Arsenal’s fading hopes of winning a first Premier League title since 2004 have been dealt a blow with the news Jack Wilshere will be sidelined for six weeks.
A 1-0 defeat at Stoke City last weekend leaves the Gunners four points adrift of Chelsea in the race for the title, and they will drop to fourth place should Manchester City win one of their two games in hand. Indeed, with Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and to a lesser extend Manchester United lurking not far behind, there have even been concern amongst the Emirates Stadium faithful that a battle to finish in the top four could ensue.
So any lingering optimism they may have felt will have suffered a fresh blow on Thursday, when it was revealed that Wilshere will be out of action for the next six weeks. The midfielder was on the end of a crunching tackle by Daniel Agger during England’s 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday evening, and although he played on until the 59 minute mark, scans have shown he has suffered a hairline fracture to his left foot.
A club statement said: “Following initial scans carried out by the FA on Wednesday night, further investigation by Arsenal’s medical team has discovered a crack to a small bone in Jack’s left foot – the navicular, an area of his foot which has not been previously injured.”
As disappointing as this will be to Arsenal, it will be equally as surprising considering Wilshere, who has scored three goals in 23 Premier League matches this season, insisted after the friendly win at Wembley that the damage was no more than bruising. “It is a bit sore, but just a bruise,” he said. “I have had a scan already and I will be all right.”
As well as missing the UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against Bayern Munich, in which the Londoners trail 2-0 from the first leg, the 22-year-old will also miss the FA Cup quarter-final match with Everton at the weekend. And he will also have to sit out at least six league fixtures, including the derby against Spurs, the trip to Chelsea and the home match against Manchester City, before he returns against Hull City on 19 April.