Thursday Kickoff: Wilshere set to return in two weeks, Bayern can win title on Saturday, and more

JackWilshere2 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Arsene Wenger won’t have to wait much longer until he gets midfielder Jack Wilshere back on the field.

Speaking to reporters ahead of this Saturday’s match against Reading, Wenger announced that Wilshere would be out a further two weeks, but set a return date for the Englishman on April 13, against Norwich. Wilshere’s return will be crucial for an Arsenal team fighting for the final Champions League spot.

Wilshere has been out since March 3, when he suffered a re-occurrence of a prior ankle injury in training, and it eventually ruled him out of the second leg of the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich. On the season, Wilshere has scored two goals and contributed four assists in 26 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners this season.

Arsenal currently sit in fifth place, just four points behind fourth-place Tottenham, with nine matches remaining.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday started:

BAYERN ONE WIN AWAY FROM TITLE

German power and last year’s Champions League runner-up Bayern Munich can wrap up their 22nd Bundesliga title with a win this Saturday against Hamburger SV, and a Borussia Dortmund loss or draw.

Bayern have been one of the strongest teams in Europe all season, and their domestic form has been nearly impeccable, failing to win on just four occasions, with just one loss. The Munich club are also in the quarter finals of the Champions League, and starting next week will be facing Juventus in a two-legged tie.

Jupp Heynckeys are currently sitting at 69 points in the Bundesliga table, 20 points ahead of last year’s winner Borussia Dortmund, who sit in second. Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller lead the team with 15 and 12 goals, respectively.

TOTTI MARKS 20TH SEASON IN SERIE A

A.S. Roma forward Francesco Totti will have been in the professional game for 20 years in Italy come Thursday, marking his debut with the Roman side in 1993.

Totti, who earlier this season moved into second place all-time in Serie A scoring, has received a congratulatory letter from national team teammate, Gianluigi Buffon. The long-time Juventus goalkeeper remarks how the two have played together internationally since they were 15, and though Totti has retired from the Azzurri, they continue to meet at least twice a season, whenever Juve and Roma meet.

Il Capitano, as he is known by Roma fans, has continued to play a big part in Roma’s Serie A campaign this season, playing in 26 matches, scoring 11 goals and recording ten assists.

QUICK KICKS

UAE Football Association President Yousuf al-Serkal has urged European soccer leaders to consider a winter World Cup. (REPORT)

A vocal minority of Costa Rica fans turned their backs to the field when the FIFA Fair Play hymn played at Estadio Nacional on Tuesday evening, in protest of FIFA allowing the 1-0 U.S. win to stand. (REPORT)

On-loan left back Andre Santos says he wants to make his move to Gremio permanent. (REPORT)

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has returned from international football with another injury to his hamstring, potentially forcing him out of the squad for his side’s match next week against Paris Saint-Germain. (REPORT)

The father of Napoli forward Edinson Cavani says Real Madrid have a “50 percent chance” of signing his son this summer. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Wilshere helping Arsenal into 4th place? Do you believe Bayern can win the title this weekend? Where do you rank Totti all-time?

Share your thoughts below.

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5 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Wilshere set to return in two weeks, Bayern can win title on Saturday, and more

  1. manicmessiah says:

    I wonder what will win out: the opportunity for the big Euro clubs to try and wrest power of football from FIFA, or Qatari money strategically spread throughout football in club ownership, tv rights and large sponsorship deals.

    I used to think the former, but have been reconsidering.

    • Seriously? says:

      This is what the FIFA executives should have known would happen when they decided to take the money they were offered, and put a summer world cup in the desert. As long as they get to keep their money, I’d bet they couldn’t care less when it’s played, or where.

      • manicmessiah says:

        I agree about FIFA. I’m more talking about whatever the G 14 clubs became. The ones who. could theoretically dig their heels in on any potential mover. Or not, considering the pressures money from the potential home nation could put on them.

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    Stuart Holden to Sheffield Wednesday?

  3. Benjamin C. says:

    The Costa Rican protests are getting a little annoying. When the ref stopped play in the second half, Costa Rica’s coach probably could have gathered his players and walked off the field en mass, and the match probably would have been abandoned. But they didn’t, and they played in the exact same conditions as the U.S. team, and they lost. It is not like the American players grew up on snow capped fields and had a clear advantage; most of them likely spent their formative years on warm weather pitches in Florida, California, Texas, etc. Plus, plenty of Central American players ply their trade in cold weather European leagues. The result was ultimately fair, so, let it go and move on and stop blaming FIFA for your team not protesting properly. However, I do expect some extra venom from the crowd for the U.S. at Saprissa this time around, if that is even possible.