Luis Suarez was served a three-match ban and a £20,000 fine for his salute to Fulham fans in December 2011, but a more-useful comparison might be to Wilfried Zaha, who received a one-match ban and £3,000 fine for his digital communication with Leeds fans while playing on-loan for Crystal Palace in March 2013. The one-match ban seems like pretty standard fare, so we might as well reconcile ourselves to that. It’s the size of the fine that may vary, and that’s more an issue for Jack and his budget than it is for the make-up of the squad going forward.
Suarez’s finger was both slower and more blatant than Wilshere’s—Suarez came to a full-stop and pointed to his middle finger with his other hand; what’s more, his middle-finger came after he had been accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra in October 2011, for which he would be suspended eight games after the one-game suspension for the event at Fulham. In other words, his fine may have been influenced by the preceding allegation of and investigation into racial abuse. That’s not something that applies to Wilshere.
More useful, then, is Zaha’s gesture. Like Suarez, his was a slower, more-drawn-out motion. Wilshere’s was quick and brief. Like Wilshere, Zaha’s disciplinary record is a bit less spotty than Suarez’s. The one-match ban, though, seems like standard fare, and it seems again like the only real variable will be how much lighter Wilshere’s wallet will end up. We’ll have to wait to see how the FA responds to referee Atkinson’s report. Given the botched calls that went against us—Zabaleta’s hand-ball in the box, two goals incorrectly disallowed by an offsides call, to name a few—it might be nice to see something conciliatory handed down, such as a fine but no ban. I wouldn’t count on it, though.
I mentioned in my post-match post-mortem that I was more worried about Wilshere and Koscielny’s availability going forward than I was about the actual result. We should learn more about each of them in coming days…