Jack Wilshere has tools to fill Daley Blind role for Arsenal

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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has definitely enjoyed a welcome upturn in form over the last fortnight and looks like getting back to his very best if he stays fit, but its hard not to wonder if he'd be more more useful to the Gunners in a deeper, controlling midfield role.

Wilshere played with real drive and determination against Manchester City last weekend, pushing Arsene Wenger's side back into the match just when it looked like another frustrating afternoon against a direct title challenger was to result in defeat.

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Time to make important tactical adjustment 

Wenger quite frankly has an embarrassment of riches in that advanced playmaker role that Wilshere covets though, so surely the England midfielder's technical qualities would be far more important to Arsenal if he occupied a more selfless, deeper position like Daley Blind.

Manchester United's new €20 million star is more important than media analysts have portrayed over the last two weeks, doing the dirty work that will allow Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and co. to thrive in the final third.

Blind is the shield Arsenal also desperately need

Blind is a water carrier of sorts but has the stamina and style on the ball to suit central midfield perfectly, with his primary duty to snuff out danger before it reaches a United defence that lacks experience and looks far from water-tight.

Now you may say using Wilshere in a more restricted holding role would be a waste of a magnificent talent that famously tore Barcelona to shreds two years ago, but Arsenal fans and indeed Wenger need to think of the bigger picture.

Just look at Tuesday's debacle against Borussia Dortmund as a case in point. As in countless other away games against top opposition in recent times Arsenal didn't have an effective shield to protect the back four and duly crumbled, even conceding from a throw-on taken in their attacking third in a sorry state of affairs for all concerned.

If a player with Wilshere's pace in short bursts was sat deeper when Dortmund's original clearance hurtled towards central midfield then that goal's never scored, it's that simple.

Time to paper over those cracks

Wenger quite ridiculously chose not to add a proven midfield enforcer or even take a gamble on someone like Morgan Schneiderlin or indeed Blind during the transfer window, so he must now make the most of what's available.

Arsenal simply have too many brilliant players who all want to play in that number 10 role and must make a change somewhere.

Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and most likely Wilshere all like to make forward bursts from an advanced central area, but at the very highest level that carefree attitude to plundering forward is always going to get exposed.

Wenger is so concerned with allowing the 22-year-old to flourish at the moment that there's not enough discipline to his game, a stance which will continue to affect Arsenal as a team if not remedied.

It's an argument that you could extend to more of Arsenal's attacking talent. Is Ozil being used effectively in a wide role? Have Arsenal found a way yet to get the most from Alexis Sanchez, who has the pace and power to trouble any defender on the planet with the right service?

Wilshere has the talent to adapt quickly

These are all nice problems for Wenger to have, but he needs to make concrete decisions about how Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil can all fit into the same midfield and be successful week-in, week-out.

You can safely say Van Gaal has none of the same concerns about Blind, a player who has been signed because he can be trusted to tick every box required from a traditional number six.

Stopping short of adding physical presence Arsenal need to take far better control of situations in which they can't immediately retrieve possession.

In fairness against the smaller Premier League teams last season the Gunners largely managed to achieve that goal, but it's quite clear that with fixtures against the likes of Chelsea looming large there needs to be a drastic rethink.

As Luke Moore pointed out in this week's Football Ramble podcast Wenger could do worse than to get his £80,000-a-week star to sit deeper and pull the strings rather than attempting bursts between the lines to commit defenders in advanced areas.

Wenger should seriously watch United's 4-0 romp over Queens Park Rangers again.

Yes the Hoops were nothing short of pathetic in terms of offering resistance to United's star-studded attack, but Blind was superb and showed an appreciation of spacial awareness that both Arsenal and England would love to get from Wilshere moving forward.

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Jack Wilshere
Manchester United
Premier League

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