Thursday, 13 April 2017

Are Arter and Wilshere the best AFCB centre-pairing?

There have only been three matches where Jack Wilshere and Harry Arter have started games for the club in midfield. They started in both Southampton matches and in the Chelsea home match and AFCB have only taken one point from those three games at St Marys. The experiment or perhaps necessity for AFCB to play with Arter and Wilshere in the centre of midfield has somewhat been forced on Eddie Howe with Surman and Gosling being injured, but the option of Lewis Cook seems no nearer fruition.

HarryArter will have enjoyed playing with Jack Wilshere this season
and learning things to him improve his own game from playing alongside the England midfielder.
The need to play two up front to give Chelsea some problems was brave of AFCB but it did mean that Chelsea had an extra player in midfield when their wing-backs pushed up. It ensured that the white shirts had a lot of possession, but if Lewis Cook had been played along with Arter and Wilshere their may have been less service for King if AFCB's lead scorer would have had to play on his own up front.

The balance of the side is so important in the Premier League. You need to be able to defend well against the best sides and yet have something up front to be able to win the game. With Wilshere and Arter, Howe has a ball winner and a pass picker, but arguably they don't yet bring the best out of each other.

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It will be intriguing to see what Eddie does against Spurs as AFCB will be playing away and we could possibly see the return of Dan Gosling to fitness. Whether fans are more pleased to see Jack Wilshere or Dan Gosling starting against Spurs is harder to call than you might think at first. Gosling has been great at keeping possession and the errant passes have probably increased since he came out of the side.

It underlines how often Surman and Arter are the preferred selection and that AFCB don't really play that often without those two players standing next to each other. They are clearly the best paring as far as Howe is concerned. But while the evidence of a lack of many points from Arter and Wilshere's starts may point towards them needing more games, we need to recognise that the games they have played in together have been very difficult ones in Southampton, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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