- Jack Wilshere to miss Arsenal's games against Chelsea and West Ham after FA upholds two-game ban11:21 | 20/12/2013
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere had hoped for leniency but independent three-man panel agrees gesture deserves a two-game punishment.
Jack Wilshere has been banned for Arsenal’s London derbies against Chelsea and West Ham United after his plea for leniency over the middle-finger gesture to Manchester City fans was rejected.
Arsenal had argued that Wilshere had been subjected to personal abuse and also pointed out that Luis Suárez received only a one-match suspension for a similar loss of discipline against Fulham in 2011.
An independent Football Association tribunal, however, ruled that the incident would have merited a sending-off had it been seen during the game by referee Martin Atkinson and that the two-match ban should stand.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke also entered the debate on Thursday by saying that the 21-year-old England midfielder must learn to keep his emotions in check.
“As a supporter I sympathise with the players because of the flak they get from the crowd,” said Dyke. “People can lose their cool very quickly, but he (Wilshere) has got to learn. He’s very well paid to play the game and he’s got to learn to cope with it.
”You think back over many years of players who were hot-headed when they were younger, but not when they get older. They just learn and mature. That is what happens. It is part of life.” Arsenal are unlikely to be impressed by Dyke bringing Wilshere’s salary into the debate and, although they accepted the FA charge, they felt that a one-game ban would have been sufficient in the circumstances. The FA, though, did also suspend Blackpool’s Tom Ince for two games earlier in the season when he aimed an obscene gesture at a match official.
Television cameras picked up Wilshere raising his middle finger in the direction of City fans at the Etihad Stadium during the second half of Arsenal’s 6-3 defeat on Saturday.
Although the incident was missed at the time by Atkinson, the FA was able to retrospectively implement disciplinary proceedings against the player under a new pilot scheme for ’not seen’ incidents in Premier League matches.
Wilshere would have been unlikely to play in both matches against Chelsea on Monday and then West Ham on Boxing Day but, with Arsène Wenger hoping to rotate his squad, his unavailability for the two fixtures is a considerable blow.
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny also remains a major doubt for the Chelsea match after he suffered a deep gash in his knee just before half-time against City.
Lukas Podolski, however, could be involved for the first time since late August following his recovery from a hamstring tear, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hoping to return early in the New Year after suffering a knee injury in the first game of the season against Aston Villa. Oxlade-Chamberlain is drawing inspiration from how Aaron Ramsey and Wilshere have recovered from his long-term injury.
“The amount of time he was out and to come back and see how positive he is now and how hard he is still working to make sure he tries to prevent injuries like that again, is a real learning curve for any player,” he said.
Despite being boosted by the imminent return of Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal have been scouting Diego Costa, although they remain doubtful about their prospects of signing the Atletico Madrid striker in January.
Costa’s brilliant start to the season has alerted interest in his situation but he has been watched by Arsenal since last season and it is understood that there would be a reluctance to immediately stretch to a buy-out clause which is reportedly in excess of £30 million.
Arsenal, though, are actively interested and aware that he is one of the few leading strikers in Europe who is potentially available in January.
Chelsea, who are also looking for a striker, are another club monitoring Costa’s situation. There have been no bids at this stage and, after the misunderstanding last summer over Luis Suarez’s possible “buy-out” clause, Arsenal would want to know where they stand before formalising their interest.
Costa has replaced Radamel Falcao this season as Atletico’s talisman and has scored 21 goals in 21 games. His form, however, means that he is pushing for a place in the Spain World Cup summer next year — should he succeed in switching his allegiance from Brazil – and there is an argument that his immediate international ambitions would be better served by staying in La Liga.
Arsenal are still seeking another striker — and would have let Nicklas Bendtner leave last summer had Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain or Demba Ba arrived — but know they will struggle to find the right player in January without playing an inflated price. If they do not make any major additions to their squad, Wenger will not allow Bendtner to depart midseason.
Arsenal have also been considering their plans for next summer’s pre-season, with the United States having emerged as a potential destination after three recent tours to Asia.
According to Telegraph
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