England midfielder Jack Wilshere is facing FA action after making an obscene one-fingered gesture at Manchester City supporters.
The Arsenal player was shown on television cameras reacting angrily to home fans during his side’s astonishing 6-3 defeat to their title rivals.
Controversial: Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere appeared to make an offensive gesture at The Etihad
Even if referee Martin Atkinson fails to mention the incident in his report, which he will file to the FA on Monday, the ruling body still have the right to charge Wilshere with ‘improper conduct’.
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez served a one-match suspension two years ago for a similar act in a game against Fulham and the FA, conscious of potential accusations of favouring England players, will be keen to ensure that justice is done.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed to have missed the incident which followed a superb Wilshere shot being saved by City keeper Costel Pantilimon.
‘I didn’t see that,’ said Wenger. ‘I don’t know if he did it. If he did it and he’s banned, we will have to accept it.’
Surprisingly, Wenger refused to accept that Manuel Pellegrini’s side represent his primary rivals for the title, despite City having scored 31 times in their last six home games — including six against both Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as four times against Manchester United.
‘I don’t know, we will see,’ said Wenger, when asked if the defeat was significant. ‘They are one of the teams to beat but not more than any other team. We have played against Everton, who are as good as City; we have played against Southampton, who are as good as City.
‘What hurts me more is we had the opportunity to put City at nine points (behind) and they are three tonight. That’s very difficult to swallow because that was a team that was not unbeatable today.’
Wenger, who claimed he was not looking for excuses for the embarrassing reverse, did, however, reference his team’s midweek Champions League trip to Napoli and the performance of Atkinson as key factors.
‘We had three offsides not turned down and a penalty turned down,’ he said. ‘The referee had a bad game.’
Wenger also left the Etihad with concerns over defender Laurent Koscielny, who suffered a bad cut to his leg in trying to defend City’s second goal. ‘He will be out for a while,’ said Wenger. ‘How long? I don’t know.’
For opposite number Pellegrini, the victory followed hot on the heels of an impressive Champions League success at Bayern Munich, a result overshadowed by the fact the manager confessed he did not realise how many goals his team needed to score to top the qualifying group.
‘This was a more complete game because we couldn’t score four against Bayern and there were a lot of complaints about that,’ joked City’s Chilean manager. ‘But I don’t think that was our best performance because Arsenal scored three goals and that’s too many for the chances they had.
‘But it was a very complete game in an attacking sense because it is not easy to score six goals against Arsenal. We are not thinking about the title at this moment, we have a lot more points to fight for.
‘We must continue improving and finding our style of football. For me, it’s very important to be an entertaining team, but I think we can entertain more if we score six goals and they don’t score three!’
Only a calf injury suffered by Sergio Aguero could take the gloss off another scintillating display by City, with Pellegrini awaiting the result of medical tests on Monday.