The recent season has been analysed and scrutinised by many fans, bloggers, journalists and even by the players and manager. It had it's ups and also it's downs and, after a more than disappointing ending, most of us are pleased to see the back of it.
However, over the next few weeks I aim to conduct some blogs that give a more positive message from Arsenal's 2010-2011 season, and look at some of the good things that happened over the course of the year. There is only one place to start in my view, and that is with the rise of Jack Andrew Garry Wilshere.
As I prepare to watch the forthcoming England versus Switzerland match, there is only one figure who is attracting me to the television. The player that persuaded a certain 'stubborn' Capello to change his formation, and a very special player indeed. Out of all the people that play football professionally, not many manage to play for their country, and equally not many get to play in the champions league. the Stevenage-born Wilshere has managed multiple, integral performances in both England's squad and Arsenal's champions league run, and he is still a teenager.
Not a lot was expected of young Jack in July as the start of the season drew nearer. He had impressed greatly whilst on loan with Bolton last season, where he made 14 appearances and contributed to 2 goals with one beautiful volley against West Ham, and an assist, but I, and many others were picturing the sight of him in another teams shirt where he could further his development.
But a good pre-season impressed Wenger, and with injuries to Cesc, Song and Denilson, the 18 year old was given his first Premier League start for Arsenal away to Liverpool. He only had a decent game in that match, but did enough to earn a start to Blackpool the week after where he managed an assist in the 6-0 win.
From then on the midfielder went from strength to strength and, bar a slight suspension after a red card, was ever present for Arsenal in the league. And when a young Englishman is doing well at a top club, we all know what will come next; the endless comparisons with former great players. Firstly, he was likened to his former youth team coach, and Arsenal legend Liam Brady. Then Capello came and compared him, surprisingly, to Makelele. Some people have called him the new Scholes and, after his wonderful performances against Barcelona, he has been likened to both Xavi and Iniesta and even Messi. That is as high a compliment he could ask for, as Jack showed his shyness and admiration for his heroes after the Barcelona game and had to get Fabregas to pick up the shirts of their shirts as a memento.
However, Jack is different from all of them, he is his own man. Tenacity in abundance, combined with his classy swagger around the pitch giving him the confidence of someone well past his 'teen' years. Jack has been the first player to come through the ranks under a complete Wenger influenced academy. This shows in his wonderful technical ability and eye for a pass, which has seen him manager 11 assists for Arsenal in all competitions.
Jack's progression has even arguably bettered former Arsenal teenage star and captain Cesc Fabregas and his partnership with the Spanish world cup winner combined with Alexandre Song masterminded the title challenge and victories against Chelsea and Barcelona. The solid midfield has left all competition behind, as former Brazilian youth team Captain Denilson, and Diaby who seen as an integral cog in France's midfield have seen less football then in any of the previous two preceding seasons.
His amazing work-rate contrasts the lackluster movement made by many around him in Arsenal shirts and he has set a benchmark for what others should have to contribute in the coveted Arsenal shirt. He has also paved a way for more youngsters to make the step up from the academy and reserves into the first team.
Whether he'll be winning trophies with either will have to be seen, but one thing is certain for the future. Jack Wilshere will go down as an Arsenal and England legend.