Why doesn't Jack Wilshere start

The future begins at Christmas

Before the festive program with five match days within a fortnight, Manchester City and Arsenal are struggling with personnel problems. There's a lot going on in both clubs.

News spread in London on Wednesday that Arsenal had renewed contracts with five young hopefuls: Wilshere, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey. Lots of British! The coach Wenger has passionately advocated the thesis in recent years that the cohesion of a team requires a careful structure, in which the teenagers are brought together and matured together - their origins are unimportant.

Climate change necessary

After Fabregas, Song, van Persie, Nasri and Clichy had shown at that very moment that the youthful gang mentality means nothing when clubs are waving their checkbooks, Wenger is now adopting a different tone. "Unfortunately we have not been able to keep our most important foreign players," he says, "but I hope that we can now count on these players to build a team around them."

In the press conference after the unimaginative appearance of the Gunners against Swansea at the beginning of the month (0-2), Wenger was asked whether he had considered whether this was the moment to say goodbye. "On the contrary," replied the Frenchman, "it is the moment to stick together." The fans had vented their anger shortly before with nasty slogans that were (almost) never directed against Wenger, (almost) always against the refusal of the board of directors to spend more money on newcomers. Even the Uzbek Usmanov, who was not represented on the board of directors and was the second most important shareholder after the American Kroenke, agitated against the club's financial policy - especially after the league cup against fourth division Bradford.

Wenger also found comforting words in this context. The financial situation was tense because of the new stadium, now that is changing. In January he had funds available to get involved in the transfer market. He has good reason, however, to view the "chance" with mixed feelings. He, who has such a talented hand in the search for talented juniors, has had trouble locating secure, established values: for every young talent such as Arteta in recent years there has been a handful of ailing stars like Chamakh, Arshavin and Gervinho.

City hates and contempt

The climate at champions Manchester City has also been a bit less frosty since Wednesday. In the three years with the Citizens, coach Mancini has never distinguished himself through friendly relationships with the staff. His regime was marked by feuds, with striker Tevez and players like Lescott and Johnson who, despite excellent performances, were suddenly pushed aside. On the other hand, Balotelli, once described by coach Mourinho as “unmanageable”, seemed to be allowed to allow himself any foolishness.

The club management no longer put up with that - they fined the Italian international striker with two weeks wages because he missed every fifth game last season due to suspension. Balotelli didn't want to pay. Shortly before the labor court could deal with the case, he gave in. The intermezzo is likely to leave its mark behind the scenes. Just like the abuses of Mancini, who publicly criticized the players Hart, Nasri and Balotelli after the defeat against Manchester United. However, a good working atmosphere is essential in the greenhouse climate of the festive program, where five Premier League rounds have to be contested within fourteen days.