By Chris Harris
Jack Wilshere will be "gutted" to sit out Saturday's game against Fulham - but he expects to be fresh for the biggest London derby of them all.
The Arsenal midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences at Manchester United last weekend, a decision described as harsh by Arsène Wenger and his opposite number, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Wilshere also feels he was hard done by but he is putting a positive spin on his dismissal with Tottenham's visit to Emirates Stadium just around the corner.
"I am gutted to miss Saturday after being out for so long, it’s a disappointment to miss any game," said Wilshere. "But if I think about it another way, maybe it will be good for me to have a little break and come back for the Tottenham game.
"When you see it [the challenge that earned him a second yellow card] in slow motion, it looks like a bad tackle but honestly I didn’t mean to go for him [Patrice Evra]. I just went for the ball.
"When he sent me off I was shocked but when I saw it after [on the TV], I can see why he sent me off."
In Wilshere's absence Arsenal will look to close the nine-point gap between themselves and United at the top of the table. Fulham took four points from last season's two Premier League encounters and Wilshere knows that has to change.
"The target is the same - we need to challenge for the Premier League," he said. "OK, we are a bit far behind now but we really need to step it up.
"We have dropped a few points and we can't afford to be dropping points now. We know we need the top four but if we can get anything more, then we push on every season. That’s the aim.
"The aim at the beginning of every season is to challenge for the Premier League and win a trophy. It's no different this year."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source