Arsenal responded admirably from being a goal down at Upton Park against West Ham United and clinched the top spot in the Premier League table after round-18 as Luis Suarez‘s Liverpool was defeated by Manchester City at the Etihad. But the comeback victory was soured to some degree by the injury suffered by the Gunners’ midfielder Aaron Ramsey who is also the leading goal scorer for the club. Ramsey hurt his hamstring after the one hour mark and had to be replaced immediately by winger Lukas Podolski who made a spectacular comeback from injury with a crisp finish from the edge of the box as he played his first game in four months.
Jack Wilshere, suspended for two games for a rude gesture to City’s fans during the Gunners’ 6-3 loss last week, returns to the team for the clash against high-flying Newcastle United at St. James’ Park as the hectic League holiday schedule continues. Wilshere could be slotted right into the role vacated by Ramsey and would be raring to get back on the field to fire his team forward into the New Year. The young midfielder is known for his rough playing style and will not back down if things get physical. Wilshere has also scored some magnificent goals this season but has lacked the consistency that Ramsey has displayed.
Ramsey’s injury presents Wilshere with the perfect opportunity to establish himself on the score-sheet and negate the impact of the Welshman’s absence. The short periods of rest between games is bound to affect Arsene Wenger‘s squad as he plans to rest players like Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud who having logged significant playing time and are in danger of burning out. Wilshere’s form could prove to be the silver lining for the team if he starts finding the net more often.
The clash against Newcastle holds a lot of significance for Wenger’s men as they would be looking to sustain the winning momentum and end the year on top of the table. The Magpies are coming off a 5-1 demolition of Stoke City who were reduced to nine men after opening the scoring and have been in fine form this season.