Supporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.

On the Ramsey/Shawcross affair, we still await the thoughts of Monty and Rupert, names that somehow seemed to personify posh London football support when they were announced on tannoy at Arsenal v Sunderland. Lots of others, notably Gooners, have had their say, however, and not least at Salut! Sunderland …

Just before the kickoff of Stoke v Arsenal, the TV screen (sound down) showed Arsène Wenger and my football-loathing wife started on about how much better dressed, better spoken, more intelligent, better everything he was than your usual football character.

She’s French so would say as much. But it’s a view that I happen, up to point, to share.

Arsène is immensely bright, eloquent in at least two languages and, though this would be lost on my wife, deserving of huge credit for transforming Arsenal from quite successful but dull into quite successful and exciting. If the title race is now a three-horse one, it is Manchester United and Chelsea that I want to see as disappointed runners up on the final straight.

Up to a point, I said.

Well, it is hardly original, but it is true none the less. Arsène ‘s selective acknowledgement and disapproval of unfair or violent play, and his disdain for teams that do not or cannot play like his, will inevitably diminish the admiration of many neutrals.

On Saturday night, shocked by the injury to Aaron Ramsey, I wrote some quick words of sympathy on Salut! Sunderland. There was no defence of clogging, no defence of Ryan Shawcross, no dispute with the red card. And I repeated my hope that Arsenal would go on and win the Premier.

Where contention arose, it was because I mildly raised the following points:

* that the challenge by Shawcross, though late and reckless, was devoid of malice

* that he deserved his punishment (and maybe even to be excluded from the England squad for the Egypt friendly) – but not to be treated as a pariah

* that Arsen/al/e should rise above their justified anger and sadness and accept that their own players are not saints who would never dream of committing serious foul play or cheating

On a match-free (for Sunderland) Saturday, the response was astonishing. More than 1,000 visits over the next two or three hours – a lot for this site – and a big electronic postbag (unheard of here).

There was anger, forcefully but fairly expressed. There was a little gratitude, which was very welcome, for our sympathy and encouragement for Aaron. And there was a sprinkling of abuse from neanderthals in terms Arsene is unlikely to have added to his everyday use of English.

Among those who criticised my views, a few singled out Lorik Cana’s challenge on Eboue at the Emirates as a lunge that should have brought a straight red. No one mounted a plausible defence of Cesc Fabregas’s clear yellow card offence on Mensah at a time when he had already been booked, though they did say his first card was undeserved (which is hardly the point).

But we have been consistent at this site, partisan as it is. We have declared ourselves firmly against illegal play, in all its forms and whoever commits it.

And regular readers will yawn when I say, yet again, that there has been disturbing lack of discipline in the Sunderland ranks. This has led to self-destructive suspensions. When Cattermole and Meyler were sent off at Portsmouth, they received no sympathy here.

While Cana’s combative qualities are appreciated (though his general standard of play has deteriorated sharply during our long run of draws and defeats), he has a reckless streak, as the clip shows. As another intelligent man (and polyglot), he must be aware of this – and either curb it or have it curbed for him.

But Arsenal had a (much better) player with similar steely qualities not long ago, and under Wenger. Vieira is name, and he has shown of late that he is not quite ready yet to shirk from potentially dangerous challenges. It is in the nature of some players to go in hard, whether they’re playing in the Top Four part of the Premier or battling against relegation. And such players will always pick up cards.

You do not need to have a down on Arsenal, or to believe opposing managers are right to instruct their players to mount physical assaults on their talented players, to think Gooners protest too much. Gallas showed against Bolton, and in that well-documented footage of his series of assaults on Nani that he can lunge and kick out with the best of them.

There is no need to say much about diving here – what happened to Aaron Ramsey is far, far more important – but it is reasonable to point out that much of the sympathy Eduardo rightly received, after he was on the end of a career-threatening challenge, evaporated when he made his name synonymous with cheating.

It is a fault of Arsène Wenger that he rarely admits to having seen the transgressions of his players. He is not alone in that, and managers have a duty to defend their squads when necessary, but he does seem to have made it a trademark.

None of this is intended to suggest that Arsenal are a remotely dirty team – the football they play is usually a credit to the Premier – and nor does it exonerate footballers from other clubs, Sunderland included, who commit bad fouls against them. I am grateful to (the majority of) the Gooners who shared their thoughts here on Saturday night, but ask them to regain a sense of proportion and stop imagining that the world is out to get them.


Colin Randall

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34 thoughts on “Supporting Arsène, Arsenal and Aaron. And, a little bit, Ryan.”

  1. Salut AJF Gooner: c’est top. Tu n’a pas raison, mais c’est super drole.

    Desole mais j’suis presse; j’ai mes propos et textes de Hitler/Mussolini/Petain/Laval a memoriser pour mon blog fascist de chiottes. Et bien sur, il faut practiquer mon francais.

  2. “AJF Gooner: Non, mon brave, je crois qu’il a bien plongé; tout le monde le sait sauf Uefa et les Gooners. Il a merité une carte jaune, pas une penalty. T’a identifié le problème: les supporteurs d’Arsenal, comme l’entraineur, ne voient que certaines choses. Le titre “Eduardo question”, c’est plutot une plaisanterie. Si tu préfère, on peut la rebaptiser “la Question N’Gog”.

    OK man.

    NON tout le monde ne le sait pas. J’ai bien regardé le penalty de Eduardo. Sous le bon angle même un aveugle verrait bien qu’il y a non seulement contact, mais que le joueur est tombé de façon non intentionnel. Le penalty est incustable encore sauf pour la presse insulaire aveuglement barricadée dans l’anti frenchies pas cher qui fait sauter de joie tous les hooligans qui n’ont plus que les médias et les blogs dignes des chiottes du fascisme et de la xénophobie post crise 1929, pour faire parler leur rancœur et leur médiocrité au nom de la défense des pauvres et des faibles qui ne sont que leurs victimes en attente.

    Ces connards d’anglais jouent mal au foot comme il y a un siècle. Tout le monde a évolué sauf eux.
    Nullards qu’ils sont ils veulent voir le football régresser à leur niveau. Tellement nul qu’ils ont souvent rater les compétitions internationales depuis 1666! (l’année de la bête et de la brutalité qui enverra Pelé à l’hôpital et la coupe en Angleterre).
    (Un retour en arrière à la brutalité des contacts physiques de l’époque peu glorieuse de la domination éphémère et jamais répétée de WC 1966, ne donnerait pas les resultats. Des pays comme le Cameroon ou le Nigeria et même le Senegal avec l’URUGAY gagneraient à tous les coups contre les petits anglais qui ont besoin de leur maman à la vue du sang qu’ils ont versé par leur nullité.)

    EDuardo a toutes les preuves et les images de son coté, et c’est Wenger qui est accusé de vision selective ?
    Mais si cela ne suffit pas aux détracteurs de Arsenal, que pouvons nous faire ?
    Le gars a été trainé dans la boue, et blanchi par un tribunal, que faut il de plus pour être réhabilité dans les esprits dotés d’un minimum de bonne foi ?

    Je te prie de bien regarder encore le penalty contre le celtic. Il est bien merité. Mais je vois que tu ne parle de Babel qui a ruiné nos chances en CL devant le monde entier. Si une équipe minable comme le celtic largement battu sur son terrain, veut se chercher des excuses, ça les regarde. Mais jamais, nous ne laisserons les esprits mal intentionnés se payer la tête d’un gars honnête injustement accusé, sous prétexte d’humour.
    Mais parlant d’humour, tu es pardonné petit bonhomme, car l’humour n’est pas français comme nous le savons tous 🙂

  3. Gerry: I suppose I want the best of both worlds – the fabulous skills of the best players and the old-fashioned grit of men like, in Sunderland terms, Kevin Ball, Charlie Hurley and Joe Bolton (though Hurley could play a little, too). And Vieira would hardly be out of place in such a category. That isn’t the same as wanting leg-breaking thugs dotted around the game, but I would say that even in the old days, I could tell the difference. Leeds were the team everyone of my youth considered a bunch of cloggers, whatever skill they also had. I was as contemptuous of that then as I am of dangerous challenges today. IF the game is now less and less one of contact, an exciting element of football will be lost. It really is a question of whether stylish and combative play can co-exist.

    AJF Gooner: Non, mon brave, je crois qu’il a bien plongé; tout le monde le sait sauf Uefa et les Gooners. Il a merité une carte jaune, pas une penalty. T’a identifié le problème: les supporteurs d’Arsenal, comme l’entraineur, ne voient que certaines choses. Le titre “Eduardo question”, c’est plutot une plaisanterie. Si tu préfère, on peut la rebaptiser “la Question N’Gog”. Ou peut-etre, lui aussi, il est innocent. Oui, j’aime écrire sur Arsenal mais pourquoi pas? C’est un site web de football, tout d’abord Sunderland mais le sport aussi.

  4. Interesting stuff. Think ‘Tony H’ has got it spot on in all the replies. It’s an English conditioning of English players by English Managers. Ron Chopper Harris is still lauded today, always on the radio for his so called punditry. This is a man who has gloated for over 40 years how he took-out Eddie Grey Leeds best player so that Chelsea could win the FA Cup. A thug of a player who is heralded. We don’t wax lyrical about players like Tony Currie or Frank Worthington from the past, no, we revel in Norman bite-yer-legs Hunter and Tommy Smith and Chopper Harris.

    Sad isn’t it.

  5. You like to write about us. Some of us like your team (Sunderland) because of his good management style.

    But your ‘Eduardo question” is malicious, ungracious and really desapointing. How many people did actually see Eduardo dive ? There were contact, and he didn’t dive. The court say he didn’t dive, but the hysteric, blend, xenophobic england keep lying and influencing referees against the Arsenal.
    England is fast becoming a country of modern holligans who like to see blood on the field.

  6. Pubs turning out early, are they, AJF Gooner and TV5?

    My piece cannot be “objective”, “top post”, “good article” etc – all according to Gooners – and suddenly the product of biased, blinkered, xenophobic mindset. I suspect Monty and Rupert are stirring things up.

  7. Look, fair play to you for at least trying to take an intelligent stand point. But, it is not a question of malice. It is the fact that a player has gone into a challenge with such force, that it has smashed the bones of an opponent. That and the words of encouragment of that players manager before the game and at half time.

    Before the FA Cup game, Fuller came out and said what the game plan would be vs Arsenal;

    Be aggressive, physical, get in their faces and try and bully them. It is the standard mantra of the likes of Alladyce, McClkeish and yes, Pulis.

    And one can only imagine how geed up these players are after such words of wisdom…

    They go out onto the pitch, not to inuure, but intimidate and look what happens? Reckless, over the top, unneccesary challenges that will forever hold England back as long as they condone this type of prehistoric thuggery.

    I have no problems with tackles, genuinely mistimed or otherwise. My problem is with this whole ethos about how great this English obsession is with grit and overtly aggressive “football”.

    But, whats the point?

  8. Football’s a contact game ? I don’t think so. Watch Brazil and any succesfull team.
    Brutality has nothing to see with physicall commitment.

    Sawcross is a careless player, and as such cannot be a nice guy for fellow professinal such as Ramsey who’s the nicest guy in the british iles, and his poor victim.

    The FA should wake up, because if people around the world want to watch english football it’s done mostly to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.
    Nobody like to support english national team because, english players are so bad and their team’s so painfull to watch.
    If Wenger leave, the EPL will die as a global brand. He’s fighting for greatness while others want to promote shit players who can kill a guyt and let him it’s a game.
    SHawcross or killcross ? A nice guy ? I blame the woman who gave him birth and teach him to break legs. This disguting woman, “his mum who brought him to home in tears”, so what about Ramsey’s mum who had to suffer the scare of her life!
    Fucking xenophobic brainless nationalist want to forget the horror and pray for the beast painted as a saint by disgusting blend people. Satanic

    You saw thevideo ? SO you see the horror.

  9. On reading the title, I was expecting to read a balanced, well measured view on the Aaron Ramsay incident and subsequent reaction, but no…more rubbish and veiled attacks on Wenger, and our players.

    Only an idiot would suggest that Eduardo lost most of the goodwill shown to him after he dived in a game against Celtic. Are you on a wind-up mate??? How pathetic do you have to be to think like that? Are we talking about a DIVE, those are a dime a dozen in premier league games every weekend…but we NEVER seem to get WEEKS of wall-to-wall coverage of each dive (compare that to post-match coverage of the Eduardo incident). By the way, Eduardo had no previous, he is a very nice guy, and all the nonsense we heard about Shawcross….blah blah…(Let me remind you that Shawcross DOES have a history of violent conduct on the pitch.

    As for Arsene Wenger, he will protect his players and will never criticise them. That’s his prerogative and part of his management style which inspires loyalty in his players and obviously doesnt give a toss that the British media doesn’t like it…Good for him.

    I am not English and I find the British media biased, xenophobic, hyserical, sensationalist, and those morons who pass as journos wouldn’t be allowed to write for a high school magazine where I’m from.

    Oh, and I’d like to offer my sympathiy to Ryan Shawcross…er, actually NOT. He has been rewarded with a place in the England squad…whilst Ramsey is left to think about whether he will ever play football again.

    Now I have given this site enough of my time. I hope u will soon return to obscurity from whence you came…with your hanful of readers…

  10. “There is no need to say much about diving here – what happened to Aaron Ramsey is far, far more important – but it is reasonable to point out that much of the sympathy Eduardo rightly received, after he was on the end of a career-threatening challenge, evaporated when he made his name synonymous with cheating.”

    Eduardo’s not cheat and didn’t dive as the trial proved there was contact. Ronney make a similar dive and got a penalty against us at OT this year. Did he “he made his name synonymous with cheating “? NO

    The xenophobic england made EDuardo the symbol of diving, but this is only inside england. But the country is so insular, that one can forgive you in constantly making yourselves utterly and ridiculuously blend when you chose to label eduardo a diver while you feel free not to mention that Ronney, Gerrad, Terry and all the shawcross of this world (tackling with no technique and no care) as a disgrace to the game?

    THis is really sad. The judges said he’s not a diver but the xenophobic england can’t see the light!
    Wake up, the world cup’s coming and you will be on the receiving end.

    I wish Shawcross all the best in doing what’s doing. One day, you will hera that Rooney’s got his two legs broken. That will maybe alert the FA and all the stupid people who physical commitment goes with tackles flying above the knee.

    Gallas’s tackle over davis was less dangerous. Go and watch the viedo, you’ll se that Gallas didn’t thow his body on the ground. That’s make a huge difference in cas of contact.
    EVery sane manager will insgtruct you not to throw yourself on the ground when tackling.

    He maybe a nie guy, but he’s a very dangerous footballer.
    he’s a kind of player which always influct severe injuries with mad tackles.
    Why an assassin like him get enough support is beyong me. If it’s for damaging Ramsey career you’ve got a point. Well done Showcross. Play like you do against Rooney in training. You’ve been called for that.

    When we are clearly and truly the victim, the xenophobic England chose to attack Wenger and ARsenal. If you’re pround of PL as world wide brand it’s done to Wenger and that can change quickly, believe me.
    20 years ago no one wanted to watch the boring, brutal english game played by fat drunk lazy players.
    Arsenal play faster and quicker, they come late, kicked us out the game, and think they are brave.
    Showcross is a horrible tackler.
    What a band of cowards you’re.

  11. Good post.
    The Edouardo bashing is totally out of order lol!
    Try youtubing “Rooney cheats to beat Arsenal” and give him the medal, thank you very much!

    Ok, ok, anyway. What has come up for debate – once again – is Arsene’s personality.

    Jesus Christ! He’s been here for 10+ wonderful years, and you people are STILL shocked every single time he shows himself to be a biased, sore loser. I defy anyone to come up with more than three or four examples from the last 10 years, where he has critisised one of his own players.

    But I dont expect anyone to stop debating his personality flaws 😀
    Thats part of football. All the talk. Gotta luv it! Keep up the good work.

    Arsene for the win!!!! Yay!

    A gooner

  12. “Fizzy: hands up on Eduardo. Our “your view on cheating” question to opposing fans before each game is called the Eduardo question, and the joke is probably wearing thin.
    I have heard a certain Gerrard, and indeed Bent, mentioned as decent candidates. but Eduardo’s dive was in a class of its own – I say was, because I realise some will feel N’Gog subsequently claimed the gold medal as his own.”

    :This is my point really. The Eduardo ‘dive’ wasnt in a class of its own. Gerrard pulls off similar ones most weeks, and goes on to try to claim a penalty, something which Eduardo didnt actually do. Rooney does something similar quite regularly too, and likewise throws his hands in the air claiming it was a foul. A simple check on youtube will furnish anyone with various examples of both these players diving. Eduardo does it once, and once only, with no claiming for a penalty afterwards, and the media go into a feeding frenzy, and he is seen as a much worse diver than Gerrard or Rooney. By having asomething called ‘the Eduardo question’ you are simply reinforcing this falsehood in peoples minds. Now, as far as this goes, I dont really care, we might have failed to get a few penalties this season that we should have got, but hey, thats life, we’ll live. However when a similarly propogated idea that its legitimate to go in harder on Arsenal than other teams is pushed around by the media, and that results in players getting injuries that they would not otherwise get, and some of those injuries are career threatening, then thats when I get annoyed, and thats when I suspect Wenger gets annoyed too. Is Shawcross to blame ? of course he is, but a media that regularly singles out Arsenal as a team that can be kicked up in the air to get a result should share it with him

  13. I’ll say this, i dont agree with everything you say, but its nice to see someone express their points based on thought and persepective rather than blinkered bias.
    After some of the garbage i’ve read from opposing fans regarding the ramsey incident, it restores a little faith knowing that some people are not closed off to reason.

    Ultimately you can go tit for tat with mistimed tackles and the like.., its obvious that with a fast paced frenetic game that they will occur. The objection comes when teams openly embrace a practise of kicking arsenal out of the game. Brutality to defeat superior technique and ability. Not only is this contrary to the spirit of the game, but it results in young men laying in hospital beds wondering if they still have careers left.

    3 of these injuries in 4 years.., enough is enough.

  14. if anyone was to be given the benefit of the doubt should of been eduardo, after all in a split second he must of seen a mad pole rushing out to him and maybe brought back a memory of his injurt and running at speed too , what if the keeper boruc a big lad he is .. went crashing into eddie , both running at speed! im not sayin he didnt look 4 it , who knows ..shrek is a smart player but hes bullet proof in uk! next great white hope, so is a darling to media etc..all the slating of eduardo was out of order!
    but then again i think his 2 goals against the ex smoggie manager led ingerland team had something to do with it…how he outjumped that great man/player rJTerry…
    me also thinks the tears of shawcoss was from his guilt of going in recklessly and hard wen he knew he was second best to the ball but thought hed follow into ramsey and send him flying!
    after all ramsey wasnt shirking any tackles earlier he was playing a hard game himself , but due no doubt to a shocking pitch(all 3 inj have been on crap pitches)i put this down to unlucky. but the other 2..no way ..dirty c%nts who do we still see playin in the premiership?..me thinks not….where are they now?..not being sarcastic , but have those players played top class football since? ie prem

  15. I am agree with Rooney, Alex Furgeson, Pullis, Macari and most football pundit for being sorry to Showcross, for receive a red card, hence he cannot play for 3 match and have to face daily trauma of having to witness first hand the severity of the injuries.

    Really feel sorry for Showcross.

  16. You live in a culture that’s been so extreme so far that you can’t understand why gooners are so incensed over this.

    If it was your team that for 6 years every pundit, manager and journalist in the country said you had to get in their faces, and then they suffered horrendous injuries, more injuries in general and many unnecessary unpleasant match situations you would understand.

    What incenses us exactly is that nobody was scandalised about it for this long.

    I can’t count how many times Match of the Day pundits said this on the show every football fan in the country watches.

    The rest of the country wasn’t scandalised, and now when we see the results and feel it’s the logical result of popular mentality, you can’t empathise with that.

    What you don’t realise is that more than anything, I haven’t seen gooners more united on any issue than this in years and years, because it’s plain for us to see, and Wenger said exactly what most of us think.

    We’re used to the media distorting his comments so unlike you (this blogger not the plural) we’re not reacting to a parody of what Wenger actually said.

    Wenger never condemned Shawcross. He condemned the tackle. And I think any manager would be well within his rights to rain fire and brimstone on a tackle that so horrendously breaks the leg of one of his prodigious young charges.

    Finally, the actual truth of the matter is that Arsenal are a team similar in size (height and weight and muscularity) to Manchester United. But nobody says that about Manchester United.

    This particular nonsense that you have to get in Arsenal’s faces started around 2002 when we still had bruisers in the team. It’s not about size.

    It is and has always been an incitement to stop Arsenal using excessively physical methods.

  17. Good article and agree that Arsene is his own worst enemy because of his myopia. It’s embarassing and he demeans himself with it.

    The whole ‘he’s a good lad’ thing wears about as thin as the Eduardo joke, it’s really not the point as it’s not about his character, more about the reality of his actions. I believe people who accidentally runs over kids whilst speeding use a similar defence and the fact that they love their Mum and help old ladies cross the road (like Ryan) really doesn’t make it alright. Do you think Shawcross would be the recipient of as much sympathy had he shattered Rooney’s legs?

  18. Here’s another Arsenal fan to say thanks (and alleluia!) for the first objective view I’ve read from a blogger on this whole sorry affair. It’s an interesting object lesson actually in how inevitable it is that one sees things from a particular perspective at times like this, however hard one tries to be impartial. I certainly agree that Shawcross’s tackle probably wasn’t any worse than Gallas vs Bolton, or probably many others that people could find on Youtube from Eboue, Fabregas, even Bergkamp, or others. But for me it’s about the law of averages. Any individual challenge of a certain level of recklessness might have say a 5% chance of causing real damage. If you do one a season it breaks a leg, then you are seriously unlucky. But if you break two legs in the space of three years then either you are the unluckiest man alive or habitually reckless. The tackle against Adebayor last season, and the Belgian Youtube one flagged on other blogs for me strongly suggest the latter.

    Best of luck to you and SAFC – a club I’ve always had time for ever since seeing us (effectively) win the league there in 1991 and not putting my hand in my pocket for a beer in town there afterwards. A proper football club in every way.

  19. The media in this country is a disgrace .It is nice to see a blog not criticising Ramsey for being too fast et etc
    i have now read so many times since the assault(it may not have been intended to break bones but it did) that Shawcross is ‘ a player of good character’ with no other previous misdemenours.this in itself is a blatant lie,he broke Francis Jeffers ankle in a reckless challenge in 2007, in fact Stokes assistant manager at the time said ‘There’s no way that was a malicious challenge, Ryan isn’t that sort of player.’
    Funnily enough that seems kind of familiar to the quoptes said after the assault on Saturday.
    cast you mind back as well to last seasons game when Adebayor was assaulted off the pitch by Shawcross and was out for a month with ligament injuries , lucky he’s not that sort of player then.
    Why the media have not brought this up I do not know but what I do know is that many people are unaware of what a thug Shawcross is and just becuase he hadn’t beern sent off before Saturday says more about the lack of quality of refereeing than anything about his good character which obviously is severely lacking.
    Maybe he was a bit unfortunate the poor lad with all 3 tackles but it is a bit worrying to see someone so young involved in 2 career threatening injuries and 1 assault off the pitch.I will not even mention what he got up to whilst on loan to Royal Antwerp but again it wasn’t good.
    I think it is the state of the game over in the Uk that the victim is seen as Shawcross and not Ramsey and I am physically sickened by this.Shawcross never had a chance of getting the ball but he did have a chance to pull out of the challenge which he didn’t hoping to make sure taht Ramsey knew he was there.the only raeson he was crying was for himself no=one else a fine case of crocodile tears if ever I saw one.

  20. A good post and a great read.

    It is a sad fact of life that in as much as efforts have been made in this country, xenophobia is still widespread.

    Just imagine the backlash if say Eboue broke Rooney’s leg like that?? The media, pundits and the likes of fat Sam, Phil Brown, Tony Pulis and their primitive ilk will purr on tv screens baying for blood.

    Ryan Shawcross is a very very dirty player and instead of trying to defend the very evil tackle he metted out on Ramsey, he should be severely reprimanded to show all the other young players that this is unacceptable. He’s done it on Jeffers and Adebayor before. Why does the mainstream media ignore these facts?

    I read that Alex Ferguson called Ryan to offer him support???? I thought it was Ramsey who needed support??? What does this say about the Brirtish?

    What happens in football is just a reflection of the society in general. Better than Spain and Germany but xenophobia still exists and they try to hide behind silly excuses like Ramsey was too quick for Ryan???? Absolute nonsense.

    Stop blaming Arsene for anything here. Let’s look deep into our ineer souls and find the courage to be honest and be truthful.

  21. It’s really not about malice. It’s about dinosaur English managers like Pulis, Allardyce etc., (certainly not Bruce who i believe is one of the bright new breeds) instilling this ‘Get Stuck In’ mantra to their British Bulldog players which make players like Shawcross steam into challenges that defy logic in terms of winning possession but purely on the basis of ‘Letting Them Know You’re There’. Arsenal don’t like it up ’em, so stick it up ’em as hard as you can.

    This isn’t about 3 leg breaks we’ve suffered – it’s about 3 SHATTERED legs! People forget we’ve lost Van Persie & Gibbs this season with broken legs, but Wenger hasn’t included these in his comments because bones do break. But they do NOT shatter with such frequency to the SAME team. It is NOT a coincidence.

    And all of these shattered legs were cause by ENGLISH players with ENGLISH managers.

    Does anyone believe that Wenger, or Guardiola, or Zola, or Benitez, or Capello etc., have ever given a team talk where the emphasis has been to Get Stuck In and Get In There Faces?

    People need to read Ricardo Fuller’s pre-match comments against Arsenal in The FA Cup recently. It was all about ‘roughing Arsenal up’. Absolutely nothing about playing football.

  22. Hold tight, Eduardo dives once (with contact) and is branded a cheat, Gerard (4 times at the Emirates the other week) and Rooney dive every week yet this doesn’t get mentioned yet you castigate Eduardo for an exagerated reaction? I don’t expect neutrality from any website, but clear journalism would be appreciated. As for Shawcross, he has history, is dangerous and should be banned for a long time. Malice or not, Ramsey’s career is in the balance, he gets a 3 game ban, how f**ked up is that?

  23. A Gooner here – great post mate

    On the whole I agree, but even where I don’t its nice to see a well thought out and constructed argument, which are both very much lacking on other sites.

  24. but ngog was never charged for bringing the game into disrepute, eduardo never got up demanding a penalty where as wayne rooney and steve gerrard can go over, eyeball the ref, demand the penalty, celebrate winning the penalty ,and this is all before they have even hit the deck, eduardo was discriminated against and picked on as the first ever diving cheat charged

  25. Fizzy: hands up on Eduardo. Our “your view on cheating” question to opposing fans before each game is called the Eduardo question, and the joke is probably wearing thin.
    I have heard a certain Gerrard, and indeed Bent, mentioned as decent candidates. but Eduardo’s dive was in a class of its own – I say was, because I realise some will feel N’Gog subsequently claimed the gold medal as his own.

  26. “and stop imagining that the world is out to get them.”

    “but it is reasonable to point out that much of the sympathy Eduardo rightly received, after he was on the end of a career-threatening challenge, evaporated when he made his name synonymous with cheating.”

    I’ve copied these 2 parts of your post so I can just mention something. I dont think the world is out to get Arsenal, but in mentioning Eduardo, dont you think that the media coverage against him was far and way excessive to the actual incident. Players dive / go over easily every week, and I have never seen anything like such an outpouring of coverage over a similar incident. Likewise, the media continue to harp on about how Arsenal dont play as well when they are kicked around the pitch. In short, they ‘dont like it up them’. Well, name me a team that does, and improves their standard of play when the oppsition go in hard on them more often than they normally would. No team likes it, and Wengers misinterpreted comments are surely directed towards those managers that tell their players to go in harder when they play Arsenal. Now, it may not be true that this happens. Maybe Allardyce tells his players to play the same way every week, but when was the last time a player or a pundit was interviewed saying that “Man Utd / Chelsea / Liverpool cant deal with the physical side of the game” ? I dont think Shawcross is a nasty malicious player, though he certainly has form when it comes to nasty tackles, but I do wonder whether he and Taylor before him have been influenced by the manager, (and the media) into putting a little bit more into a tackle than is strictly necessary, and more than they would if they werent playing Arsenal

  27. the difference is gallas could have broken a players leg accidently, and he isnt a good guy who doesnt have a bad bone in his body, but YOUNG shawcross would never go onto the pitch to hurt a fellow pro ,he is such a nice lad (tell that to francis jeffers) and adebayor http://www.twitvid.com/3BCE0 heres footage

  28. Arsenal fan here, good blog. Thanks for the Ramsey well wishes, I also acknowledge that Arsenal are no saints and that Gallas should have seen red at Bolton a few weeks prior to the Ramsey incident.

    Keep up the good work.

  29. Top post.

    And as a gooner I agree with what you are saying. But you would think there would be perhaps a better understanding for a manager who has lost 3 players in the space of 4 years to such horrible injuries. Yet, there seems to be an insatiable hunger to get at Arsene Wenger and gang up on him – by press, media, opposition manager. Maybe because he’s one of few foreign managers?

    Alas, good and sensible post is hard to come by so I salute you.

    good luck for the remainder of the season!

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