A merciless teaser of Arsenal fans obsessed with his latent promise, Jack Wilshere has once again got Gooners dreaming in spite of themselves thanks to a man of the match showing against Manchester City.
It was a bold display made all the more luminous by it’s stark contrast to his non-existent performance against the north London club’s previous top-five opponents.
The Gunners employed the same 4-1-4-1 formation against Everton, as they did against the champions, yet the results they produced from the midfielder couldn’t have been more different.
But just how did Wilshere’s game change over this tale of two 2-2’s?
Here are four things he did against City that he didn’t against the Toffees.
Had virtually double the touches of the ball he’d had at Goodison Park.
Eight Arsenal players saw more of the orb than young Jack, who caressed on a modest 48 occasions, in the 2-2 draw at on Merseyside.
Aaron Ramsey (87) led the way just as he did against the Citizens (99), but Wilshere was twice the player in terms of involvement, making 95 touches at the Emirates.
Attempted to dribble past three times as many opponents, with greater success.
Against Everton Wilshere had been reticent in attempting to take on the opposition with the ball at his feet, succeeding in besting his man on just one of the five occasions he tried to do so.
Back on home turf he chanced his arm no less than 15 times, leaving his adversary for dead on ten occasions.
Exchanged a game-high 28 passes with Aaron Ramsey.
During the anaemic Everton display Wilshere was a shoddy ally for the Welshman in the middle of the park, with Mesut Ozil the former Cardiff man’s go-to-guy for both circulating and receiving possession.
Fast forward to the City tussle and the former Luton Town youngster was a far more equal partner in the centre-of midfield, ranking as a conspirator of equal standing to Ramsey whom he both passed the ball to and received it from 14 times.
Got on the ball more in central attacking areas.
The diagram above (courtesy of 442 magazine’s Stats Zone) illustrates Wilshere’s passes in the final third against Everton, while the one below denotes his contribution against Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
In the latter it’s clear that Wilshere’s game placed a greater emphasis on working the ball within the width of the 18-yard box, which led to more incursions into its confines.