Aresnal manager Arsene Wenger has defended Jack Wilshere’s dedication after the injury-plagued England midfielder was caught up in an apparent row at a West End nightspot last weekend.
Wilshere, 24, is yet to play this season after fracturing his calf bone in August but is set to make his comeback for the club’s under-21s on Friday and could return to the first team this month.
“It’s not easy when you are well-known today to go out anywhere without creating some provocations,” said Wenger, whose side visit West Ham on Saturday for a derby between third and sixth in the Premier League.
“I believe he has a real football brain, Jack Wilshere, and he loves football. He is very serious and very dedicated. The only thing that could stop him from having the career he could make is injuries.”
The Hammers will take confidence from their opening-day win over Arsenal, says boss Slaven Bilic, as they look to chase down a first ever Champions League place and further spoil Arsenal’s wilting title dream.
“That game was ages ago, but it’s nice to know at the back of your head that we played and beat them earlier this season,” said Bilic.
“We are both fighting for a place in Europe and they’re trying to be champions. They have said they need the three points and so do we to stay in the race, so it should be a really good game of football.”
West Ham, who lie three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, have not lost at Upton Park since 22 August, when Bournemouth edged a seven-goal thriller – a run of 15 games in all competitions.
Arsenal trail leaders Leicester by 11 points but appear to have overcome a lingering malaise with back-to-back league wins, scoring a total of six goals without reply to beat Everton and Watford.