There has been some debate over who will step aside for Jack Wilshere when he makes his long-awaited return for Arsenal, however I would argue that Wenger cannot drop either Arteta or Cazorla, and playing the the two Spaniards alongside Wilshere will create an incredible midfield.
Abou Diaby has played well for Arsenal this season, but both Wilshere and Arteta are accomplished both in defending and going forward. Arteta's deeper role this year should provide enough cover combined with Wilshere's natural tenacity, and also allow the new number 10 to rove forward and combine with Cazorla.
With all three on the pitch backing up a front three, Arsenal will have creativity in spades and shouldn't need to sacrifice defensive cover to achieve it. Wilshere's dynamic box-to-box style should dovetail nicely with the Spanish pass masters in front and behind him, and he will bolster both the intricate attacks of Cazorla, and the back four screening of Arteta.
There may be an argument that this formation may be too attacking for some matches, but if so then it is not one of these three who should drop out, but one of the front-line, with Cazorla perhaps moving further forward to allow Diaby or even the returning Frimpong to join the central midfield. Whatever the formation, Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta should find a place, such is their adaptability.
Also the control they can give Arsenal in the midfield will be as strong a defence as a more defeisve midfielder coming in. If they can settle as a trio, they should be able to provide a defence in the same way Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta do for Barcelona, by dominating possession and pressing quickly when without the ball.
There have been some suggestions that Wilshere may be looking to come back as a more advanced player, befitting the number 10 he has been given, but I think that would be a mistake. He can better influence the game from a deeper position, and in Cazorla, they already have a player excelling as an advanced playmaker.
To move Wilshere forward would also likely change the balance of the front three Arsenal are currently playing, which again has been successful this season. Maintaining the pace and work rate of Podolski, Walcott/Oxlade-Chamberlain on the flanks will be a perfect foil for the Arteta-Wilshere-Cazorla axis in the centre.
It’s been a long time since Wilshere was seen in a senior match for Arsenal, but the memory of his performance against Barcelona in particular is fresh. If he comes back the same player he was before injury, and links with Cazorla and Arteta as you would expect him too, Arsenal will look very good indeed.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald