15th September 2015: Wilshere surgery blow as Zagreb boss calls Arsenal ‘frightening’

Good evening. Except it isn’t really, because Arsenal have today announced Jack Wilshere will be sidelined for approximately three months as he needs surgery to repair the fractured fibula he sustained in August.

In honesty, the news isn’t as much of a shock as when Danny Welbeck was recently ruled out for a number of months, because in-the-Arsenal-know Sunday Mirror reporter Steve Stammers last weekend revealed the possibility Jack may need to go under the knife. That has now been confirmed and the midfielder will need a small plate inserted into his left leg after his injury failed to heal as expected. The full statement on Arsenal.com read:

Due to a slow healing response from a fracture suffered in August, the club can confirm that Jack Wilshere is to undergo an operation to his left fibula. The decision to intervene has been taken quickly after regular reviews by specialists, who feel that Jack’s scans show that the healing process is not progressing as well as expected. Jack will have surgery in London in the forthcoming days. This will involve inserting a small plate in his left fibula. Jack is likely to be out for approximately three months. Everyone at the club wishes Jack well with his rehabilitation.

Needless to say, it’s devastating news for both the club and a young player, who has been repeatedly sidelined by injury for large chunks of his relatively short career so far. In pre-season, Jack was playing and sounding like a man who was ready to force his way back into the first-team after an injury-ravaged campaign last time around.

It seemed this would finally be the season when the midfielder lived up to his billing as the finest English talent of his generation but with the 12 week lay-off ahead of him now ,and the inevitable period of time after that it will take him to regain match sharpness, another season appears a likely write-off.

The one silver lining I suppose, from the player’s own perspective, is that if all goes well with his recovery and he’s back to something approaching his best in the final couple of months of the season, he’s got the Euros with England to look forward to and he’ll be very fresh to make his mark in France. Hopefully, from an Arsenal perspective, we’ll still be fighting on all fronts for trophies and can welcome back both Wilshere and Welbeck in time to give our squad new impetus at the business end of the season.

As I write this post, Arsene Wenger has been holding his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow evening’s Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb and the boss is confident Wilshere’s long-term career is not in jeopardy because of his latest injury blow. He said:

Jack Wilshere is young enough to get over this. I’m confident he can make a career his talent deserves.

I’ll have more from Arsene before the game tomorrow, including team news etc but his opposite number for our opening group stage game, Zagreb manager Zoran Mamic, has revealed he was at the Emirates stadium to run the rule over the Gunners on Saturday as we beat Stoke, and described our play as ‘frightening’. He said:

I have watched Arsenal in many games, I went to see them against Stoke this weekend and I got the impression they were playing in second or third gear, and should have won 10-0! It is frightening and fascinating how they play. I believe we will be better than Stoke. Cazorla and Ozil are key Arsenal players, but the team is so strong that danger comes from everywhere.

And he’s right, I suppose we are pretty decent at the whole playing football thing but must guard against complacency and not fall into an oft-trodden trap of thinking turning up is all we need to do to win.

Zagreb matched our unbeaten achievement of 2004 in the Croatian domestic league last term and have players such as Angelo Henriquez – once of Man Utd and national team-mate of Alexis Sanchez – in their side, so they’re likely to be a talented outfit, particularly on home soil.

Right, a bit of a short one today but I’ll be back pre-match tomorrow for some final thoughts before we get our European campaign up and running.

See you then.

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