Arsenal were without Jack Wilshere for their Community Shield conquest of Chelsea, with an ankle injury (what else) forcing him out of the match.
The England international sustained the setback in training the day before the FA Cup winners met the Premier League champions at Wembley and it now looks as though it will keep him out of the Gunners’ first top-tier game of the season against of West Ham too.
Arsene Wenger initially envisaged the latest instalment in Wilshere’s growing portfolio of ankle ailments to sideline him for a matter of days, but as is oft the case with the 23-year-old, the prognosis is worse than first feared.
He missed almost six months of the previous season after injuring the same easily afflicted body part, while he didn’t kick a ball during the 2011/12 campaign with the same problem.
This latest setback should seriously deter punters from backing Wilshere to start more than 20.5 Premier League matches at 17/20, with the same price saying he makes the XI on 20 occasions or less.
Should his latest setback prove as serious as the two cited above, the latter punt is almost certain to land, while it’s also important to note he hasn’t toppled the hurdle in question in any of the previous four seasons.
Simultaneously, it would enable the England man to stake a legitimate claim to take the bed at the head of the Arsenal sick bay reserved for Abou Diaby up until his Emirates release this summer.
The perma-crocked Frenchman somewhat cruelly found himself the butt of many a joke on account of his obscene susceptibility to injury.
When fit, Diaby’s talent is immense, much like Wilshere’s, but the freshly-minted Marseille man can’t be relied upon to feature with the regularity his employer requires.
Across his last five seasons in north London, the 29-year-old didn’t make enough appearances in one campaign, let alone starts, to cross the 20.5 mark in question; 16 was his best effort.
With the French international out of the picture, Wilshere’s butterfly-wing-delicate ankles are ready to carry him (with the help of crutches) to the mantle of the Premier League’s most injury-prone player.
To halt his procession, the England man must cross the 20.5-Premier League start line in 2015/16, but the smart money says he won’t.