It only took one moment of magic for Arsenal to seal victory against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday evening as they maintained their 100% start to their Europa League campaign.
Indeed, one high-quality moment was all that the game got, with the two sides playing out a drab affair that rarely threatened to explode into life. Ultimately, it was the type of game that will have suited Arsene Wenger, with the manager probably happy that his side had scored a goal and kept a clean-sheet following their awful loss to Watford.
The game’s moment of magic came from Olivier Giroud, whose overhead kick looped into the top corner to give Arsenal a much-needed win. While the goal will rightly cover the back pages tomorrow, with the strike the latest in a catalogue of fine efforts by Giroud, it was in the build-up play that one player sparkled.
Jack Wilshere has for so long been lauded as Arsenal’s next big player, but injury has curtailed his playing time and progression. However, he was brought back into the team to face Red Star Belgrade and he immediately displayed to Arsenal what they have been missing.
Throughout the game he was the man to pick up the ball and drive at the opposition or play an intelligent pass. Indeed, Wilshere was the man that created the goal. He picked the ball up in the opposition’s half before beating three players, sliding a reverse pass to Theo Walcott who returned the favour before Wilshere looped a ball back to Walcott.
His abilities on the ball were not the only thing on show though. He was very sound defensively as he tracked back throughout the game, while he was not one to shy away from a tackle in the middle. With Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka struggling this season, Wilshere’s return to form and fitness could be the best news Wenger gets all season.