Jack Wilshere accepts misconduct charge; Arsenal will try to get ban reduced


Jack Wilshere’s not going to fight the English FA’s misconduct charge; probably a good thing, given he was caught by television cameras on Saturday raising his middle finger to the crowd during Arsenal’s 6-3 loss at Manchester City. After his performance at the Etihad Stadium, Wilshere’s source of frustration was understandable, even if his way of dealing with it wasn’t. Not only did his league-leading club get reminded of their own fallabilty, but Wilshere did very little to stop it.

The two-game ban The FA’s proposing is too much for Arsenal, however. According to tonight’s reporting from The Guardian, the Gunners are set to appeal the ban hoping the suspicion can be cut in half. Citing a one-match suspension handed to Luis Suárez two years ago for the same offense, Arsenal’s hoping precedent will win out.

There is the possibility The FA, with the virtue of hindsight, now see that punishment as insufficient, though Arsenal seems to think the difference between getting caught on video (Wilshere) versus in pictures unfairly accounts for the extra day, perhaps reflecting a desire to deter players from soiling those images being sold to broadcast partners. As much as Arsenal’s contention makes sense, it doesn’t take the most active imagination to think of a scenarios where The FA would want to up the ban.

There are also mitigating factors, Arsenal says. Wilshere was the subject of abuse from fans in Manchester, but on an occasional like City-Arsenal, which Gunner isn’t going to hear a foul word from the crowd. Although there’s a line (and Arsenal may very well show something crossed that line), in the large preponderance of circumstances, it’s not too much to expect a player to refrain from flipping off the crowd. It’s just not that hard to do.

The big lingering issue here, one that was hinted at by Kyle Martino this weekend on Match of the Day, is about frustrations boiling over. When you see a player like Wilshere exhibit some out-of-character behaviors, it’s not unreasonable to ask what else is contributing to this. Is it personal frustrations at not playing well? Team-level issues at being played wide more often after the acquisition of Mathieu Flamini and emergence of Aaron Ramsey? Or was this just a young man having a bad day, unintentionally giving himself a learning experience?

The debate between one and two games is interesting in so far as there are two intriguing sides, but the more meaningful problem rests with Wilshere. Why did he lose it in Saturday’s second half?

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

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In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY  01:  Gerd Muller during a media event discussing the Golden Boot comptetition in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held at the adidas Jo'bulani Central in Sandton Convention Centre on July 1, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images for adidas)
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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).