Arsenal's 4-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night may well go down in the club's history as the night Jack Wilshere came of age. In the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas through injury, the 18-year-old was handed a more central role and performed with such energy and guile the Spaniard's absence was scarcely noticeable.
Tomas Rosicky, who played alongside Wilshere in midfield, was full of praise. "The thing that impresses me most about him is that when he has got the ball he is very calm," Rosicky said, "and that's something the young guys don't always have. Sometimes younger players panic a bit when they have possession but with him you don't see it because he's very comfortable on the ball. He is a great talent. For his age he has a great brain and he has a great future."
Wilshere played in the centre of midfield but in a position far deeper than is normally occupied by Fabregas, stationed just in front of the back four where he was able to dictate play in a "quarter-back" role. Tottenham attempted to squeeze the space available to him, but Wilshere's growing maturity and strength was in evidence as he did not lose his temper but responded with probably the best display of his short Arsenal career, creating the first goal for Henri Lansbury and the final one for Andrei Arshavin to book the Gunners' place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.
Rosicky confirmed Arsenal have undergone a change of heart towards the competition after five seasons without a single trophy. The Czech midfielder said: "It's definitely important because we haven't won anything for a long time. I think you can see that the boss [Arsène Wenger] is going for it as well. I came here in 2006 and I haven't won anything here. It's definitely time for me to win something. That's why I came here, to win trophies and let's go for it. It's time."
A scan yesterday revealed that Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs did not break a bone in his foot on Tuesday as was first feared. The England international missed a large part of last season with a similar injury but doctors yesterday confirmed this time Gibbs has only suffered severe bruising, not a break. A statement from Arsenal read: "Kieran has suffered severe bruising to his left foot and will hopefully only be missing from first-team action for the short term."
Arsenal are already without Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby through injury, but Thomas Vermaelen could be available for the visit of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after his Achilles problem.
Arsenal's Carlos Vela has been banned from playing for Mexico for six months for organising an unauthorised party following a 1-0 win over Colombia this month. Giovani dos Santos of Tottenham, Manchester United's Javier Hernandez , Carlos Salcido of Fulham and West Ham's Pablo Berrera were fined.