Belfast Telegraph

Wilshere waits on FA

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere must discover if he will be charged with misconduct by the Football Association for an abusive hand gesture towards Manchester City supporters which could see him eventually hit with a one-match ban.

Television cameras picked up Wilshere raising his middle finger in the direction of home fans at the Etihad Stadium during the second half of Saturday's 6-3 defeat for the Barclays Premier League leaders.

Following the submission of observations from referee Martin Atkinson and his officials, Press Association Sport understands the governing body is gathering more evidence to help with the context of the situation and under their disciplinary procedures have until 6pm on Tuesday to lodge any formal charge against the player.

Such sanctions have been implemented in the past as was the case with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who was suspended for one match, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he made a gesture to home fans as he walked off the pitch following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham in December 2011.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted in his post-match press conference that "if he (Wilshere) did it and he is banned, then we will have to accept it."

If that proves to be the case, then Wilshere will miss the visit of second-placed Chelsea next up on December 23.

Defeat for Arsenal - who have been drawn with Bayern Munich once again in the last 16 of the Champions League - saw their lead at the top of the table cut down to just two points.

Wenger feels the way his men respond from the defeat could well shape the rest of what has so far been a promising campaign.

The Gunners could now be overtaken by first Liverpool, who host Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime, and then City who are at struggling Fulham.

Indeed Wenger's men may well end up down in fourth spot for Christmas should Chelsea win at the Emirates Stadium - with fifth-placed Everton out to also close up to potentially one point if they can win at Swansea.

Wilshere feels Arsenal must learn fast from their disappointing defensive display at the Etihad Stadium.

"Most of the goals were individual mistakes. I know I certainly am beating myself up about it and the other players I know will be disappointed," Wilshere said on Arsenal Player.

"We will learn from that individually and collectively.

"I think we were too stretched and the space between the defence and the midfield was too much.

"We have to tighten up a little bit."

Arsenal are set to monitor the healing process of the deep cut to defender Laurent Koscielny's knee which was sustained when attempting to prevent City's second goal late in the first half and was unable to continue.


From Belfast Telegraph