Jack Wilshere has received a two-match suspension as a result of his actions during Arsenal's match against Manchester City.
During the club's English Premier League match on Dec. 14, the midfielder raised his middle finger to the crowd. The FA reported the ban with this statement:
Wilshere was charged by The FA with making an offensive and/or insulting and/or abusive gesture during the fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 14 December. The incident was not seen by match officials but was caught on video.
Whilst admitting the charge, Wilshere claimed the standard sanction for this offence was clearly excessive. The Commission rejected this claim and the two match suspension will commence with immediate effect.
As James McNicholas of GunnerBlog points out, this is a harsh penalty:
2-match ban for Wilshere seems very harsh, especially given precedent. Unlikely he would have started vs. CFC, but every chance against WHU.— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) December 19, 2013
On the other hand, Arsene Wenger was fully understanding of what could happen when he learned of the incident. According to BBC Sport, the manager said after the match, "If he did it and he is banned then we will have to accept it."
For how many matches should Wilshere have been suspended for his actions?
There was a lot of frustration for the Gunners during the contest that saw Manchester City leave with a 6-3 home victory.
Arsenal remain in first place in the league table, two points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea and three points ahead of City. Still, this loss closed the gap at the top of the standings after it seemed the North London squad was starting to pull away from the pack.
Things will be even harder going forward without Wilshere, who is now expected to be out for a home match against Chelsea as well as a road battle against West Ham United.
The 21-year-old midfielder has appeared in 15 of the club's 16 EPL matches this season while starting 11. He has scored two goals with one assist as a versatile player capable of excelling in multiple areas of the pitch.
His efforts have helped Arsenal reach the top of the table with the third-most goals in the league.
The good news for the club is that this suspension comes immediately after Theo Walcott made his first EPL start since September and scored two goals. He should be able to slide into Wilshere's position along with Santi Cazorla in order to keep up the solid play without missing a beat.
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