LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Jack Wilshere's second match back since returning from a season-long injury lay-off ended early at Manchester United on Saturday when the 20-year-old midfielder was sent off.
The England international picked up a second yellow card 20 minutes from the end of his side's 2-1 Premier League defeat after catching United's defender Patrice Evra on the ankle.
It was a frustrating end to the day for Wilshere, whose return to Arsenal's starting lineup last week against Queens Park Rangers was regarded by fans as a huge boost for the fortunes of both club and country.
Wilshere, who missed the whole of last season with an ankle injury, had been booked in the first half for a foul on Tom Cleverley, whose own England prospects have benefited from the absence of the Arsenal player.
His manager Arsene Wenger felt Wilshere's dismissal had been harsh. "Yes (Wilshere's sending off) looked harsh from the stand, the second yellow," Wenger told Sky Sports.
Wilshere's red card capped a gloomy day for Arsenal who, while avoiding any repeat of the 8-2 humiliation they suffered at Old Trafford last season, were flattered by such a tight scoreline having been largely ineffective.
Defeat left them nine points behind United, for whom Robin van Persie was predictably on target against the club he graced for eight years.
Van Persie scored in the third minute after a poor clearance by Thomas Vermaelen and Patrice Evra made it 2-0 in the second half shortly before Wilshere's red card.
Santi Cazorla's stoppage time reply was scant consolation.
"I'm disappointed of course, because we had a lot of the ball but we were not very efficient in our final third or in their final third," Wenger said.
"Then they defended well, were sharper than us in the duels and the consequence is you lose the game." (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows and Toby Davis)