While there’s little doubt that Theo Walcott is the Arsenal Fantasy midfielder of choice these days, Jack Wilshere’s Fantasy potential has also taken a turn for the better in recent weeks. Analysing the statistics over the last four Gameweeks, it’s perhaps something of a surprise to see the Gunners midfielder as the most creative midfielder on show – Wilshere sits top of our ICT Creativity rankings and has provided more goalscoring opportunities than any other player in the Premier League across that quartet of fixtures:
Wilshere Average Positions Comparison
The maps clearly highlight a change in position by Wilshere. He previously operated in more withdrawn areas (above left) upon his comeback from injury in Gameweek 9 but is now finding himself closer to goal when on the ball (above right) and has even replaced Santi Cazorla in “the hole” over the past few games.
|Mins||Tchs Final 3rd||Pass Rcvd Final 3rd||Succ Pass Final 3rd||Chances Created||Mins/Chance Created||Tchs Pen Box||Shots|
|Wilshere Previous Average||86.3||23.9||13||14.2||1.6||52.7||1.8||0.4|
|Wilshere Last Four||87.8||41||21.2||22||3.6||24.4||2.0||0.6|
Looking at the stats, the difference is obvious. Although Wilshere’s game time is more or less identical, he has made 41 touches per game over the last four in comparison to 23.9 beforehand. The youngster has also seen a significant rise in both passes received in the final third (21.2 to 13) and successful passes made in the final third (22 to 14.2), highlighting his ability to influence matches from further up the pitch.
Although Wilshere’s stats in terms of touches in the box and shots per game have almost stayed the same, his creativity has leapt considerably – a previous average of 1.6 chances created per match has risen to 3.6, which equates to one key pass every 24.4 minutes in comparison to a previous average of 52.7 minutes.
Top 5 Midfielders Mins/Chance Created Gameweek 23-26
|Mins||Min/ Chances Created||Chances Created||Through Balls||Assists||Shots|
|Adel Taarabt||367||24.5||15||4||1||15||Juan Mata||286||28.6||10||1||1||5||David Silva||330||30.0||11||2||0||9||Stewart Downing||362||30.2||12||0||1||10|
Analysing the top five midfielders in terms of minutes per chance created over the last four Gameweeks, Wilshere’s eye for a killer pass is obvious. He has created chances at a pace quicker (24.4 minutes) to that of playmakers such as Adel Taarabt (24.5), Juan Mata (28.6) and David Silva (30.0), while he has supplied 10 through balls for the likes of Walcott and Olivier Giroud, though has returned just a couple of assists over the period.
It’s when it comes to goal threat, though, that he’s let down in comparison to others. Taarabt, for example, has had five times as many shots (15 to three), while Silva has managed nine attempts despite playing over 100 minutes less. Indeed, for Arsenal, Walcott has had 22 attempts on goal over the same period, while Cazorla has produced 18 shots in addition to creating 11 chances – while Wilshere’s move further forward has afforded the Gunners’ plenty creativity, his lack of goal threat continues to keep him off Fantasy radars, then.
Expected to recover from a leg knock in time for next Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern, if Wilshere can develop a killer touch in front of goal, his mid-price appeal could yet see him find a way into our sides as a differential contender over the last few months of the season. While next season, should his role remain an attacking one, he could be one to break out of the mid-price and announce himself as a true Fantasy asset.
*The Technical Area is put together using the statistics and maps available in our members area. For access to such data and tools on every player, team and match of the 2012/13 season, and for exclusive members articles like this, click here for details.