It’s no secret that Arsenal have struggled against the bigger Premier League teams in recent years.
However, this season something seems to have shifted and Jack Wilshere reckons he knows why.
The midfielder, who’s currently on his way back to full fitness after a serious ankle injury, spoke to Arsenal player this week about how Arsenal’s tactics when approaching big games has changed. He explains, “This year we’ve started to analyse the teams a little bit more. We’re going there with a plan and as a team we know what we’re doing, which is important.”
The 23-year-old also has an inkling as to why we’ve found it so difficult to face the teams in the top four and not come away with all three points, despite, at times, playing better than the opposition. He said, “Look at the last few years and we’ve had a few injuries going there and people playing out of positions, but this year we’ve looked a real unit going to tough places and a real team.”
Wilshere also echoed Arsene Wenger’s theory that we should be just as strong off the ball as we are on it. There’s no doubt that, when it comes to passing and holding the ball, there are few teams better than the Gunners. However, movement, finding space, closing down opposition players and applying pressure are just as vital.
“We want to be difficult to beat when we haven’t got the ball because we know what we can do when we do have the ball,” He continued. “But when we don’t we want to be difficult to beat. We’re starting to do that.”
He describes playing Manchester City at home was a pivotal moment in our progression, saying, “That came at the start of the year. I remember in past years going to Manchester and we’ve dominated the game but we’ve never seemed to win. Even when we played Manchester City at home we went 1-0 down and thought, ‘we know we can win this’. We probably should’ve won it.”
He added finally, “There’s this confidence or belief that we can do it and that’s something different this season.”