and Howe himself recognised that in the post-match interview.
“It was difficult for Jack today.
‘We want to see Jack in their half, in the final third, and we didn’t get there enough. To see his best qualities was impossible today.”
With that being said, he remained encouraged about Wilshere’s ever-improving fitness – and it seems only a matter of time before he completes his first full 90 minutes for just under two years.
“But the minutes [played] will do him the world of good, and once he understands how we play and what we want him to do, I think he’ll be an excellent player for us.”