16 May 2013

With Arteta likely out, why not play Rosicky?

As the club assesses the strained calf that Arteta suffered in Tuesday's defeat of Wigan, we're left wondering who might be called on to deputize. Wilshere's name has come up, and as exciting as it might be for us to see him return to action, I still insist that the long-term risk to his health is larger than the short-term benefit to playing him, especially when we have other options. Arsène has addressed the situation thusly:
For the weekend, we have uncertainty over Mikel Arteta, who had to come off just before the end of the Wigan game with a calf-strain. His chances of being available are minimal. I have to be realistic and prepare for another solution. [Wilshere] is an option, yes. We will monitor him until Sunday, and I will make a decision very late over what I will do.
Of course, we won't get a one-for-one replacement for Arteta's consistency, pass-accuracy, and mentality. I can't think of another player on the squad who possesses a similar skill-set, other than Ramsey. Absent an effective cloning-machine, then, we do have to consider other options.

I don't like throwing Wilshere back on. In fact, I'd recommend he go and have the planned ankle surgery immediately so that there's no temptation to play him. He needs to have a pin removed from a previous surgery, and I'd rather he have a nice, long summer to recuperate. Given his style of play and how often he gets fouled, he's just as likely to re-injure the ankle against Newcastle, doing more damage and necessitating another surgery and longer lay-off, possibly stretching into next season. He's 21. I want him to have a nice, long career, un-plagued by recurring and nagging injuries of the kind that have haunted Abou Diaby and, to a lesser extent, Tomáš Rosický. Speaking of Rosický, why not give him the job? He's every bit as feisty as Wilshere, and it's not like Wilshere is quantum leaps better than he is for the defensive midfield role. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I like it.

A quick look at their stats at whoscored.com show enough similarities and parallels to lend the suggestion greater weight. Rosický gets a few more interceptions per game than Wilshere, 1.3 to 1; Wilshere makes a few more tackles per game, 1.4 to 1.1. Passing accuracy: Wilshere 86.3%, Rosický 86.9%. Everything is essentially a wash. Rosický's smaller sample-size means that we should take his stats with a grain of salt, but his numbers still compare very well with Wilshere's, enough so that it would work out just fine. While it's true that Wilshere has featured more often as a defensive-midfielder than has Rosický, Rosický is a more-disciplined player with enough wisdom and experience that he would understand the role he's asked to play. We can trust him to partner with Ramsey and hold down the midfield.

As much as we need these three points, we also need Wilshere hale and healthy for the next decade or so. I'm having too many nightmares of his original injury. It was just one month ago today that Arsène admitted to having rushed the lad back too soon. Why make the same mistake twice in one season?