Monday, March 1, 2010

Stoke 1-3 Arsenal, The FA need to address these challenges

On The Challenge
It was a 50-50 ball, and Shawcross goes into kick the ball, which Ramsey has controlled and moved, and Shawcross follows through. I don't think it was intentional, but Shawcross does have a history of being a dirty player, and he could've quite possbly followed through to make his mark on Ramsey.
But I for one don't care whether Shawcross left crying and had to be picked up by his mum. I don't care if he doesn't have a bad bone in his body (Well thats why Shawcross went through Adebayor when the ball was off the pitch and went through Francis Jeffers). This is the third time in 4 years an Arsenal player has had a serious career threatening broken leg from a bad challenge, and Patrick Barclay made a great point: If the challenge is on the ground, neither Eduardo or Ramsey get legs broken. I think the FA need to do something to prevent challenges like this happening, and it should start with Shawcross getting a lengthy ban for the challenge. I've just read Barney Ronay's article in the Guardian, and listened to Rafa Honigstein on Football Weekly, and I agree completely, with what they have to say, which is that the challenge was excessively forceful, and that these challenges are systematic with English football. Spurs, Hull, Everton may be fouled more, but we've suffered more. Also, Arseblog's post on Sunday, and today and Gunnerblog's post are very good as well.
Also fair play to Glenn Whelan who stayed with Ramsey after the challenge until he was stretchered off and fair play to the Stoke supporters who clapped him off. Those who made wanker signs should be ashamed of themselves.
The Game
Stoke started quickly as they usually do, and scored in the 8th minute. Song foolishly decided to concede a throw rather than a corner, and Delap's throw was headed across by Shawcross for Pugh to head home. However Stoke went into a shell and indtead of playing 4-4-2, they went into effectively a 8-0-2. Arsenal came back into the game, and Fabregas crossed for Bendtner to brilliantly head home in the 32nd minute. Arsenal continued to push forward, and the two central defenders, Campbell and Vermaelen did brilliantly to deal with Fuller and Sidibe. We came out the better team after half time and should've had a penalty when Ramsey, played in by Fabregas, was bundled over by Shawcross and another agricultural defender. However, we didn't get the penalty, and then Shawcross broke Ramsey's leg. After that we could've collapsed like we did at Birmingham 2 years ago, but we didn't, with Cesc galvanizing the team, and we finally got a penalty when Bendtner's pass hit Pugh's arm. Cesc put the penalty away.

Arsenal got a third when Rosicky's shot was parried, Fabregas beat Sorensen to the rebound and passed to Vermaelen who finished, and was very pumped after being one of the most devastated players with Ramsey's injury.
Afterwards the players gathered into a huddle, and you can tell that mentally this team is better than the 07-08 team. 3 points behind Chelsea, 2 behind United and with Chelsea struggling we are in a good position. A tough day, emotionally, physically and mentally, but Arsenal came through and we are firmly in the tile race.

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