Jack Wilshere has made what he’s made of himself in the Premier League in large part thanks to his feistiness. And he made Southampton see red on Sunday with just that.
During stoppage time of Arsenal’s 3-2 win over the relegation battlers, Wilshere stepped up to challenge a Gunners turnover and spent a good 30 yards in the hip pocket of Southampton’s Jack Stephens. After Stephens had gotten rid of the ball, Wilshere ripped the Saints defender’s shirt down the right side and baited Stephens into shoving him down violently:
Stephens saw straight red from the referee for the incident, while Wilshere was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card. Yes, Stephens raised his lead hand in the shove, which is increasingly becoming a red card-worthy offense in Europe’s top leagues, but Wilshere ignited the whole fracas with a rather petulant act.
Arsenal did have a player sent off as a result, however, as Mohamed Elneny saw straight red for something he seems to have said:
The churlish weirdness drew attention away from Danny Welbeck’s superb afternoon, with goals in the 38th and 81st minutes and an absolutely gorgeous heel flick to set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equalizer midway through the first half.
Arsenal has now won six straight games across both the Premier and Europa leagues, although Wilshere might have been venting some frustration as he’s embroiled in a bit of contract drama at the Emirates.
Shane Long and Charlie Austin scored for Southampton, which is now three points behind Crystal Palace in 18th place (though it does have a game in hand) and could have to make do without Stephens for the time being, as his shove seems to fit well within the purview of the “violent conduct” for which the Football Association hands out three-match bans.