Post Match View – Stoke City F.C.

Abou Diaby was first, Eduardo next, and now the rising talent Aaron Ramsey will have to lose a large chunk of playing time through devastating injury. In all honesty, this tackle was reckless but it also looked more clumsy than premeditated. I could be wrong since I’ve only seen the replay in full speed and couldn’t tell if there was intent to injure.

That does not mean that we haven’t been the victims of hate from a large section of English football fans and players alike who don’t mind Arsenal players being on the end of such challenges. That doesn’t mean that match announcers, other clubs’ managers, and even the FA haven’t been complicit in a sometimes not so subtle anti Arsenal campaign. That doesn’t mean that an atmosphere hasn’t been created and fueled to lead up to this and the two injuries mentioned above.

I received a text just after the foul saying that the excuses from the English media were already in effect. Arsene has been quite clear on what he feels about this challenge. “Spare me the articles about how nice Shawcross is, please,” said the manager.

Can you blame him?

As the scum called Stoke fans chanted ‘One Ryan Shawcross’ after the player’s dismissal, I remembered that Birmingham City fans and fans of other clubs like West Ham for example have been known to echo the same chorus using Martin Taylor’s name. Shawcross has taken a large chunk from a fellow professional’s career. He is probably just as anti-Arsenal as the many who who’ll applaud the injury. Let’s be absolutely fucking clear – the majority of English football fans hate Arsene Wenger and hate Arsenal Football Club. There are millions of people who would love for Cesc or William Gallas or Alex Song or Nicklas Bendtner to lose their leg in a “full-blooded, good old fashioned tackle”.

The EPL trumpets itself as the best league in the world. Shouldn’t that tag ensure protection for the safety of the league’s most attractive team? Shouldn’t the league’s integrity be preserved beyond yellow cards for dissent to shite refs? Shouldn’t thuggery be called what it really is instead of code words like ‘getting amongst them’?

Shouldn’t the league promote flair and fair play instead of standing by and watching Arsenal’s best players have their legs broken? Ok, flair and “pretty” football is not a favorite fare for the robust challenge hungry. I accept that. What I’ll never accept is hiding behind the fact that getting sent off with a three match ban is the only punishment for dangerous acts of thuggery.

More attention is paid to diving then to addressing what most sensible people call assault.

Serious injuries happen but they will happen more frequently and will be nearly, if not completely, career ending when an atmosphere that allows them exists. Nobody can convince me that there aren’t anti-Arsenal sentiments in effect when these types of injuries occur. And when was the last time someone other than Arsene Wenger has stood up to call out the brand of anti-football that we face regularly? You are free to choose your tactics but spare me the hypocrisy. Thuggery is thuggery!

A few seasons ago, David Moyes brought Everton to The Emirates and played with no less than nine men in his own half for the majority of the game. He’d been embarrassed 7-0 at Highbury in May 2005. The tactics he used at The Emirates were designed to prevent another thrashing, but they were not thuggish. You can stop us playing without kicking us out of the game.

I will be among the first to accept that in recent years, we’ve been less than capable of matching some of the over the top physical play we’ve faced. But as I’ve mentioned here before, the FA dulled our teeth years ago. We were more than capable of being physical within proper limits but a) under Wenger, we’ve always preferred to play football anyway and b) the league prefers that only the extremely harsh challenges against us are properly punished. What a great way to promote good football!

There’s a guy reading this saying, ‘Wait, Man United play good football and never complain about being mistreated by the FA or thuggish teams’. That’s part of the problem and it proves the point. Arsenal are hated for who and what they are – a flair team with a French manager and mostly non-English players. Spare me the fucking hypocrisy.

It would be easy to say that we’ve won because Almunia and Clichy have firmed up their game but that would fail to address too many other factors. We’ve stood up to Toilet Paper’s candy striped thugs. We’ve kept our heads and remained focused. We’ve shown desire and determination.

As early as the third minute, Ricardo “Pimp” Fuller pushed Bacary Sagna while the RB attempted to negotiate avoiding running into his keeper. Cheap, sly, thuggery! The pimp would get away with a similar push against Song on 7, forcing a throw-in deep in Arsenal territory.

The Rory Delap throw-in resulted in a (very poorly defended) Stoke goal. What was Eboue thinking, moving away from the prolific Danny Pugh as he waited to punish us at the far post? Not the kind of start we needed.

1-0 Stoke

Stoke played a very tight and disciplined midfield pressing game. We hardly troubled them in the first 20 minutes. Before a Cesc volley was forced wide for a corner on 26, the notable action from our end was a brave Sol Campbell header at the pimp’s raised foot. When we lost the ball, I wondered why we weren’t pressing higher up the pitch as Stoke seemed more content to battle us in midfield. They were never going to split us open with precise passing or neat football, so it was a matter of remaining calm, playing our passing game, and making them chase and expend energy.

A goal would help too.

It came on 32 after a more composed spell of Arsenal possession. A Cesc cross was headed inside the far post by Nicklas Bendtner. A good striker’s goal! That’s two in two.

1-1 and game on.

On 33, the Arsenal hating commentator Gary O’Reilly said, “Stoke won’t change their game. They’ll just keep grinding away at Arsenal”. As if Arsenal were suddenly going to stop attacking and let the “grinding” stop them playing. The man’s anti-Arsenal edge comes through clearly – he’s more concerned with what Stoke have to do to stop Arsenal than he is in the changed tide of the match. Arsenal had clearly reversed the flow to take control of the game.

Just as I was thinking that Clichy was playing with more focus and purpose, Delap turned him on 39. No harm done however. The man is in the All-Time World XI of throw-in takers but football isn’t his main strength.

The First Half ended with Arsenal in the ascendency as Stoke began to tire.

On 49, Ramsey was fouled inside the Stoke box but no penalty was given. Even O’Reilly found it odd. Not too long after, Clichy forced a save with a good right foot shot from outside Sorensen’s box. On 52, we survived three successive Stoke corners. To their credit, they weren’t being overrun by our football, but nor were they convincing me that we couldn’t match them physically and go on to win the game.

Eboue’s low cross on 55 found nobody at the far post but goalkeepers don’t like to see balls flash across their goals. On 57, Clichy did well to keep a stray Cesc pass from going into touch. Good work by the LB. The obligatory Almunia scare came on 58 as he dropped a cross but Sidibe had made illegal contact with him as he rose. We were spared.

Eboue began to look more effective. On 59, he peppered Sorensen’s hands with a well struck drive from distance. The pimp made space for himself to get off a quick shot that Almunia saved on 65. One minute later, Aaron Ramsey was the recipient of a very bad challenge from Ryan Shawcross after a sloppy exchange of passes in midfield. As Ramsey trapped the stray pass, the Stoke defender put an awkward boot in. The players’ reactions and the dangling right ankle was an all too familiar sight.

Straight red for the England defender. A stretcher plus a very long time out of the game for the young Arsenal midfielder. Will the FA take action beyond a three match ban for Shawcross? I wouldn’t bet on it.

The game slowed a bit as both sets of players looked to regroup and refocus. On 77, Whitehead put in a dangerous low cross. We dealt with it. There was very little notable action from that point. Not by Arsenal and certainly not by Toilet Paper’s side.

On 85, it occurred to me that Stoke are horrible to watch. I know they’ve done well against us recently but they really are not worth the price of admission. And in advance of their cement-headed fans responding to this post, I’ll state now so I won’t have to later – shove your comments up your smelly troglodyte arses.

I can’t imagine that the additional time from the lengthy injury stoppage made Stoke supporters feel very good about their chances of sending us back home empty handed. We refocused and were all over them. On 89, a Nicklas Bendtner pass met with a candy striped thug’s hand. It was ball to hand and maybe the ref could have waved play on but no, he pointed to the spot. Cesc duly obliged.

2-1 AFC

FUCK OFF STOKE!!! I could have jumped through the ceiling. But it wasn’t over yet. Vermaelen was on the end of a Cesc square pass across Sorensen’s goal to tap home the third.

3-1 AFC and three points for sure.

FUCK OFF STOKE!!! Throw in a retribution tackle by Cesc on a candy striped thug on 97 for good measure. At the final whistle, our team huddle before exiting the pitch was met by boos from Stoke’s filthy racist supporters. Nothing is decided but what a fabulous way to capitalize on Chelsea’s debacle at The Bridge.

I’m just saddened that Aaron Ramsey couldn’t celebrate with his teammates.

This group have learned from seeing those horrific challenges against Diaby and Eduardo that they’ve had to grow thicker skin. Witness not just the composure and fight back to claim three vital points in a part of the world that would never welcome someone who looks like I do (and I certainly wouldn’t visit), but also Nasri’s rise to his captain’s defence after Cesc had been pushed off the ball by Shawcross. Also recall Samir’s stance earlier in the season against Hull City.

Let’s not forget to make mention of the steel provided by Campbell and Vermaelen. They were very good. The pimp was useless for most of the match.

All need not be lost from the devastation of losing a teammate in such terrible circumstances. Today’s result was just one of the many that we’ll need in order to do the improbable. I don’t care if the so-called experts choose not to take our title challenge seriously. What matters is that a certain Scot in Manchester and an Italian in London are beginning to sweat a bit. Oh, and that we’ve beaten Stoke City. FUCK OFF STOKE!!!

Keep the Faith.

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10 Comments

  1. THAT PIECE OF TOP CLASS JOURNALISM SHOULD BE READ OUT IN COURT WHEN TONY PULLIS DOES YOU FOR LIBEL & SLANDER.

  2. @ the author : Aren’t you that person who lurks around Primary shools messing with yourself?

  3. Goodness, this is pretty much the worse thing i’ve ever read. I’m not a Stoke or an Arsenal fan but what utter utter utter horseshit. You really need to take a hard look at yourself.

  4. Hi, I think football has its problems, but sites like this on is making it worse. Your comments about the Stoke City Manager earlier in the week were terrible. I know they have been forwarded to Stoke City and I realy hope they take legal action against you. You are more racist than anyone with your small minded thinking. The world would be a better place if you kept your thoughts to yourself. You need help.

  5. So the same guy that was calling Tony Pulis a paedophile earlier this week is now callling Ricardo Fuller a “pimp”. Just about shows his level. The people who run this web site must have a LOT of money to spend on libel lawyers to let him continue posting this bile.

  6. After reading tour comments re stoke v arsenal I am guessing you have never been to a game in your life.If you cant articulate your bigoted opinions in a more constructive less hysterical manner my advise is to give up altogether.

  7. “a retribution tackle by Cesc on a candy striped thug on 97 for good measure”

    so its a good thing when arsehole players hack down another teams players, what would have happened if fabricASS had snapped danny pughs leg in half

    BIG BIG difference in the two challenges and one big word, INTENT

    your hero cesc went to hurt the player, shawcross went to win the ball

    your comments make me sick, and you call us thugs, what a hypicritical vvanker you really are

  8. we have bemdtner to thank for the fact it was not Ryan’s leg that was broken.Had he not held Shawcross back he would have been first to the ball and the fact that Mr Ramsey was flying throught the air two footed would have meant he could have gone studs showing through Ryan’s leg.

  9. give your mum and sister my love when you are giving them one tonight you total inbread numpty

  10. The comments regarding Tony Pulis are some of the lowest things written.

    Decent Arsenal should be ashamed of fans like yourselves.

    Truly truly embarrased the name of Arsenal Football Club.


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