Arsenal midfield player Jack Wilshere has been charged by The FA with making an offensive and/or insulting and/or abusive gesture.
The charge follows an alleged gesture made 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.
Wilshere has been charged retrospectively by The FA under a new pilot project for potential ‘not seen’ incidents in Premier League matches.
Under the new process, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel will be asked by The FA to review it and advise what, if any action, they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time.
For an FA charge to follow, all three panel members must agree it is a sending-off offence. In this instance, the panel were unanimous.
Wilshere has until 6pm on 18 December to respond to the charge.
Given that the incident was clearly caught on film, I'd have to imagine Wilshere will simply accept the charge an move forward. The FA has already set a standard for this sort of behavior, suspending Luis Suarez one game for a similar offense. I'd have to imagine Wilshere will be looking at the same, meaning he'll likely be unavailable for Monday's tie with Chelsea.
Given the performance Wilshere had on Saturday combined with the return of several injured players, it seems unlikely that he was likely to start against Chelsea anyway. He'd have certainly been in the squad though, and his absence will give Arsene Wenger less options from which to choose. All told, it's good news for Chelsea and should improve their chances (however slightly) at The Emirates. That's enough to make me smile.
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