Cesc Fabregas’ contribution and leadership against Stoke was unbelievable

I’ve just got some quick thoughts/feelings on last night’s game, which I’ll go into more detail on in tomorrow’s post:

The Aaron Ramsey injury was ridiculous and unfair. It cannot be a coincidence that we have had three players taken out by opponents in the past five years, ending in serious injuries. After ignoring the opportunity to put things right after Eduardo’s leg break, the FA need to sort things out quickly. Fortunately Ramsey’s country of birth should make it far more likely that something is done.

On a personal level, Ramsey’s injury reduced me to tears. I couldn’t believe it. A 19-year-old on the rise, in superb form for one of the best teams in the world and he gets taken out. One of Ramsey’s best attribute is his natural bottle and willingness to fight hard in the middle of the pitch and I do hope he can get that back.

I am sad for Ramsey but the fact that the team were able to go on and win made this the best game of the season for me. Our goals were terrific, we took our chances and were able to compose ourselves brilliantly after a period of shock after the injury. A complete team performance under incredibly difficult circumstances has left us just three points off the top of the table. Remarkable and a clear sign that we have the character and bottle to go on and win the title.

Cesc Fabregas’ contribution and leadership against Stoke was unbelievable. Not only did he dominate the centre of the pitch in his usual fashion, but produced four moments in the final 15 minutes that underlined his status as a cool, composed player and an inspirational leader.

First he scored the winning penalty under extreme pressure, knowing full well that a miss could have ended our title charge. Second, he set up Thomas Vermaelen for the third when it would have been easier to take a shot of his own. Third, he brought down one of the Stoke players from behind and followed it up by putting a finger to the lips to Tony Pulis, as if to say “We’re Arsenal and we will not be pushed around.” And fourth, he pulled the team together in a huddle at the end of the match to make them realise what they had achieved and underlined the fact that they achieved it together. Absolutely inspirational stuff.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Stoke by leaving a comment.

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102 Responses to “Cesc Fabregas’ contribution and leadership against Stoke was unbelievable”

  1. TheSKAGooner
    February 28, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    I don’t have any thoughts beyond what you wrote, Andy. Well said all ’round.

    I can’t even bring myself to watch my recording of the match yet. By this time of the day, I’ve usually gone through the replay at least once.

  2. @fnirlauk
    February 28, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Good, good stuff, a very nice read. Looking forward to seeing the match tomorrow, missed it today. Keep up the good work, ‘fry!

  3. Gunners The Stunners
    February 28, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    The last line of your posts tells the wrong score line. It says ‘Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Stoke’.

  4. patricetastygoal
    February 28, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    3-1

  5. Chris Redmond
    February 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I really feel today’s match finally marked the coming of age of this remarkable team. Our problems have been well documented over the last few seasons but those of us who have followed Arsenal through thick and thin always knew the potential was there. I know we haven’t won the league – at least not yet – but mark my words, today’s result, and the manner in which it was achieved, will spur us on to great things. The leadership of Cesc and the resilience and character of the whole team speaks volumes for Wenger’s faith in this side, and there will be no better way to confirm this than by lifting the Premier League trophy in May. Come on, you Gunners!

    P.S. I fucking love seeing Sol back in the side showing all his incredible commitment and love for this club. The man is still a colossus at the back!

  6. Tenz
    February 28, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    A superb article, seeing the boys celebrate that third goal was an emotional moment and one that proved we have the fight in us to win the league. As you rightly point out, everything about Fabregas today was inspirational.

  7. Andrew Weber
    February 28, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    Yes, yes, 3-1. I’m sorry. Let’s focus on the article 🙂

  8. Prashant
    February 28, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Well said and I was thinking about the same thing – this incident, unlike 2006-07 will cause everyone to rally for the cause of winning the premiership. Cesc was massively influential in giving everyone a lift.

    The apologists are already out in full numbers in the Times and Guardian comments section. They claim that the likes of Viera etc were also rough and so we Gunners are hypocrites.

    It seems this country has lost the perspective and can no longer distinguish between a good tackle and a clumsy challenge.

  9. luxinbrasil
    February 28, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    summed it up perfectly again Andy…

    Just a couple of things from me…

    Gutted for Rambo….this season he had started to keep denilson out of the team and really looked like a first team player….i hope its not as bad as it looks and my thoughts are certainly with him…..Cant condone it and am suprised to see Shawcross called up to the england squad hours after the game!…however i was extremely impressed with the other stoke players,,,,especially whelan…he was straight there, helping and holding ramsey….it would have been far easy to turn and gurn but he showed sportmanship and humanity……

    Fabregas is nothing short of perffection and watching him play makes my day…the passing, the penalty, the selflessness and the leading of a team he displayed today shows that if he were to be cut in two you would see the words “Victoria Concordia Crescit” imprinted throughout the middle!

    3 points from top….hull, burnley to name but two in the next few weeks…..Man U and Chelsea still to play each other….exciting times!……

    Wenger said they would drop points…and they are……..

  10. Gerry Thompson
    February 28, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Boys to Men…well maybe a bit dramatic but the parrallels were there with the Birmingham game in ’08 and the Tiny Taylor assault. But this time our captain was our leader. Gallas is having an amazing season but that day he didn’t play the captain’s part. Cesc did today and next time some idiot of a lazy journalist spouts the Cesc to Spain story just remember him today. not just a genuis but a leader…As for Mr Pulis , I had tears in my eyes listening to his heart breaking story about poor Ryan going home with Mummykins…except I hadn’t because again we witnessed the product of the “kick Arsenal” media campaign.. Pulis; Arsene can question your players when they beheave like that. Wait for the “SHAWCROSS IS INNOCENT CAMPAIGN.”

  11. Dan page
    February 28, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    I realy hope Aaron Ramsey recovers soon coz he’s a great player and I’m proud of the hole team get well soon Ramsey there’s only 1 Aaron ramsey there’s only 1 Aaron Ramsey 1 Aaron Ramsey from pagey in Folkestone

  12. Riky-am
    February 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    First of all my wishes go out to Aaron Ramsey and his family and I hope he makes a full recovery.
    As Gooners we get more stick than any other fans out there due to the way the media portrays us and today was like putting a foot in every critics mouth. Our players will never get the level of protection (from referees and the media) they deserve because they’re not a. English and b. because they’re a better footballing team than anyone else in the country. Today looked like the second coming of arsenal to make amends for 2 years ago after the draw against birmingham due to a never free kick and dive for a penalty! today we shoulda had 2 pens (one challenge on Ramsey) and even for the one that was given Andy Gray said it was harsh (he has no sense)! You can’t please everyone but if theres one things Gooners have in common is that we have to overcome more obstacles than the common united, chelsea and liverpool fans. Bring on the title!

  13. 'Yemi
    February 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Shocking tackle mate, most unacceptable. I also tend to believe we are been targeted by some ‘loser’ teams. Even Shawcross knew what he had done and did not contest the referee’s decision. Can you believe the commentators on Sky were actually shocked he got sent off? Annoying stuff mate, I can only imagine how the press would have reacted if it had been Rooney or Gerrard.
    But credit to the lads who refused to allow a repeat of the Birmingham episode. Real display of spirit and mental strength. Sol is a beast, Cesc is best!

  14. Anonymous
    February 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Please we should all pray for two things 1st we should pray seriously for rambo to recover quick secondly we should pray that all our player should be safe from this kind of injury. then we shold beg wayne bridge not to bring soldiers to stanford bridge for distruction again lol…..i think chelsea got punished by a single man’s sin JT.

  15. Stants
    February 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I am one of the silent majority. I love my club and I love the game… We are 5′ 9″ 160 lbs and fair game to the physical stuff. However Rambo’s injury has incensed me. Pulis and Stoke will hide behind the character of the boy and the unfortunate nature of an isolated incident. Unfortunately the reality is different. Week in Week out teams go out to kick Arsenal off the park. Ricardo Fuller made no secret of the tactic and Pulis did nothing to refute his reported comments. It is not rocket science to understand that if you kick enough legs one will eventually break. In that vein it is incredibly rich for Pulis & co to try and spin this as a terrible peice of luck perpetrated by a good boy. A bit like firing a gun and then being surprised when someone gets hit by a bullet. So incredibly sad for such a good lad… I really hope Tony Pulis sees the bigger picture tonight and hangs his head in shame …..

  16. am
    February 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    What if that was Rooney and not Ramsay. Lets see the media reaction then.

    He will still become the best midfielder in the world. I still have faith. Good Luck m8.

  17. The Crab
    February 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ve watched the tackle several times on the web and it is absolutely unforgiveable. Shawcross only starts to swing his left leg after Ramsey has released the ball and it’s a wild, uncontrolled swipe at him.

    Shawcross was probably in tears because a) he’s clearly seriously injured Ramsey b) knows he’s culpable.

  18. gunnerkyv
    February 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I hope this doesnt allow denilson back into the team. everytime he’s in the team, the team look like losing the game.

  19. Wayne
    February 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Cesc is great, but I have two thoughts about your comments on his leadership. When Ramsey was down, I only saw one player trying to get our boys to lift their heads, and that was Clichy. At the the end of the game, Clichy came over to Cesc and then Cesc started to ralley the team. Was that a coincidence?

    Good job Gunners!

  20. KLV
    February 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    By the time Ramsey got injured, we had shown Stoke we could stand up to their physical challenges and can dish out as much. At that time, I was already very pleased with the way our boys played their own physical game. Stoke was stunned, you can tell. Stoke’s players could not respond the way they thought they wanted, ie muscle out Arsenal. They lost their game plan to another team whom they thought they could dominate physically.

    When they lost their game plan, Pulis told them to get rougher. That’s what happened.

    There are distinct differences betw Ramsey’s injury and Eduardo’s.

    After Eduardo, I believe there is a great chance that Ramsey will recover well. I was not so sure when Eduardo got injured. Now I am more confident. But I am not a medical person.

    After Eduardo, the Arsenal team crumbled. Due to many reasons. Partly our innocence and partly our captain then. This time, we will not crumble. We are angrier and hungrier. Besides we have a helluva captain now. I hope we win the League not only for Ramsey, but also for our own future, which starts now.

    After Eduardo, the victim was the criminal. Now, we shall wait and see.

    My best wishes to Ramsey. He has great potential.

  21. Greg Tersakian
    February 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Well Stoke’s bullying tactics led to a defeat and a human disaster. But for me our young Ramsey’s leg is worth much more than their entire club. I am incensed and I am having a very bad and sad day here in Montreal across the Atlantic. Brute and unacceptable force. It almost makes me wish that one of Stoke henchman loses a leg or an arm and hear what their manager Pulis has to say about the character of the perpetrator. I am praying for them to pay a heavy price and have a taste of their poisonous medicine. And finally Pulis’ baseball hat looks awful and no class whatsoever. What a contrast with Wenger, different worlds.

  22. bartman
    February 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    does anyone have a still shot of Cesc shushing that jackass Pulis…I need a new avatar 🙂

  23. Ianinja
    February 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    What happen to Aaron was terrible, It was intentional no doubt about it. I hope all the best for Aaron in his rehab and that he comes out of it an even better, stronger player. He was progressing much better than Walcott, definitely on the way to be a first teamer.

    I do hope Arsene put Rosicky or Nasri to partner Cesc, not Deni since Diaby is out. With Chelsea crumbling to the death stare of Wayne Bridge, I feel ManU is now the team to beat. Its a very tight race to the end, I have a feeling that whether we are crowned champions will be down to Cesc not being injured.

  24. elkieno
    February 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Well I stayed awake till 4:25am to watch this match ending when the sun comes up (I live in Australia). I must say after they scored at 7min, i thought here we go again, they want to make me cringe, yell, cry and cheer before winning the game. Ramsey i feel soo bad for he played well too, but maybe now everyone will see that the only way to beat us is that sort of play, that results in broken legs, 3 of them over a few years!
    When Eduardo broke his leg v Brum in Feb, we were 5 points clear and if we beat them, we would be 8 ahead. We ended up 3rd that season, so maybe this is our chance to turn it around and make thinsg right!!! Cesc is a legend getting the boys around to say WE ARE ARSENAL and WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO GO AL THE WAY!
    best game I have watched for ages!

  25. Hey Nonny Mouse
    February 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    That was a big win. Well done the lads. I’m going to leave off the Ramsey injury because ultimately it is a tough game, it is a physical contact sport and it can be very dangerous. People can literally die. Let’s move on for the time being.
    Aaron was having a very good game and in a way typified the performance which was not a great one, I thought, but a battling one, which is what was required to get the result. This squad of players still has the capacity to surprise me and they showed a true fighting spirit – dominating the game from about the 20th minute til the end. Not great football but good pressure.
    Clichy had a superb game. Welcome back, Gael. Perhaps this bodes well that Denilson, like Diaby as well, might rediscover some form when he steps in as it looks like he will have to.
    Sol was superb. Like Chris Redmond said above I love seeing the guy back in the Arsenal shirt. Bendtner caused Stoke problems up front. Fab – balls of steel to step up and put that penalty away. Arsenal showed true grit to win this match and I salute them for that.

  26. arsenal4ever
    February 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    i can’t believe it i can’t believe it i can’t believe it THIS IS SO UNBELIEVABLE AND RIDICULOUS. my heart is broken, i want and i need aaron ramsey back for the games. I really hope he’ll get well very soon. my heart goes out to him 🙁

  27. Ken
    February 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Those that commit tackles like that, should be banned from football until the player they have injured has started to assume full training, in the case of young Aaron, this looks like he will be out at best until half way through next season. This sort of punishment may not totally stop these type of tackles, but at least the punishment will fit the crime.
    At present a 3 match ban is just a joke.

  28. Tiki
    February 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Good post. I’m still hurting mentally/emotionally. I hope Rambo is ok, he’s a fighter and a fantastic lad. I hope he can bounce back. Shawcross is a twat.

  29. Eddie Yak
    February 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    The referee must certainly be reprimanded or banned because it was him who allowed this tragic incident to happened. The facts were for all to see, he ignored all the dangerous tackles and kept waving play on. Two clear cut penalties were ignored and slow motion replays had proven it. It was the referee’s inaction that lead to the Stoke players getting bolder and rougher as the match progress. Any experienced and serious referee would have seen it and know very well something more terrible will implode but he just carry on as if nothing is needed to quell the blood thirsty Stoke players. Anyway I must say the English FA and the Referees Association are full of craps and it is becoming unrespectable.

  30. spurdozer
    February 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    I do believe Sol was absolutely fabtastic. He showed great mental toughness after the poor Rambo injury. And his joy after the 3rd goal said it all about his commitment and how much he cares. Sol you will always be legend. Ramsey See you soon(on the pitch & watching your magic with the ball.)

  31. B
    February 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    If any of you can remember…. in our last title challenging season… the one with the eduardo injury…..after every winning game all the players would come together at the centre of the pitch to celebrate their win no matter what team they defeated…they havent done that in a long time

  32. eddoen
    February 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Love Arsenal, players had seek effort and play well, Hope Ramsey get well soon, very sad he must rest.

  33. Lil Weezy
    February 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Im ABSOLUTELY GUTTED AT THE INJURY OF AARON RAMSEY!!
    How can you live with yourself knowing you have just destroyed the career of a young felow footballer.

    Number 1, people are saying that Shawcrooss tackle was not malicious (it was a 50/50 ball) Are they mad???!! THAT IS RIDICULOUS!??? look at the replay , he sees Aaron comming and decides to cock back his kick an extra foot in orrder to properly hit the boy..he had the ball, What was there to win!!!????
    Horrific… I wish someone snaps his knee in half next time plays!!! we’ll call it a 50/50 tackle..
    (See picture here: http://www.espnafrica.com)
    Number 2, as much as we hope the kid to recover, this is a very very serious injury.. no doubt the lad will return to play football again, but he will never be the same player, and will never achieve the potential that was expected! We have just lost one of the greatest young talent at Arsenal !
    Eduardo has never recovered, Djibril Cisse, loss of pace, loss of bravery, loss of confidence, loss of hope… they never tackle who holds the ball for too long anymore.. (who can blame them)!!
    POOR POOR AARON.. Why are coping with horrific injuries every season!

  34. Nairobi Gooner
    February 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Thanks Andy for the article and my thoughts and best wishes go out to Aaron Ramsey after that horrific tackle. Hope the EPL officials now stamp out this sort of tackling as it is clearly beginning to become dangerous and targeting our team because of how we play.

    What a great response from the team and the captain to produce the result under the circumstances. Go Gunners let’s take it one game at a time and have that winning steel mentality for each game. With the fixture list as it is we can still believe, bring on Burnley. GO GUNNERS!!!!

  35. Nairobi Gooner
    February 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    And yeah, Sol was fantastic at the back. Good one Sol!!!

  36. Lil Weezy
    February 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    http://www.espnafrica.com

    See the distance where Shawcross kicked Aaron from…(to win a ball, reallly??!!)

  37. ASNLthruNthru
    February 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Not suprised to see Shawcross elected to Ingerland or should say Injurland team.He will do well amongst Capello’s thugs,Terriballs,Rooney,Lampoon,Cashley to mention a few.Shawcross is the result of the Manure project of youth delinquents which is so popular in the UK.So happy to be an expat( except on match days).
    Despite having” been there in ’66 “,I find it impossible to support the present Engerland team.
    Spain vs. Brasil final would be best for World football and for our sanity!

  38. Rohit Sharma
    February 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    First of all, I would like to give good wishes from the bottom of my heart to Aaron Ramsey for his speedy recovery.
    And one more thing I am proud of ARSENAL. They way team kept the composure even after such a disaster shows the great attitude that is required in any champion team.
    And at last well done Cesc. I love you, infact we all love you.

  39. g
    February 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    what i love about this team above all else is that now, they play for each other. they’re a true team that feels and works like a unit.

    i so deeply wish arsenal can take the prem this season or at least die trying to.

  40. americanarsneal
    February 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Ramseys injury is sad, but this was a very important win for Arsenal, and the top of the league seems very very close

  41. ozziearsenal
    February 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    look shawcross put in a full blooded kick while ramsey went to tap it on like he did most of the game.what is a real worry is stoke supporters started to sing shawcross ,s praise,s after he was sent off and I think thats very wrong

  42. Namothy
    February 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Get well Aaron. Your commitment and trust in Arsenala nd Wenger will be repayed. You’ll be the world’s best some day, just like Cesc will.

    Riky-am. Can you imagine what would happen if we started getting the protection that we deserve? It would undermine the whole premier league. There’s a myth that the Premierleague is the best in the world. The connotation is that the teams here play the best football in the world. It is faster and more physical, but better? Certainly not from a footballing quality perspective. If teams like Arsenal are protected, it invalidates the whole English footballing establishment. The Premierleague know this. The FA know this, and Keith Hackett has been made aware of this. Who pays their wages?

    Arsenal are too contrarian for the FA to endorse, we’re against the grain, we refuse to play down to their level. 3/4 of Premierleague football is unwatchable gutter football. 3/4 of Premierleague football is of Championship standard and this is why it’s so tight at the bottom.

    The idea of an elite ‘Premierleague is nothing but a myth and for standing up and playing the game not the politics, not the gamesmanship, we’re punished. The FA and the majority of the UK punditry and sports journalists recocognise this and we’re predjudiced according whether this is a conscious concenscous against Arsenal is doubtful, but the anti-arsenal predjudice is there.

  43. GM-CEO
    February 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    This is your blog and you could have whatever you please on it. but please out of sincererity could you please take down that picture of Ramsey in pains. As a supporter I don’t want to see an Arsenal player leg in that position.
    I’ve never comment on here before but please I say again show some sense and humility and take down the picture.

    God speed Aaron get well soon.

  44. LB
    February 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    It’s been said over and over again, but I have to say it again. This is the reason why English football does not progress. Watch La Liga and see how the bottom teams play Barca and Madrid. They try to outhink them and capitalise on their weaknesses. Kicking people does not come into it, though of course they commit more fouls. But these tackles where legs get broken CLEAN are unheard of. There is a principle at play here, if you tackle someone hard enough that their leg breaks, then you are doing something very wrong, dangerous and unprofessional. In Spain IT IS NOT ALLOWED, PERIOD. But British commentators also say the Spanish are soft, remember Reyes? He was slaughtered in the British media for being soft. No one in Spain thinks he’s soft. In conclusion, watch Spain play and then watch England. That’s the result of thuggery versus football coaching.

  45. DJ RC
    February 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    Well summed up Andy………but pls remove this pic…..i cant take it anymore!!

  46. hers
    February 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Eevery where in the world and in every sport the leaders
    (refs or upires) is not consistant and the people that needs to be blamed is the sport leaders that choose the refs or upires to be in charge of the games, they know the history of the refs or upires. everybody is talking about fare play but it’s not happening.
    Refs word is final, thats bullshit, who is warning the ref for poor judgement during half times.
    get well soon Aaron Ramsey.

  47. MikeSA
    February 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Get well soon Aaron!

    All Gooners will be thinking of you and backing our recovery.

    Your team mates will now be playing for you out there.

    The fans will be cheering and willing the team on for you too.

    On another note:

    It’s no coincidence that this is the third Arsenal player in recent times to suffer an horrific injury like this.

    The blame for this lies directly at the feet of the media and fans who glorify this type of behaviour (especially against Arsenal), and the referees who refuse to blow according to the rules of the game.

    Teams and players know they can get away with behaviour that would get them arrested anywhere other than on a football pitch, and act accordingly.

    Arsenal apparently “don’t like it up ’em”.

    Well, to the nuclear physicists who keep sprouting that one: please direct me to another team or bunch of players who DO like it – how dumb can anyone be?

    You only have to read the xenophobic and intellectually challenged drivel sprouted by that moron, graham poll, to realise that the referees can, and do, have an agenda, and do not blow the games fairly and according to the rules.

    It’s specifically bad against Arsenal, but certainly not confined to us.

    Yesterday a b’ham thug took out a Wigan player, the corner flag AND the referee’s assistant with a blatant, dangerous, late (so late it might has well have been next week) and unneccessary lunge (not in any shape or form could that be described as a tackle).

    I thought it was a straight red card for dangerous play.

    Not even a yellow!!!!!

    The referees, EPL and the FA think that this “robust” play makes them btter than other leagues for some moronic reason.

    These “authorities” must either step up to the plate and govern the game in a mature, sensible, HONEST manner, or get off the pot.

  48. Eirik
    February 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    I actually think that I would blame the referee more than Shawcross. It wasn’t a nice tackle, but the aggression in the game was allowed to build up several times by the referee not protecting the players.

  49. theicehammer
    February 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    @andy well said. Watched it on MOTD this morning, my wife gave me a nose bleed in front of the kids with her hand for the words that came out of my mouth. Strange thing, i felt emotional after third goal to see your boys together showing great team sprit.

  50. ozziearsenal
    February 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    @mike sa you are so right the fa have to change their thinking .the should start by looking at stoke and find out why singing shawcross praise,s after he was sent off is an attuide of english football

  51. GOONER4EVER
    February 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Very well said.Arsenalplayers are the victims of thugs,and no matter how Pulis try to minimize the savage attack on Ramsey,it is still beyond any doubt that the tackle made of Ramsey was horrible!!!!!and Showcross should be banished from the game until Ramsey is back

  52. goonerforlife
    February 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    My sentiments exactly. Was reduced to tears myself and 5 seconds later was ready to murder!! There will be a knot in my throat till I see Ramsey back on the pitch. Hope he has a great and speedy recovery. All the Gooners are behind him 100% !! Fabregas’s actions spoke a BILLION words themselves. I’d rather have one Cesc Fabregas in my team than 11 Christiano Ronaldos or 11 Lionel Messis!! Never been more proud to be a gooner ever!!

  53. ALGunner
    February 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Now it is not about winning the title or not to me it is just ridiculous that why only arsenal player are taken apart like this. Is this what we are getting for playing proper football match in the entire league. We play football they same it should have played. This is just sicking on the part of FA to encourage the type of play teams stokecity play. I mean how can an footballer use an cloth to enhance the throw in. All stoke player I mean it through out the match where not even interested to even keep the ball they were only interested in taking the arsenal player. Today it is Ramsey may be tomorrow it will any body for arsenal. I mean just think of this guy carrier just 19. I think it is high time for FA to discourage this type of physical play other wise it would less of an football and more of an Rugby game. @ Andy or any body may come up with some thing may be and E-mail id or an blog or some kind of an source so that we can send our felling to FA or EPL that would be nice.

  54. Baxter
    February 28, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Cant Belivee This Has Happend To Us Againnn. No Coincedencee Here. Theyy Didnt Even Need 2 Showw A Replayy , You Coulddd Clearlyyy C Whattt Had Happenddd. The Last Timee One Of Our Playerss Had An Injury As Serious As Aarons We Gave Awayy The League. I Hope We Dont Do The Samee Noww Becausee We Have Such A Good Chance Of Winning It With The Games We Have Left.

    I Wish Aaron A Speedy Recoveryyy.

  55. martygra_avfc
    February 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    unlucky leg breakage for your ramsey…
    a lot of people hate on the spanish and italians for diving but it kinda makes sense to get the refs attention! Ashley young is always accused of going to ground quick but honestly your guys should copy him to avoid any leg breakage…I have seen him miss out on so many leg breaking tackles by jumping over reckless defenders…Wish more teams would rather use pace and skill than kick their way to 3 points…

    Hope you guys win the league because man united shouldnt even be a club with all their debt and chelsea’s captain sleeping with teammates lady friends is unacceptable…

    btw i dont think shawcross didnt mean to break ramseys leg but he should have realized he was never going to get the ball and should have never made the challenge…

  56. Mick#10
    February 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    I honestly cannot believe that this kind of thuggery is still allowed; imagine if this kind of challenge was put in on the holy John Terry or flawless Steven Gerrard? The world would end but because it is on some “kid” at a Club who “isn’t up for a battle” it seems to be “too bad that, poor Ryan Shawcross didn’t mean it!” Shouldn’t it be “let’s hang Shawcross out to dry and pity Aaron Ramsey”?

  57. Gooner_aside
    February 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Yes, we wish Rambo a swift and successful return and yes, yesterday was a time to feel proud to be a gunner. Just one question. Have read in blogs about the three bad tackles over the last four years that left players out of action. Was the tackle on Kieron Gibbs thought to be not bad? I think not. They’ll try anything when we’ve got them beaten.

  58. Cesc4life
    February 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Looking forward to your match report…but yesterday’s game made staying up till 6 a.m worth it..not for poor Ramsey’s injury but for the tenacity and spirit those Arsenal boys showed…1-0 down(as usual) against Stoke…Arsenal rallied and dominated..Bendtner was pretty handy up front and got a well deserved goal..his pass won us a penalty which lead to the winning goal..
    What more superlatives can you describe about our Captain?
    Led by example and the rallying of the boys at the end was inspiring stuff…cept’ where was Almunia in the huddle??
    Thoughts go to Ramsey for a speedy recovery and to us winning the league after all that we have suffered through this season..Ramsey’s injuries tops it off…

  59. Cleture
    February 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    My heart goes to Rambo. A speedy recovery too.

  60. joe daddy
    February 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    oh give me a break with all the ” cant believe its a coincidence” BS, are you trying to telling me that there is a conspiracy from all the clubs to break as many Arsenal legs as possible??!
    Are you really believing that these players came into the pitch with one goal on their minds and thats to “destroy as many arses as possible”
    or you are just repeating what that mentally unstable of a coach says and just roll with it?

    stop being so deluded

  61. Arsenal Zulu
    February 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Great post. 3 similar injuries in 4 years is not coincidence – its about the Pommy media v pretty arsenal footie. 3

  62. senior citizen
    February 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    BUT REALLY ARSENAL ONLY? I MEAN EVEN EDUARDO’S INJURY CAME AT THE SAME TIME OF THE MATCH AND WHEN WE WERE LEFT WITH 10 MATCHES TO GO WITH THE TROPHY. WHAT COULD BE THE EXPLANATION IF IT IS NOT BECAUSE THE MEDIA AND THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE A TROPHY CAN’T BE WON BY SUCH YOUNG STAR?

    I AM REALLY ANNOYED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. kaboshio Ali
    March 1, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    spatan guners never give up never sorender. Ramsey will soon be well, and he will come back play better like never before. I wan his family to bear the pains, we the fans feled it than any other person, god bless asene wenger, arsenal fc, fans and england.

  64. shambogunner
    March 1, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    wel put andy,
    nobody outside the arsenal community can understand wot its like to see one of your players lying in agony with such a horrific injury….for the third time!!!!!!
    ignore the media and outside opinion because its clouded by agenda….the media say we arent strong enuf when we lose and than call us hypocrites when we speak out about getting kicked all over the pitch becos of the way vieira and co played,its a sick joke.the porto game was the biggest example of anti-football 2 weeks ago but did you hear our boys complain??i mean watch it again it was a disgrace.
    some people are also missing the point on what happened to aaron.the tackle wasnt a studs up,diving at full speed malicious assault….i can accept that….but what it was was shawcross taking a poor touch and then pulis’s,and everybody elses, instructions on how to stop arsenal coming into effect……..he stopped a gifted arsenal player from setting up a dangerous counter attack AT ANY COST….thats wot these guys are told to do if they lose the ball out of position….he was a centre half along way from home who took a heavy touch and thought ‘il just clatter this lad now,play will stop and il trot back into position’….this is why he is guilty…..fuckin disgraceful,especially after he had confronted fabregas for a legitimate ball winning slide tackle at the end of the first half….fuckin hypocrites them and bolton
    i cant bring myself to say much more except how great it is to hav characters like fabregas,campbell and vermaelen wearin the shirt….
    also credit to eboue,bendtner and glen whelan for their concern for the player when all around them wer wincing
    our thoughts and prayers are with ramsey

  65. MikeSA
    March 1, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    It’s people like the idiotic “joe daddy” further up who can’t get enough brain cells together to look at the issue intelligently that sit at the root of this problem.

    Wenger pointed out only a week or three ago that teams and players gaily announce before games against Arsenal that they intend to “get in their faces” (Fuller before the FA Cup game, in case your memory can’t go that far back “joe”).

    As Arsenal fans and Wenger (a man on a completely different planet to the “joe daddy’s” of this world on an intellectual level), have been pointing out that the attitude from the media, the referees, FA, and gormless morons like “joe” are directly to blame for the fact that these teams go out there and hack the sh!t out of everyone with impunity because they are just too F$^&%g thick to understand what the issue is.

  66. unchained
    March 1, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm

  67. Fabgooner
    March 1, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    You don’t even have to look as far back as the FA cup game vs Stoke, look at the Porto game, when Porto said before that they’ll stop Cesc from playing, and surprise surprise, Cesc had 6-7 fouls committed on him at half time, with the same number not given.

    It’s not a conspiracy theory. Teams say that they’ll kick us off the park. They go ahead and do it, surprise surprise, 3 leg breaks in 4 years (Diaby was in March 2006).

  68. DenverGooner
    March 1, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Watching this game yesterday was such a mixed bag of emotions; from complete desperation on our inability to deal with the play from stoke, to the sickness and disbelief in watching Aaron Ramsey injured, to the absolute sheer joy of watching a penalty finally being awarded. These are the types of moments and games that makes a Gooner for life!

  69. iceman
    March 1, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    As usual, a brill blog. I am so incensed at the tackle that I cannot really come to terms. The thuggery aimed at Arsenal is shameful, both physically – by shite teams who clearly are ovewhwelmed by pure football – and the gutter press whose ‘we hate Arsenal and Wenger’ campaign grows ever strong. I wonder what would happen to Shawcross if he had scythed down Rooney? I feel that the violence now vented against Arsenal has reached the point where we should even question going over the white line against some teams. I can still hear the screams when Diaby was assaulted at Sunderland and remember very clearly watching the colour drain from Cesc’s face at St Andrews. Now this, an over the top, violent act of thuggery which could have ruined the career of one of the best talents in the world. Shawcross is not blameless or innocent. He has assaulted players before – Jeffers broken ankle for one, and what about his violence against Adebayor? It is clear that nobody likes Arsenal – god forbid they win the league. There is even one tosser of a journalist who says that if we win it we will be the most undeserving club to ever steal it. Nuff said. The sick feeling remains. I truly hope that we stuff it to every critic and win the league – and if we do it on the last day make sure that every player carries Aaron’s name on their shirt.

  70. billi
    March 1, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    great comment @ DenverGooner ❗

  71. chinaman
    March 1, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    i’ve not read your blog before but am very impressed, plus some good posts from readers unlike some of the other blogs where you can get a bit of pondlife trying to write.
    cesc is a winner and a fantastic character, but props to gael clichy as a couple of the posts have said – he was fantastic yesterdayand really up for the scrap. his best game for a couple of years maybe. It feels good having Campbell and Vermaelen in there too – this could be our year. we’ve got some good characters in there this time.

  72. arse
    March 1, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    Don’t worry. His family and teammates are going to rally around poor Ryan during his lengthy 3 game ban.

    http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,1805_5991798,00.html

    How will he survive having to be picked up from training by his mummy after training every day without the prospect of playing at the weekend?
    A quote from his second cousin who was at his mummy’s house when the hero returned on saturday evening said “Poor ryan was devastated, his mummy thinks some warm coco and cookies should perk him right up”.

    Lets hope the young boy can learn from his mistake, wether Ryan will ever be the same again is up for debate.

  73. ALGunner
    March 1, 2010 at 6:01 am #

    @Avik ..Thanks dude…Can’t forget about what happen to Ramsey. But posting there for ramsey made me fell better. Just Hope he comes back soon. Hope the FA will do some thing to team like stokecity and ETC. They don’t play football. Come on FA do something.

  74. Ian
    March 1, 2010 at 6:27 am #

    The injury to Rambo overshadowed the game. I honestly think Shawcross’s tackle was more clumsy than with malice. He was distraught after the tackle and i would like to think that any professional sportsman doesn’t go onto the pitch with the intention of crippling his fellow professional. Maybe I’m wrong? With regards to Arsenal and to Cesc I think your right Andy, the team showed true spirit and maturity to come through the match. There is always going to be a physical aspect to teams like Stoke, plainly and simply because they have very little else to give and because the media in England perpetuates the myth that the only way to beat Arsenal is by “kicking us off the park”. The media are as much to blame for Rambo’s and Eduardo’s injuries as the players carrying out the tackles as they “encourage” the use of physical force as the way to beat Arsenal! Very sad indeed and I hope Rambo makes a speedy and full comeback.

  75. Angie
    March 1, 2010 at 7:08 am #

    Still chocked about Ramsey’s injury! and I feel it’s just a series of unlucky event for arsenal! What is it with us and injuries? are we targeted ? are other team doing this knowing that this is a younger team? or it s just a dark moment in our history?
    I kept asking myself those questions!
    Fabregas was incredible yesterday! He showed how much heart he had, and even if he is young, he showed great leadership and cool! I just think that we have an amazing player, that is going to be a legend! I hope he will be with us a very very long time! I can’t see Arsenal without him! it’s just impossible!

    I agree with you Andrew, he was incredible!

    About Adebayor I just read an article in the Sun, saying that we should know the truth about his leaving!
    why did he speak now ? we did he try to fight it back then ? I feel that he is too scared of the fans when he will have to play at the emirates…Can’t he just turn the page and go on! ?? I don t think he got along with the team, no one knows what was the problem with him.

  76. RGJ
    March 1, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Enough been said already abouth the Ramsay injury. On the game, I thought Clichy priobably had his best game all season, and Vermeulen and Campbell both looked solid. Totally agree about Fabregas, another great wek in my Fantasy League team! Loved Bendtner’s goal – how long has it been since an Arsenal forward scored a ehader from a cross?! Also, great outcome at the Bridge – couldn’t happen to a nicer team!!!

  77. shottagunner
    March 1, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Fox feed refused to replay it due to disgust.
    We are The Arsenal and this is war. War. All out fcuking war. How long are these media shitscum going to continue to defend the indefensible? The “physical’ the “robust” “the good old fashioned challenge”. Lets be clear – you are condoning violence and career threatening injury. Pulis, Hansen, Shearer, Allardyce and all you scum. Fcuk you all you c**ts and burn in hell.

  78. wolas
    March 1, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    You Arsenal fans want to play schoolboy football. It makes no difference what age anyone is. The injury was unfortunate not deliberate and you need to look at you own lot for deliberate. I am no fan of Chelsea but Eboue’s two footed jump that injured Terry a couple of seasons ago. Van Persie regularly makes bad challenges. Do me a favour. Southern morons

  79. americanarsneal
    March 1, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    I have a general question, I understand that the PFA young player of the year is only eligible to players under the age of 23. Fabregas turns 23 on may 4th of this year. so could he win the award? the season ends on the 9th so if he is young enough for that award i think there is no doubt he would win it. I also think that he will be in a tough race for player of the year in EPL with drogba and rooney. they will be tough to beat

  80. dave m
    March 1, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    @ wolas. Why don’t you come down south and say that?

    On Ramsey, my heart goes out to him. His talent will be missed (for the time being anyway). I must say Eduardo has never really come back to form after his injury. He too was on fire before his disaster. I just hope Arsenal send Eduardo to Aaron’s bedside to give him belief. It’s tragic for any player but I must say that it was a 50-50 ball. It was just one of those things. Not like the Eduardo incident which was studs up.

    God bless a speedy recovery.

  81. Jess
    March 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I am shocked by the amount of people who want to brush away what has happened to Aaron by saying “oh Arsenal players make bad tackles too!”

    You are using specious reasoning and it has to stop. Van Persie making a “bad” tackle in a couple of games does not change the fact that a young man was very hurt in what could have been a career ending challenge. Shawcross maybe a very nice person but that does not change the fact that what he did was unacceptable.

    Taking Arsenal down by any means possible does not make you “hard”, “tough” and “physical” or any other word you try and justify these types of displays with. It means that you cannot reach the level of talent needed to play the game in the way it is meant to be played.

  82. sabastiane
    March 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Cesc please, please stay a long time with Arsenal.

  83. Ianinja
    March 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    It wasn’t a 50-50 challenge as Shawcross leg was high. Ramsey broke his tibia and fibia which means the contact occured at the calf area where the joints/nerves from the shin(tibia) connects to the calf area(fibia). I know a bit about this as I have a hairline fracture on my tibia. The tackle may not have malice but the point was it was reckless. Shawcross tried to execute a so called professional foul but he just screwed it up.

    And to the Stoke fan who claim we play schoolboy football all I can say is at least we play football rather than try to be a a bad imitation of a rugby team. Oh wait Delap throws aren’t even close to a rugby team, more like a handball team. Yeah! Stoke are the famous rough n tumble handball team! I bet Stoke could win the women’s handball world cup.

  84. Tiki
    March 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    @wolas: You are a mug.

    You are missing the goddamn point. ALL FUCKING BAD CHALLENGES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!

    That is what we are getting at, we don’t want special treatment, we just want goddamn fair and equal treatment. When a Stoke lad gets his leg broken by some no-skill clogger then come and talk to us. Muppet.

  85. ALGunner
    March 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    @ wolas . May be you are Alice in wonderland. You are Chelsea fan may you are going MAD after you team lost at Bridge. I have four words for you. “Boy open you’re eye”.
    We are the best football playing team in the EPL. We are just behind for 5 season in terms of trophy bcz our management have an long term project for Arsenal FC. Not like you people who are depending the Bones thrown by some Roman idiot. No one can deny that we are best football playing team in the world on our day. And about the bad challenges made by arsenal players than I think you should just ask you’re self. You’re old old Chelsea don’t have the legs so they are bound to make more bad challenges than us. Terry, Ballack ,Carvalho makes that kind of challenges in all the matches. WAKE UP @wolas.

  86. ALGunner
    March 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    @wolas. Just Forgot one thing what i would like to ask you. Tell Me what will the style of football you would like to play or you want you’re family member or you’re child if you have would like to play. The way the Stoke city or Chelsea play. Or Copy us. It is Simple.

  87. Sola Bamigboye - From Naija
    March 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    u will recall my thoughts on Am I the only Arsenal fan who isnt afraid of stoke? and i told you of the Steel the Boys have added to their game. you all saw dem dish out the tackles as they come. They are indeed B2M – boys 2 men and lets ssee how it goes from here.
    Horrible tackle indeed and lets hope the FA will apply stiffer penalties to all the bullies – Chelsea, Stoke, Hull, Bolton, etall who take solace in damaging the careers of up and coming boys, particularly Arsenal goons…

    Well done.

  88. Giddie- Nairobi
    March 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    what a good result overshadowed buy a reckless, unacceptable and intentional tackle so to speak, I call it intentional because looking at stoke’s mentality was not to play but to stop us from playing no matter what. You could see that when we had the ball those guys could use force, rough, pushing and such to win the ball back i wish aaron Ramsey quick recovery.

  89. James Ndungi - Nairobi
    March 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Ramsey, Get well soon, May you rise and shame them all.

    Fabrigas – Bravo, Kuddos and all the words that go with best perfomance, there is no doubt we shall lift up the trophy this season going by saturdays performance, that is for sure.

  90. seyenija
    March 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    My best wishes for Ramsey i wish he recover sooner than expected. Andy thanks for your posting before the match about your confidence in us beating Stoke it gave me courage to watch the match.Kudos to all our players on parade for a wonderful match. I wish we win the title to show these people that don’t play kick and follow football to win title or stay in the premiership but nice football can still win title.

  91. dampatti
    March 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Firstly, sorry for the long post.

    I’d just like to add my thoughts on this. I am an Arsenal fan who was at the game on Saturday; not that that validates any of my points but I would like it to be known that I am a genuine fan with at least a element of knowledge about the game.

    Firstly, anyone who could ever believe that Shawcross went in with any malice is moronic; but I think that is a point made on several occasions that probably doesn’t need repeating. There is no way he would have gone in for that challenge any differently had Stoke been playing, for argument’s sake, Hull. He is a professional who I would expect to play the game with the same commitment whatever the circumstance. I do not think people go out to try to harm Arsenal players, and misfortune has clearly played a role in the extent of the 3 injuries Wenger has been referring to recently.

    All this talk of intent or malice, however, detracts from the main point, and that is that the challenge was reckless, and a poor one. If the challenge were 100% fair and clean, Ramsey would be fine today. I think it highlights the point that reckless and thoughtless challenges need to be cut out of football, but there is one main reason for this, and that is the modern pace of the game.

    Football has become so much quicker over the past 10-15 years. The players are more slender, technical and quick. All this means that when you go into a challenge at pace, you are more likely to see outcomes like the one yesterday. I know football is a contact sport, and I’m not suggesting cutting out tackling or making the game a non-contact one. What I am saying, however, is that unfortunately because the game has changed, the rules need to adapt to reflect this and protect players’ safety. People need to have it drummed into them that reckless and thoughtless challenges, such as yesterday’s, are not acceptable, because as the speed of the game increases, it is more and more likely that someone is leaving the stadium in an ambulance if you tackle in this manner.

    The same thing has happened with the two-footed tackle. These types of challenges have become almost taboo nowadays, and people have little sympathy for players who get dismissed as a result of these kinds of challenges, even if they win the ball. Football’s governing bodies have decided that due to increased pace in the game, these challenges are more dangerous and need to be stopped, and hats off to them. In my opinion, we have a better game for it. You need a physical side to the game, but dangerous challenges need to stop to protect players.

    I actually agree with Wenger that the fact that these injuries have happened to Arsenal are not co-incidence, but not for the same reasons. I think it is because Arsenal players are the epitome of the modern footballer: slender, technical, quick, athletes. This means that they are more likely to get to the ball just before their opponent in 50/50 challenges. If the opponent comes in with a thoughtless challenge, injury in these situations is a lot more likely. The more football progresses, the more players are going to be of the stature of Arsenal’s current players, and therefore the more these challenges will cause such damage. This is why I believe it needs to stop. Players need to be taught how to tackle properly and cleanly; a point Paul Hart made on Goals on Sunday this morning that I completely agree with.

    A final point I would like to make is one someone may have made before, but I’m not sure. At the game yesterday, a lot of the Arsenal fans off to my right were getting very angry with the Stoke fans whilst Ramsey was receiving treatment, and I wasn’t completely sure why; but I heard from fellow Arsenal fans after the game that some Stoke fans were singing “He’s only got one leg”.

    I cannot and will never get my head around this. I know football fans can be idiotic in the heat of the moment sometimes, but as a human being I can’t see what could go through someone’s mind to behave in this manner when a fellow human is just yards away from you in such agony. It makes me lose faith in the human race when I think that such people could exist

  92. steve ryder
    March 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Arsenal had 3 very good penalty shouts that match and were given the one that was least a penalty. If Ramsay had been given the 100% penalty earlier in the game, events would have unfolded differently, and maybe he wouldn’t have got crippled.

    – The game had a perfect example of how well the FA and the refs are policing football. Shawcross ends someone’s career (This isn’t an overstatement. Eduardo came back eventually but he will never be the player he was) and will get a 3 game ban. Alex Song had his arm pulled by Delap in a shoulder to shoulder challenge and will get a 2 game ban with no opportunity to appeal an obviously wrong decision. Sounds fair to me.

    – Cesc Fabregas is a f**king hero. If JT wants to see how a real captain should behave, just have a look at Cesc.

    – Last time this happened Arsenal went to pieces. This time it looks like it will galvanise the team. I never really had any realistic hope of us winning the league this year, but now I’m beginning to think it just might be possible. Assuming we have 11 players to put on the pitch.

  93. Avik
    March 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    GOOD BOY SHAWCROSS LINKS-
    http://content.thisis.co.uk/sentinel07/homepage/ad_panel/sentinel_backpage.pdf -Obviously he wasnt satisfied by breaking only one leg in his career. He wanted to grow up to become just like his role model Roy Keane.

    http://www.twitvid.com/3BCE0 -Here’s how shawcross kicked
    adebayor out with a late late blasphemous
    tackle.

  94. hamish
    March 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Amidst all the recriminations over Shawcross’ uncontrolled lunge, there are
    a few points to make about the game at Stoke.

    1. Cesc Fabregas showed real leadership on the pitch. Arsenal haven’t had much of that since Vieira left, and the contrast with Gallas two years ago was immense. His second half performance was magnificent, and for the umpteenth time this season he was the player who made the difference. If we lose him in the summer, at least we’ll be able to look back with pleasure on watching the development of the player who I think is the finest of his type ever to play in our league.

    2. Peter Walton is very lucky that the result went the way it did, after a very weak display of refereeing. The penalty he gave was far less clear cut than the two that he failed to give. There is no doubt whatsoever that he would have given free kicks elsewhere on the pitch for the blatant fouls on Ramsey and Bendtner. Failing to give penalties was just feeble. If I hear another manager moaning about penalty decisions favouring the big clubs, I may commit murder. And now Arsenal will lose Song for two games because Walton gave him a yellow card for something that wasn’t even a foul. At least he got the red card right. Yes, the challenge was more reckless than malicious – he was off balance and moving at speed – but there was really no other way of dealing with the situation than to get Shawcross off the pitch. For those in the mailbox who take issue with Wenger’s reaction, I’d have more sympathy with your point of view if Stoke players hadn’t publicly stated their intention to rough Arsenal up. You can’t have it both ways.

    3. Arsenal have coped incredibly well with a large number of injuries this season – their squad is evidently far stronger than most people seem to think, and arguably deeper than Chelsea’s and United’s. Even where Arsenal are weak – in goal – Fabianski may be less of a joke as a stand-in than Hilario. Or rather as a “stand-up” as the commentator so amusingly put it on Wednesday. And it’s good to have Bendtner back – his height is very useful at both ends of the pitch.

  95. joe
    March 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Fabregas’s tackle on danny pugh was a worse challenge. it was late, there was intent and it was from behind. it was more deserving of a red card. lets not forget gallas’s horrific challenge on davies, though none of ye of course saw that and ye applaud ian wright’s assault on schmeicel. i didnt want fabregas to leave the league as i though he was good for it, but the sunner he packs his bags to spain the better.

  96. Moriaso Wa Kenya
    March 1, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Well said. Please Arsenal should win the league for Aaron Ramsey. I couldn’t help crying at the scene of the horrific challenge…quick recovery lad.

  97. stoke city
    March 2, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    right, i am a stoke fan and i dont think its fair that because of this we get even more slaughtered for what we play to our strengths with, ryan has gone in for a 50/50 ball and was stopped by Bendtner before he went in for the tackle, now im sorry mr wenger, but your comments were innapropriate and if you dont like stoke and the way we play football, maybe you should move to another country and take all of your foreign players with you who think the same as you. we only have to look back to this fixture last season when stoke were toying with you and griffin shouldered it down to sorenson, then out of no where van persie comes up and shoulders sorenson in the face, but no, that was a 50/50 ball wasnt it? And if you dont know what i mean, watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNPDTivssKk&feature=related Now tell me we are only out to hurt arsenal and they are all so innocent…….

  98. Avik
    March 2, 2010 at 3:24 am #

    Dear Mr. Stoke City Fan, DID U WATCH THAT MATCH? The number of tackles you guys put in from back and the bookings u got tells the story of the last year match. A shoulder butt was the least we could do after you guys kicked the shit out of every teenager in our team. BUT of course, that shoulder butt MIGHT HAVE GOUGED SORENSEN’s EYES OUT!! Keep your pathetic stupid misinformed comments to yourself.

  99. stoke city
    March 2, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    look, i wish aaron ramsey a full recovery but i commented to say it shouldnt be an opportunity for all you arsenal fans to jump on the bandwagon and see it as an oppotunity to have a dig at stoke and ryan shawcross, these things happen in football and you are not targets or injured on purpose, you just have to get on with it, and unfortunately it has happened to ramsey, shawcross has no bad bone in his body but arsenal are no saints either.

  100. Luke
    March 2, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    It was a bad tackle but not a sending off because ramsey went in with a lot of momentum

  101. Lou
    March 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    Best wishes to Ramsey, I hope he makes a full recovery.

    I don’t believe that Shawcross did a great deal wrong, though. One mistake that many people are making is to look at the incident as some sort of connected extension to the other, similar, injuries sustained by Arsenal in recent years. Neither Shawcross nor Stoke were involved in any of those incidents, and the only way to look at this one is to look at the incident itself. In my opinion, both Shawcross and Ramsey go in very fast and very hard for a 50/50 ball. Ramsey’s injury seems to have resulted from combination of timing (Ramsey reached the ball a fraction of a second before Shawcross), positioning (the way Ramsey’s foot was planted in the ground, and also seemed to be slightly twisted, meant that it couldn’t bend to absorb any of the impact) and the size and weight difference between the two players (Shawcross is 6’5″, and solidly built).

    I’ve seen some talk of “unbroadcast footage” (see Mick Dennis in the Express and various other whisperings on the net) that shows Ramsey’s leg buckling before the impact. I’ll believe that if and when I see it, but like I say, the unfortunate position of Ramsey’s foot certainly seems to have exacerbated the injury. I’d go as far as to say that if Shawcross had planted his foot like that, he would be the one being stretchered off the pitch. Whether or not this unbroadcast footage exists (and whether or not it shows what’s been claimed), Shawcross is guilty of nothing more than committing fully to getting a 50/50 ball. He didn’t go in two-footed, his foot was acceptably low, and he went laces rather than studs first. The incident happened at such speed that there’s absolutely no chance he could have pulled out or prevented the collision once he’d committed to getting the ball (and he seems to have committed to it before Ramsey did, at a point where Shawcross was closer to the ball, which emphasises the speed at which Ramsey was moving).

    Looked at in isolation, Ramsey’s injury is a terrible accident. Ramsey’s as committed to reaching the ball as Shawcross is, and the fact that it results in a horrible injury is unfortunate. By all means discuss what you perceive to be excessive force used against Arsenal, but please do not hold Ramsey’s injury as an example of such force, because it simply isn’t one.

    Incidentally, there’s an article on the Guardian website that might interest you with regards to Stoke being excessively physical or dirty against Arsenal. The section that interests me, if true, is this:
    ‘After all, the latest Opta statistics reveal that Stoke City, generally no shrinking violets when games turn a little physical, have committed fewer fouls against Arsenal than any other Premier League team in recent seasons.’
    Link:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/mar/02/roughing-up-arsenal-plan

    As for Fabregas, I disagree (when do football fans not?!)with your glowing praise. I’m actually quite shocked that you praise him for the fact he “brought down one of the Stoke players from behind”. It was actually quite a bad foul in my opinion – certainly deserving of a talking-to by the referee, and easily a yellow card when combined with several other dangerous tackles he made throughout the match.
    Here’s a picture of the tackle you praise him for: http://i46.tinypic.com/2vjc5ch.jpg
    And on a related note, here’s a slightly high, studs-up challenge on Whitehead, that also went unpunished:
    http://i46.tinypic.com/240wso6.jpg

    I’m not saying that Fabregas is a dirty player, or that Arsenal deliberately fouled Stoke (I’m not into conspiracy theories), but it’s erroneous for (some, but not all) people connected with Arsenal to imply that Arsenal are completely innocent victims who never commit potentially dangerous fouls. In my opinion, Fabregas’ fouls yesterday owed a lot to poor refereeing. If the referee had spoken to him early on – say, after he clattered Shawcross from behind early in the game – then he probably would have been less eager to commit the other fouls.

    I see that you, like so very many Arsenal supporters reporting on this match, have failed to mention the way that some Arsenal players reacted after Ramsey’s injury. It’s perfectly understandable to be shocked and upset, but the way that players such as Campbell and your ‘inspirational’ Fabregas shouted and crowded around the referee, the linesman, the Stoke players and a visibly distraught Ryan Shawcross struck me as ridiculous, especially in that they obstructed the referee’s access to Ramsey.

    I see that you’ve failed to mention the fact that, from Ramsey going down to being stretchered off, the one person on the pitch who stayed with him the whole time – talking to him, comforting him, supporting his head, stopping him from looking at the injury – was Stoke’s Glenn Whelan. If you want to see an example of “cool, composed…and inspirational” in Saturday’s match, look at Whelan.
    Link: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-23811008-glenn-whelan-how-i-tried-to-help-stricken-aaron-ramsey.do

    Whelan deserves an absolutely enormous ‘thank you’ from everyone at Arsenal Football Club, and whilst I’m sure Ramsey will be in touch to express his gratitude, his actions will probably go unacknowledged by the club and Wenger, because they don’t fit the accepted idea that Stoke players are cruel, heartless thugs who’d knock their grandmothers over to get a point against Arsenal.

    Anyway, I’ve ranted quite enough – this could almost be an article in itself, rather than a comment.
    Congratulations on a deserved win on Saturday – whilst I disagree with your completely shining assessment of Fabregas, I do think it’s admirable the way the team went on to win the game. I know I made a point of talking about various fouls in the game, but on Saturday Arsenal were the most physical they’ve ever been against Stoke, and for the most part looked enormously better for it (I’m not sure Wenger will want to hear that, but it’s true).

    Most of all though, I’d like to wish Ramsey a full and smooth recovery. He’s a very promising player and I can’t wait to see him play again.

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