Ahead of Arsenal’s game against Bournemouth this weekend, we spoke with Cherry Chimes blogger, Peter Bell, to get the lowdown on how Jack Wilshere has really been doing.
I had my doubts when Jack Wilshere signed for AFC Bournemouth on loan like many of our fans.
He hadn’t played 90 minutes in two years and was prone to getting injured – so it was a brave decision by the Cherries to take him on loan, no matter how talented a player we all know he is.
The pleasing thing about Jack, though, is that he comes across as being an honest guy and has truly worked his socks off to not only fit in, but to try and really achieve something with AFC Bournemouth. It’s Jack that is always saying, “we can do something special here.”
His time at AFC Bournemouth may well be just for this season yet he has made his mark already. All the players are finding things they can add to their game by seeing his touch and vision on the ball, in training as well as in matches.
It has taken a while for Jack to find the fitness and link with the passages of play that the Cherries are known for, but it is a fit that is getting better every time he takes to the pitch. Most of that is because he needed time to get fit and to get those initial 90-minute games under his belt.
He has been playing in an advanced midfield role and has been unlucky not to score. He has hit the post a couple of times with a superb run and low shot against Watford and a beautifully measured, curled, effort that glanced the woodwork against Stoke City. So the away fans at the club have probably seen the best of Jack so far.
I’m not surprised at that as playing at Dean Court is going to be more pressurised and he perhaps has a bit more freedom in the away games.
His short passing game is very much in vogue at the Cherries and reading Adam Bates article on SkySports about Jack’s performances, he pointed out that Jack has made the most chances from open play in a Bournemouth shirt of any of the team’s players.
His passing accuracy is also high at 77 per cent, but it is those killer passes that he is in the team for. He is a player that is constantly looking to pick a pass to unlock defences and he does it every game. Against Sunderland at home he flicked a ball over the defence to Josh King who hit a great strike, but Josh could not beat Jordan Pickford; and against Stoke City he sent the early ball through for the Callum Wilson and the penalty that never was for Roger East.
The easy question to answer is are AFC Bournemouth a better team with or without Jack Wilshere? Certainly, they are better with him. But there are those that will have been side-lined by him coming to the south coast – most noticeably Lewis Grabban – and that will have pleased many fans, while Josh King has often been moved to the wings to accommodate Jack.
The problem that comes with Jack is all the media hype around him and the weight of expectation on him. It probably doesn’t hep the other players at the club either.
AFC Bournemouth have coped well with that though and the England media bandwagon that follows Jack around, but the real dilemma will be in finding a replacement for him next summer. Jack may be helping to take AFC Bournemouth to another level, but it could be very short lived.
The side can’t be over reliant on Jack and that is why games like the one against Arsenal will be a good measure of what progress the team as a whole is making this season.
Jack wilshere – Bournemouth. Forward passes, ball carrier, great under pressure and creating chances = CM. RT's appreciated pic.twitter.com/ql60UjPFhM
— 🤦♂️ (@6O945) November 24, 2016