ARSENAL 1 vs WIGAN 2
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger last night ruled midfielder Jack Wilshere out of England’s Euro 2012 campaign after seeing his side’s grip on a Champions League place weakened by a shock defeat to relegation-battling Wigan.
Wilshere, who suffered an ankle injury in pre-season, had hoped to return for the run-in and the European Championship but Wenger said the tournament would come too soon for the 20-year-old.
It is huge blow for England’s hopes in Poland and Ukraine and Wenger also warned Team GB boss Stuart Pearce that selecting him for the London 2012 Olympic football competition would be “the worst idea”.
“He will not be ready for the end of the season and not for the Euros,” said Wenger, who added that an ankle injury suffered by midfielder Mikel Arteta looked “a serious one”.
“He [Wilshere] is devastated, and you can understand that. What kept him going until now was that he felt if it was not with us, he would still have a good chance to go to the Euros – but that is over now as well.”
It was a miserable night for Wenger, whose side could only manage a Thomas Vermaelen header in response to early goals from Franco di Santo and Jordi Gomez.
They missed the chance to widen the gap with Tottenham to eight points, and captain Robin van Persie ended the match squaring up to Wigan skipper Gary Caldwell in furstration.
Wigan, who climbed five points clear of the relegation zone, had arrived with a miserable record in north London, having never taken a single point in nine visits, but quickly put that behind them.
After seven minutes they were one up, pouncing on a weak corner and haring upfield, Moses and Gomez finding Di Santo, whose touch ricocheted over the advancing Wojciech Szczesny and allowed him to tap in.
Less than 90 seconds later the visitors had doubled their lead, an exquisite turn buying Moses space to cross low from the left for Gomez to prod home as Szczesny sought to smother the loose ball.
Arsenal, with eight wins in their previous nine games, had not started badly and mounted a quick response, Vermaelen’s powerful header from a lofted Tomas Rosicky cross reducing the arrears on 21 minutes.
Wenger’s men are comeback specialists but, although Rosicky and Johan Djourou shot narrowly off target, grew increasingly frustrated by their inability to break down a superb Wigan team scrapping for survival.