It was telling that after scoring a hat-trick against Everton last weekend, Aaron Ramsey was substituted for Jack Wilshere.
The two men have started just one Premier League game together since May 2015 and there are question marks about whether Arsene Wenger believes they can be effective whilst on the pitch at the same time.
Both midfielders, who showed great promise in the early stages of their respective careers, have been on different trajectories over the last decade.
Wilshere was initially regarded as the more naturally gifted player, but injuries and loss of form stalled his development. Ramsey progressed more under the radar and enjoyed a wonderful 2013 calendar year before scoring winners in two FA Cup finals, but the 27-year-old’s consistency levels haven’t quite been up there with English football’s elite in recent years.
With the contract situations for both men in the balance, this is their last chance to prove they can play at the very top. They have competition in Mohamed Elneny, who was among Arsenal’s best players last month and Granit Xhaka, who is preferred in the starting eleven most weeks but struggles to cope with the Arsenal style.
The Swiss midfielder has been derided for his form this season, leading to many calling for a restoration of the Ramsey and Wilshere combination. The latter is finally overcoming his injury worries and has looked a different player since returning back from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
The 26-year-old’s passing and movement would be complimented by the industry and application of Ramsey, who appears to relish the increased freedom in a 3-4-3, which the Gunners have used in 20 of their 26 Premier League games this term.
After years of showing potential, this is the time for the duo to shine: Saturday’s north London Derby at Wembley would be the place to start.