Win It For Ramsey

Before I begin my post, I would like to address something.

There are three writers for this site. We all bring different points of views, but we work as a team. On Saturday, we witnessed yet another one of our players suffer a serious injury. That event caused one of our colleagues to write an inflammatory post about Stoke and their manager yesterday. While it was written out of pure anger, that doesn’t excuse it. We try to present a level-headed view (but undoubtedly pro-Arsenal in the end, after all this is a site primarily about Arsenal Football Club), and the aforementioned post was nothing of the sort. We deeply apologize if we’ve offended anybody. This site is not meant to offend groups of fans; it’s meant to observe the football world with an Arsenal pair of eyes. It won’t happen again.

Now, moving on.

After letting my initial rage about the tackle die down for a couple of days, it’s given me time to reflect on the actual challenge and the game itself. Many Arsenal bloggers have gone on about what they think of the tackle. The English media has had their say as well. Stoke City Football Club have had their say as well. The topic has been well covered, but I’d just like to add my two cents.

Ryan Shawcross clearly did not intend to break Aaron Ramsey’s leg, but the tackle was reckless and dangerous. What I cannot excuse is the speed and location of the tackle. You can argue that Ramsey was too quick for him (and he definitely was on this occasion), but why was Shawcross swinging his leg that fast? As a defender, if you have your foot on the ground, there’s pretty much no chance that you can break another opponent’s leg. Being committed is one thing, but I believe the tackle was deserving of a red card and was dangerous. I’ve read many pundits and people talk about how if Ramsey wasn’t injured, it would have only been a yellow card. But that’s not the objective reality.

I can’t lame the blame solely on Shawcross and Stoke on this. Challenges like Shawcross’s are born out of bad parenting. And in this case, the bad parents are the English media and the Premier League’s referees.

The agenda of the English media is clear. They want to promote the English game as one of passion where full bloodied challenges are welcome. When injuries like Ramsey’s occur, instead of examining the state of tackling in games, there are built in excuses. Phrases like “he was too quick for him” and “he’s not that type of player” are instantly brought up. Well, when Eduardo won a penalty against Celtic, perhaps Wenger should merely have said “he’s not that type of player.” The furore over Eduardo’s “dive” was longer than this furore over Shawcross’s challenge will be.

I do not want to lynch Shawcross, but to the majority of Arsenal fans, he will primarily be known as the man who shattered Aaron Ramsey’s leg. To that end, perhaps Shawcross will have difficulties coming back and performing as he did (look at Martin Taylor’s career). For all the rough challenges Arsenal encountered against Stoke, will it ever be to that level ever again? My guess is probably not. That’s the fallout.

The English media will have you believe that these types of tackles and the flow of the game is what makes the English league special. I think the speed is a big part of it’s charm nowadays, but it’s only since the infusion of foreign talent (and managers) that the league has really thrived. It’s no surprise that England’s national team is better than ever, playing against such opposition can only help. Where once there was only an emphasis on passion, now technique is just as important. While holding on to the past, the English media was actually damaging it’s future. When the rest of the world views Shawcross’s challenge on Ramsey, they’ll be horrified. Simply put, it doesn’t belong in the game. When a man accidentally murders somebody, that’s not a first degree murder, but it is manslaughter.

Shawcross should feel terrible about the incident. And for those who think that Wenger should apologize for his comments on Saturday, perhaps Shawcross should also apologize to Aaron Ramsey. From what I’ve read, all he’s said is that there was no malice in the challenge and that he wishes a speedy recovery. An apology would be welcome, but I suppose it’s not necessary.

Premier League referees don’t seem to have a control on a lot of these games. It is the lack of cautioning and fouls that allow a team like Stoke to believe they have a right to play in the manner that they do. If they’re allowed to do that, why wouldn’t they? They have an obligation to fight for every point, and that is what they generally do. It’s been pointed out that Arsenal are the second most fouled team in the league behind Hull City. That indicates that we don’t get as many foul calls as we should, because most will agree that Arsenal are roughed up more than others.

The protection is sorely lacking.

We’ve seen three players in four and a half years suffer major injuries. That kind of trauma is enough to make any supporter enraged. And if a supporter is enraged, how do you think the players on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger feel about it? That’s the bottom line.

This incident has revealed how one-sided football fans can be. That goes for both Stoke and Arsenal in this case. I read an ESPN correspondent
talk about how he was sickened that Arsenal players were asking for a red card instead of tending to Ramsey. That’s just a load of horseshit. Clearly, Cesc and Vermaelen were extremely upset at what happened. Arsenal fans, out of rage, have said some unpleasant things as well.

The real tragedy is that Aaron Ramsey is going to be out for over five months because of this challenge. Even Tony Pulis, who is Welsh himself, would never wish that on a player. But the aggression against Arsenal is not a surprise when we’re going away up north. That is what we’ve come to expect, and that is what we have to learn to deal with.

And on to the football side of things, people say that the result pales in light of Ramsey’s injury. That is undoubtedly true, but it’s still very important. If I were Aaron Ramsey, I would not want my teammates to just roll over and die. I would want my teammates to fight. To stand up and represent as athletes. That was done on Saturday.

Two years ago, we lost Eduardo to a horrific injury. What’s often noted about that game is our meltdown, what’s not noted is that we came back from one goal down to take a one goal lead. Had we held on, we would have won the Premier League, I’m certain of it. But such a psychological blow of giving away a dubious penalty destroyed our title ambitions. This time around, it was different.

After about five minutes of no football at all from both sides, we struck back. We won a penalty when Stoke handled it. I don’t know how people can claim that this wasn’t a penalty. When William Gallas gave away a penalty against Manchester United two years ago, he was accosted for making a massive error. Had that decision not been given, we may have even won the Premier League. But when you leave your arms like that in the penalty box, you run that risk.

After Vermaelen tapped in the third goal, I saw a passion in this squad that I haven’t seen for quite sometime.

Wenger likes to go on about how we play football the way it’s supposed to be. He decries physical attacks on players, but our players have recently learned to show the opposition that they’re here to play. Nasri shoved a Stoke player after they were haranguing Cesc. Near the end of the match, Cesc tackled Pugh simply to send a message. Then Cesc motioned to Pulis to shush his mouth. An act of impetuousness? Perhaps, but that’s what I’d like to see. And for the record, it wasn’t a reckless challenge; Cesc was never going to hurt anybody with that, he was just letting Stoke know that we will not be pushed around. That tackle is in marked contrast to what Robin van Persie did last year, when out of frustration he needlessly shoulder charged Thomas Sorensen and was sent off.

Ironically, the team most capable of absorbing a mental blow like Ramsey’s is Arsenal. We’ve seen it twice already, and what doomed us the last time cannot destroy us this time around. I believe the war at the Britannia has prepared our team to chase the title like never before. Believe me when I tell you that this is the make or break moment for Arsene’s latest experiment.

I actually relish playing against teams like Stoke. They work hard to frustrate us, and I view it as a test of how far a team has come. To win the Premier League, you must beat sides like Stoke both home and away. While we lost to them in the cup, we have gotten the six points we wanted.

Are our players ready? Saturday shows that we are.

While he is in street clothes, we must win it for Aaron Ramsey.

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11 Comments

  1. So it’s perfectly OK for Fabregas to deliberately go in two footed from behind on Danny Pugh, just to “send a message”. In fact you encourage it.

    Nice to see that you are just as much of a hypocrite as your manager.

  2. I saw the write-up yesterday if I was you i’d sack the guy who wrote it,you can’t accuse someone of being a paedo and all the other nasty things that were said just over a football match,hopefully tony pulls who is a honoureable man will sue whoever wrote it.A blasais comment and an apology isn’t enough it was very offensive

  3. Fabregas behaves like a little thug and goes in two footed and that is ok? Pugh gets up and plays on like a man.

    I feel sorry for Ramsey. Having team mates like that round him in the hospital bed must be truly terrible.

    Wenger nurtured, in Viera, a truly dirty player and he forgets that.

    Arsenal fans and their manager are a joke. No one cares about you and your players so just keep whingeing and we`ll all keep laughing. The WHOLE country laughing at you.

    Ha ha ha

  4. The injury sustained by Aaron Ramsey was the result of more than just a ‘ tackle’ from Ryan Shawcross. Bendtner first pulled Shawcross’s shirt holding him up from winning the ball. Ramsey therefore got to the ball a fraction before Shawcross who was already committed to clearing it. Unfortunately Ramsey’s standing leg is on the ground as the clearance is made and also looking at pictures published in many papers could have injured himself before the challenge was made-the challenge making any injury worse.

    The antics of Sol Campbell in particular and the ill thought out words of Wenger were a disgrace. Only a Stoke player Glen Whelan went to assist Ramsey initially?

    Arsenal were every bit as committed as Stoke in their challanges the injury was just very unfortunate.

  5. I am a stoke fan and would like to say first that I dont hate arsenal at all, I think you play some of the best and most attractive football in europe. The tackle has been discussed to death so I will not mention it. What I would like to say is that I have have read many arsenal forums and message boards since that day, and not one has mentioned any gratitude towards glen whelan. He stayed with ramsey throughout the incident and kept him calm. While everyone around him was loosing their heads for whatever reason he kept his and thought about the one person that needed help the most. The fact that no one has mentioned this is the thing that dissapoints me the most I thought better of arsenal fans and am sorry that you have not recognised this act of kindness.

    • Arseblog did mention this, and you’re absolutely right in that he does deserve recognition for that.

  6. I’m sorry, you’re quite happy to damn the English game and media for encouraging what you consider to be dangerous play, but then you set out to justify the only malicious challenge of the game? Fabregas capped off 90 minutes in which he showed his worst side by aiming a two-footed tackle at Danny Pugh’s ankle, with only one intention. The altercation that followed with Pulis gave a clear message ‘you broke my team-mate’s leg, so I’m going to break one of your player’s legs’. As for the touchline antics of Wenger and Rice well, let me say this. Outrage and anger at the challenge are one thing, but Rice turning around and making gestures to the Stoke fans to suggest that Shawcross lunged in with two feet in the air? That’s just lying, and the stuff spewing from his mouth was none too pleasant, either. As for Wenger, my main objection to him is his hypocrisy. He didn’t see fit to mention Fabregas’ dangerous assault and he has completely forgotten his quotes from a few years ago about how the English game needs its aggressive streak, else it would be boring. Instead, he has attempted to sacrifice the career of a bright, young player so that he may get a few more decisions off referee in the future.

    I think the sensible thing is for both sides to accept that it was a 50-50 ball, both players were entitled to challenge for it, no blame can be ascribed to either one and we should leave it at that out of respect for the both of them.

    I think instead of complaining that teams go out to kick Arsenal, you should consider this. We play that same way every week, no matter who the opposition is. We don’t have any trouble with any other teams and quite often enjoy the sight of their diving Prima Donnas cowering out of the physical battles. Usually, it is they who resort to underhand tactics, such as Adebayor’s kung-fu kick on Shawcross last season or van Persie elbowing Sorensen in the face. However, Manchester United and Chelsea have been almost completely impervious to this treatment, have stood up for themselves and won. Do you not think you should look at why your team is a million miles away from those two, instead of complaining about the state of football?

    Personally, I prefer this report:

    http://northy.footballunited.com/2010/02/28/780/

  7. it always hurts me to see somebody in so much pain

    seriously you need some help before its too late, i understand that some kids have lots of problems in thier life, with gcse’s and puberity, but life is too precious for you to go through so much on your own, there is help out there for you little fella and you should concentrate all your energies in finding it

    perhaps you could try your hand at cookery instead of being a football writer, just a thought but it would probably be a better long term option for you

    oh and i really really hope arsenal fulfuill all my hopes and become the next Leeds, Cardiff or in my wildest dreams Portsmouth or Acrington Stanley

    football would be a better place without Arsenal 😉

  8. I’ve read some appalling, one sided, hypocritical nonsense in my time but your description of the match and your aftermatch comments beats them all. In them you are racist, bigoted, and just plain stupid. You can’t even write well. Seriously, your manager needs help; that Spanish spitter, Fabrigas, needs help, but more than those two, you need help. I suggest you lie down for a few days, take some Diazepam and gather the few wits you have. Hopefully, Stoke City will take legal action against your vile, defamatory comments and make you pay for them. I wouldn’t accept your apology. By the way, I’m one of those who mailed WordPress informing them of your libelous words. Although much of it was opinion, there were parts that were stated as fact. That, you dull-witted, moronic individual, is libel.

  9. Another pisspoor article with yet again libelous words. Best be sending this to WordPress once again and also both football clubs

    I’d take it down AGAIN before the lawyers come knocking.. time’s ticking kids

  10. While I’m here.

    Arsenal (and I guess, you) made an almighty fuss last season when Shawcross and Delap injured Arsenal players. Both with tackles from behind, both tackles with far less severity than Fabregas’s tackle from behind on Pugh (and Shawcross) that you appear to admire so much.


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