When home-grown talent to likes of Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott signed a contract extension at the Emirates, Arséne Wenger had said that it was his dream to form a British Core and that the 6 men will bring back the glory days for Arsenal.
Everyone had high hopes for these players and they were expected to play a pivotal part in shaping up a formidable line-up after the departure of their last Trophy-winning counterparts. Statistics however show that barring Ramsey, Gibbs and Walcott, the others haven’t fared too well. We can see the impact the ‘British Core’ has had with regards to Passing, Crossing and Scoring Goals below;
Statistically 2012-13 has been one of the best seasons of Theo Walcott’s career and he has scored some game changing goals. However his accuracy in front of goal and while crossing does create a few doubts about his ability. He has been touted as the next big thing by the North Londoners for a very long time but this has again been a season of very few hits and a lot of misses for him. With 12 goals in the season and 3 games still to be played, he would want to impress Wenger with a better performance in front of goal and earn a few more starts from the centre.Aaron Ramsey can clearly be seen to have completed the most number of passes but he has failed to convert even a single attempt on goal. When played wide, he has not been able to send in crosses with much success at all. Despite this, the current season has been one of his best so far at the Emirates and he is expected to get better with every title campaign. In all fairness, any criticism of Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain has not justifiable as they have not had anywhere near as many minutes on the pitch as the likes of Ramsay and Gibbs. As the statistics show in fact, they have indeed had an impact on the game whenever they have played. With the departure of Bacary Sagna in the summer looking certain, Carl Jenkinson will have a chance to cement his place at right back and duly form a formidable partnership on the right hand side with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Gibbs however has more or less already cemented his place at Left Back and as can be seen from the above table, has improved immensely in terms of passing and crossing the ball. The accuracy of his crosses is joint highest among the 6 players at 18%. Defensively he has also had a very rewarding season, and like Jenkinson, he is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping up Arsenal’s defense in the season ahead. The only thing that the Gunners would like a little more of is to see him convert some crosses into goals.
Wilshere’s return was one of the most anticipated in recent times and Arsenal had pinned their hopes on the man who has been dubbed the next Fabregas. He has been nothing short of inspirational and played out of his skin whenever given a chance. His passing accuracy and crossing has definitely improved but he clearly doesn’t look 100% fit on the pitch. He has combined well with Arteta and Cazorla to form a formidable partnership in the midfield and if he continues working hard and starts scoring some goals, he will become one of the most important players for Arsenal in the years to come.
Based on my analysis, I can only say that the British Core hasn’t quite lived up to their potential, the expectations of the club and their fans this season. With long-term contracts to be fulfilled for all of them, barring Theo Walcott, whether they can bring back the glory days for Arsenal is something that only time will tell but if statistics are to believed, they need to raise the level of their game and start performing more consistently. So until next week, I am signing off with a lot of hope.
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