Two late strikes from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin cancelled out David Villa’s first-half opener to give ArsÃƒÂ¨ne Wenger’s men a slender advantage to take to the Camp Nou in three weeksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time.
Wilshere, 19, excelled in midfield, winning the ball cleanly and distributing with consummate ease all night as he proved himself capable of competing with two of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s finest in the form of Spain duo Xavi and AndrÃƒÂ©s Iniesta.
“It has been a crazy last couple of weeks and this probably tops it,” said Wilshere afterwards. “This has been my best day as an Arsenal player by far. It is not over yet. We have got the second leg and we have to go there and get a result and go through to the quarters.”
The England youngster added: “They had a spell of 20 minutes in the first half when we couldn’t get the ball off them. We knew they were going to be like that, we just had to hold out and defend well and hit them on the counter-attack, and that’s what we did.”
It is the second time in a week that Wilshere has won plaudits for a mature performance after England manager Fabio Capello earmarked the youngster as a key part of the national team’s future following the 19-year-old’s showing during his side’s 2-1 win in Denmark.
Capello said: “The style of Arsenal is a lot of passes. Wilshere wins back the ball, he passes, he turns, dribbles, goes and shoots. I saw everything. The style of Arsenal is touch, touch, touch, touch. Like Barcelona.
“Wilshere is the best young player. He now plays all the time with Arsenal. If you play with Arsenal, you are a really good player because ArsÃƒÂ¨ne Wenger likes good players.”
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