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Respect should be paid to contrasting styles

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 07:13 UK time, Thursday, 24 February 2011

Arsenal fans need to get off their high horses and realise there is more than one way of playing football.

Not every team in the Premier League, let alone the rest of English football, has the resources to scour the globe for the best talent and weave it together under the tutelage of one of the world's best coaches in Arsene Wenger.

So sometimes opponents play to their strengths by being solid and competitive, and attempt to pinch a point against one of the best footballing teams in the world.

That is what Stoke tried to do on Wednesday night at the Emirates but you would have thought the Gunners were up against Satan's XI the way Arsenal fans were booing at Tony Pulis's players, tactics or tackles.

"You're a disgrace to the Premier League," one supporter shouted as he left after the hard-fought 1-0 win for Wenger's team.


Sebastien Squillaci scores from a corner as Arsenal beat Stoke 1-0 at the Emirates Photo: AP

Sebastien Squillaci scores from a corner as Arsenal beat Stoke 1-0 at the Emirates

 

This was the first time that the two teams had met each other since Aaron Ramsey broke his leg during a challenge with Ryan Shawcross almost exactly year ago, so some vitriol towards the Stoke defender was perhaps expected.The atmosphere was not exactly helped by the Stoke fans singing Shawcross's name within the first couple of minutes of the game.

But for their opposition supporters to boo every Rory Delap throw-in and the decision to book Arsenal's Gael Clichy for the worst tackle of the night made it feel like there was more than just the previous encounter in their minds.

This game, of course, is supposed to be the archetypal contrast in styles: Arsenal's patient passing versus the long-ball merchants.

So you could argue the home supporters were attacking Stoke's philosophy while defending their own.

The truth, however, was far from that stereotype. Pulis sent out his team with a five-man midfield to try and pressure Arsenal's engine room where Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Alex Song often move through the gears.

But in the first 10 minutes Delap, Dean Whitehead and Glenn Whelan could not get close to them.

Arsenal could have been 3-0 up within that time with Theo Walcott hitting the post, fluffing a volley and not connecting with a through ball where he should have done better.

Instead, much to the surprise of Wenger, the Gunners took the lead when Sebastien Squillaci headed in following a deep corner.

Yes, that's right, Arsenal won the game thanks to a set-piece against Stoke.

Does that make the victory any less valuable? Well no, they now sit one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

So if Arsenal fans can accept that goal for what it is, then they should pay respect to the way Stoke play and how they improved after the frantic opening to claw their way back into the game.

They did not go around booting Arsenal players, although you would have thought that, the way the crowd were reacting to every challenge. The injuries to Walcott and Fabregas were just unfortunate.

More than that, though, Stoke almost pulled off the perfect game plan by containing Arsenal with Whitehead absolutely immense in the middle of the park.

It was a defensive display full of craft that even Wenger acknowledged afterwards.

"I think overall the game was played in good spirit, I cannot complain" he said.

"It was committed with strong challenges but overall correct. I have not an issue with the long throws or any other aspect of their game.

"Nobody likes to play against Stoke because they have a very special way to play the game but I have to say that tonight they defended in a very intelligent way.

"For 90 minutes they were disciplined and we didn't find the space and when we found a little bit of space, quickly they cut it off again and we could not take advantage."

The only minor criticism that could be levelled at Pulis's tactics was that having established a platform where only a Robert Huth error led to the Arsenal goal, they did not go all out for a point near the end.

Jonathan Walters had a fine second half on the left side for the Potters and it was his ability to get closer to lone striker John Carew that started to cause Arsenal problems.

But once he was replaced by Ricardo Fuller after 78 minutes, the Jamaican substitute took a similar position where he struggled to make an impact rather than joining Carew as a front two.

Still, Pulis will argue that his team had the chances to earn a draw with the Norwegian forward drawing a fine save from Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny in the first half and Huth and Jermaine Pennant going close in the second.

And despite what Arsenal fans might believe, the Stoke boss is well-versed enough to realise that even though his team operate in a different style, he is still a huge fan of Wenger's side.

"I've always said that Arsenal are a fantastic football club and a fantastic team," he explained after the game.

"For me and our football club we hope they go to Barcelona and win for British football and that's always the case.

"But when you play against them you need to be competitive. We didn't do it in the first 10-15 minutes and they ripped us to bits but when you get a bit closer and work against them hopefully things turn around for you."

It might not have been a classic match but in terms of a contest it was top drawer.

Stoke did not need to resort to the long passes for which they are renowned, they were too busy defending for most of the game and kept possession well for the short periods that they had the ball.

So even though you could not say it was a contrast in styles on Wednesday night's evidence, both teams acquitted themselves well in a very even and fair battle.

The time has come for Arsenal and Stoke fans to draw a line under the Shawcross episode, accept the two teams play in a different manner and enjoy the jousting that follows.

With a mutual respect shown by the two managers is it now possible that their supporters can do the same?

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Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    Its not being condescending-there have been a number of incidents involving Stoke where players have got injured or bad tackles or tackles on the edge. I don't mind their style its determined and dogged at times and they canplay good football its the underlying never quite knowing how far they will go as a team. That's the problem-and you can't stop fans being angry its part of the game its why you suppport one team or the other.
    Its really time for the journalists within the BBC to stop being sanctimonious!

  • Comment number 2.

    Agreed. Arsenal need to stop being hypocrites and get on with playing the game.

    Arsenal seem to want teams to let them play their version of tippy tappy no end product passing football and if you dont oblige and bend over for them and let them score then you're not playing the game the right way.

    Hypocrites.

  • Comment number 3.

    With a mutual respect shown by the two managers is it now possible that their supporters can do the same?

    No - this is football.


  • Comment number 4.

    Well let's be blunt - articles and article titles like this won't exactly help that, will they? You put out the case for Stoke well but completely scold the Arsenal fans. Ah well, they're just a bunch of snobs, right?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    That first line sums it up perfectly. Arsenal fans might realise one day that the only people who won't agree with it are arsenal fans

  • Comment number 7.

    2 injuries in one night is not simply unfortunate. Neither was the horrendous injury to Ramsey and the injuries to Adebayor and Walcott in 2008. Arsenal is very occasionally the team that suffers the worst injuries every year, and it ruins our title/trophy chances every year.
    It frustrates us even more when teams approach us with the rugby tactics Stoke uses. You can almost guarantee an injury whenever Arsenal faces Stoke. Every one of Stoke's challenge was a hard challenge (the majority of which non-booked) and yet Clichy was booked for a very soft one.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    This style of football was good enough for them under George Graham

  • Comment number 10.

    I saw a deliberate kick from behind on Chamakh near the end...
    Did the journalists see that?

  • Comment number 11.

    Alistair Magowan you legend!

  • Comment number 12.

    I dont think it is just arsenal fans to be honest, when stoke came to wolves most of their play was roundly booed and every delap throw-in was greeted with a chant of boring which while effective it is. It does work for them though but its not how i personally like football to be played.

  • Comment number 13.

    Watch out Alistair, you'll unleash the wrath of the Premier League's most paranoid supporters with articles like this.

    I agree, Arsenal fans' snobbery became tiresome years ago. The club's fans should remember the style of play that proved so effective in winning trophies under George Graham.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great article.
    I had a free ticket in the arsenal end last night, and as a stoke fan i found it difficult hearing the abuse the fans gave shawcross, and any stoke player that dared to tackle one of the arsenal gods. Wenger showed respect to stoke for the very first time with his comments last night, i was pleased to hear it. Perhaps Arsenal 'fans' could do the same thing.
    Shawcrosses tackle on ramsey was one footed and not from behind. He got the ball, the resulting injury was unlucky. wilshere's red earlier in the season was far worse, so have been many of eboue's over the years. Arsenal's disciplinary record is FAR worse than stokes this season, if either side are dirty, they are, look at the facts.

  • Comment number 15.

    Alistair, you write "This was the first time that the two teams had met each other since Aaron Ramsey broke his leg during a challenge with Ryan Shawcross almost exactly year ago, so some vitriol towards the Stoke defender was perhaps expected."

    Aaron Ramsey didn't break his leg, it was broken by Shawcross. It's just the way you write this line it comes across as just one of those things, whereas it needs to be eradicated.

    I don't mind well drilled, competitive and tough matches. But there is a line which has to be drawn. I really feel that while we keep extolling the virtues of these hard hitters we will struggle to nurture the right sort of talent and this will adversely affect the England team. For example, where will our Messi, Xavi or Ozil come from? At a young age we are told that being physical is the be-all and end-all. Our most gifted players are told to beef up (look at the likes of Joe Cole, who was exceptionally skillful but this element of trickery was beaten out of him by Chelsea who played a more direct style) and our best players are the strong direct big tackling type (Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry).

    I think that this focus on making sure they feel the first tackle and kicking people up and down just isn't conducive to a good national team. Wait for someone like David Wheater or Nigel de Jong to calve Wilshere in half (I'm not saying with any malice, but because they play to their strengths which is "if I can't get the ball then the player can't get away aswell") and we mourn the loss of a prodigious talent. I think if Messi was born in England he'd have been kicked out of the game years ago.

    And will Ramsey be the same? I can think of tens of players who never got back to their best (the likes of Smith, Cisse, Haaland, Eduardo) whereas very few seem to recover well. Good luck to Ramsey, Valencia, Ben Arfa and Zamora, but I don't have high hopes

  • Comment number 16.


    As Arsenal fans we are perhaps a little more sensitive to this issue than we should be. However, this is based upon bitter experience.

    In the (recent) past some teams have adopted a very physical style against us designed to stilt the playing of football. This particular style of play whilst being 'valid' does nothing to take football out of the 'kick (ball or player) and hope' and (ok so this will soound a bit arrogant) we have been spoilt by fast flowing entertaining football so find this extremely frustrating.

    This frustration is particularly strong when we feel that we do not get the necessary level of protection from the ref.

    I am not saying that Arsenal never foul and sometimes get away with it - every team does - but when you feel that players have been given the brief by their managers to kick seven bales of shhhh-you-know-what out of certain players and you see them constantly getting away with it, it is frustrating a la Bolton, Blackburn and the absolute joke of a ref in the match where Phil 'Hack-it' Neville repeatedly did a real job on Reyes in the match where man u stopped our unbeaten run (ahhh bitter memories).

    Stoke are perhaps especially a target given the horrific injury last season but a fair amount of that is drawn from the fact that we are protective of our players and to see one go down like that really hurt.

    The smaller teams do suffer from a lack of resources sometimes, not just to find skilled players but also the support teams but Arsenal are not exactly the most freely spending club and we work within very tight financial constraints (how often have you heard fans and pundits alike saying 'Arsenal need to buy an experienced .....' only for us either to not buy at all or to buy a youngster

  • Comment number 17.

    Delap should be booked for time-wasting every time he takes a throw in

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with the blog completely - Arsenal fans are football snobs.

    They also always seem to completely forget the fact that they are, and consistently have been, a dirty team.

    This season:
    Arsenal - 45 yellows, 6 red cards
    Stoke - 48 yellows, 2 red cards

    Not much difference there really? Arsenal are second bottom of the disciplinary table, yet Arsenal fans would have you believe they've never commited a foul in a game ever! Quit your whining about how football 'should' be played.

    Source for stats: http://www.premierleague.com/page/Statistics

  • Comment number 19.

    Agreed with post number 18.

  • Comment number 20.

    At 09:37am on 24 Feb 2011, Kapnag wrote:
    This style of football was good enough for them under George Graham

    ------------------------------


    Kapang, not sure if you have realised mate but this is 2011, time and football has moved on.

    C'mon, keep up :)

  • Comment number 21.

    Bad Mick - time wasting?! how long did Fabregas take to dawdle off the pitch!?

  • Comment number 22.

    The reason that those lambasting this as an awful peice of journalism are correct is not because Mr Magowan comes out in favour of Stoke City, it's because his title asks a question.

    He then answers it in the first sentence without and discussion. So he asks a question but then only offers one view as his answer.

    If he'd undertaken some form of discussion of whether the English game would be better served moving towards to Arsenal style (ball retention) and away from the Stoke style (up and at 'em) but then eventually come to the conclusion that, no, the English game is better served by the "contrast in styles" then this would be a perfectly reasonable blog.

    But he doesn't. And it isn't. Standards at the BBC slip but further.

  • Comment number 23.

    Two points:


    1. Arsenal don't treat every opposition team like this, despite a variety of tactical approaches to playing them.

    2. Stoke get booed at other grounds too, like a poster above said.

    They're a club going nowhere if they continue to play like this. Look at Blackpool, entertaining both their own fans and neutrals.

  • Comment number 24.

    This article is likely to get a lot of Arsenal fans back up, but Alistair is completely right.

    Again, the only people likely to disagree with the article as well are going to be said Arsenal fans.

    "there is more than one way of playing football" and they need to realise that. Their football may look prettier, but the varied style of play makes the game interesting.

    One or two players have had leg injuries, broken fibulas and what not, but they all need to get over that and stop using it as an excuse to put down other playing styles. Boo the man who done it by all means, but not everything the opposition do throughout the 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 25.

    Interesting article. I do think there is some truth to the fact that Wenger and the Arsenal fans whinge a lot about tactics employed against them but I wouldn't go as far as to label it as football snobbery. That seems a bit ridiculous and just an attempt at drawing some readers in to your article.

    As someone who doesn't support a Premier League team I tend to watch games that I think will provide the best entertainment for me personally. No surprise then that I have rarely watched a game involving Stoke. I don't particularly like them either and the general consensus at my house is "hopefully Stoke will go down this season." Fair play to them though, they have established themselves in the Premier League and are perfectly within their own rights to play the way they do. No manager or set of fans should be saying otherwise. Arsenal need to up their physical game a bit and maybe then they would be more capable of dealing with them. They still won the game.

  • Comment number 26.

    FAO Mr Drogba...no end product? Are you sure?! I've just checked the league table, to see that Arsenal are the joint top-scorers, having scored 11 more goals than Chelsea.

    Still...nothing like adhering to an unfounded media stereotype though, is there? :o)

  • Comment number 27.

    Don't like Stoke. Hence I do not pay my hard earned cash to watch them.

    Arsenal fans should consider being more selective about the games they choose to go and watch.

    As for the season ticket holders.... if you're willing to pay that much money to go to North London then you get what's coming to you.

  • Comment number 28.

    Plenty of other teams boo Delaps throw ins too, so to level it just at Arsenal is a bit unfair, and don't forget Carews shove on Djourou, the tackle from behind on Chamakh. The tackle on Walcott, nothing malicious in it, just clumsy defending.

    I've nothing against Stoke, it just seems to me that their physical style will lead to injuries

  • Comment number 29.

    PS.c I'm glad you've stopped doing those terrible impressions.

  • Comment number 30.

    When one teams style results in injuries to another teams players, even if its more a case of the perceived reason for the injuries rather than the actual reason, then of course you should expect vitriol. I would say though that I don't really think that a team can criticize the style of another if they themselves have no recent success. Much as I hate to admit it, thats Arsenal. Gotta give credit where it's due though, it is pretty football.

    Also, while everyone might be Arsenal-bashing for their fans attitude, isn't this fairly similar to the international view of England's style of play? Maybe we just have more of a continental outlook :p

    @2 Cos Chelsea's direct, physical, no-nonsense approach is doing sooooo well for you guys this season, obviously. Lampard long ball to 'nando and watch as nothing happens, 50 mill well spent. Wenger could buy a whole good quality bench for that.

  • Comment number 31.

    the decision to book Arsenal's Gael Clichy for the worst tackle of the night
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Where you too busy writing this nonsense when Delap done his best to "shawcross" Sagna?????? That was easily the worst tackle of the night.

    Its no wonder that so many people in the BBC are losing their jobs if guys like you are employed to write rubbish lke this!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    The totally and wholly biased article of yours was summed up early on thus: " Aaron Ramsey broke his leg during a challenge with Ryan Shawcross almost exactly year ago,"

    Would it not have been a little more correct to have stated that Ramsey's leg was broken by the Shawcross tackle?

    Typical though of today's outrageously poor journalism, and I use the word in its loosest definition.





  • Comment number 33.

    Dedwood, that's because of the terrible refereeing in the EPL. The FA is against foreigners like Arsenal. Clichy barely had contact and got a yellow. Stoke does very hard challenges and don't get booked at all. Even the clumbsy tackle on Walcott escaped without a free kick!
    You call that fair? Disciplinary stats lie.

  • Comment number 34.

    @2: Firstly, can you explain how and why Arsenal fans are viewed as hypocrites?

    Assuming a hypocrite is someone who practises hypocrisy, and that its definition is:

    "1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
    2. An act or instance of such falseness."

    Why are they hypocrites?

    Secondly, you say they play "no end product passing football". Would that be why they've scored 57 league goals and are joint top scorers in the league. Assuming from your name you support Chelsea, that's a good 11 more than them.

    Can I call you a hypocrite under your definition, 'cos you expressed an opinion that was somehow different to the established fact?

    @Alistair: hardly a non-inflammatory, non-emotive headline to get the discussion going, was it? Arsenal fans' reaction at the match was, in part, due to the near-beatification of Shawcross (who had previous form for this type of tackle) after last year's match and the comments made by Tony Pulis in its aftermath.

    The style issue gets pulled up by all the media before every match. How is either set of fans expected to let it lie when the media stoke it up (just as you're doing here) every time?

    You're all part of creating this rivalry because it generates hits, sells papers, keeps your job ticking over. Be responsible about it, research both sides of the argument and write a considered piece rather than just trying to provoke. It's so lazy it's untrue!

  • Comment number 35.

    Why are some people claiming that stoke are dirty
    Look at the disciplinary league FACTUAL evidence that Arsenal are a dirtier side than stoke.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    This season:
    Arsenal - 45 yellows, 6 red cards
    Stoke - 48 yellows, 2 red cards


    DAAAAAMMNNN!!! I honestly didn't realise they were that bad! Not a lot you can say to that really is there!

  • Comment number 38.

    You forget to mention the idiotic Stoke fans who cheered when both Cesc and Walcott had to go off. Abit one sighted this article and doesnt touch on the fact that Shawcross has broken 2 legas and left Adebayor out for a period a few years ago. Delap was booed because he takes approx 1 minute for each throw. 5 minutes were added at the end of the game and to be honest it could have been 10, but then again that would have suited Stoke. The worse tackle of the game was from Delap on Sagna. 2 footed and studs up. Did you now see this alistair???

  • Comment number 39.

    This is a ridiculous article. Essentially what you're saying is any teams who can't play football properly should give up and just play long ball?

    Why not aspire to be the best and attempt to play football in the right way? Football is just as much about entertaining the fans who pay hundreds of pounds to follow their team across the country as it is winning.

    I would not pay 5 quid to watch stoke play.

    Blackpool are a team who aspire to play quality football and I fully respect them for this - and they're doing well for it too!

    I was at the arsenal v barcelona match at the emirates this year (and was there last year as well). Both matches were the most incredible games of football I've ever seen. Players doing things with the ball that just looked unbelievable and both are games I'll never ever forget.

    This is football.

    You'd have to pay me a lot of money to waste 90 minutes of my life going to see stoke v blackburn.

    Premier league footballers are professionals and there is no reason they cannot train to be better players and play the game the way it is meant to be played.

    I take it the author of this article enjoyed the terrible man utd 0-0 draw last night?

  • Comment number 40.

    I know your just trying to make a career for yourself with inciteful articles like this one. But what about Ramsey's career? Probably, the player who seemed to have the most potential when he was in operation (remember the game against Panathiakos?) FM scouts thought so too as he had the higest potential in game. Do you think he's still going to become the world's best? I doubt it.

    Shawcross shattered his career along with his bones and had to sit out a couple of matches. Boo hoo. Frankly, if he was booed everyday of his career, by every fan in the premier league it still wouldn't exact the punishment he dished out on Ramsey.

    As for teams resorting to thuggery because they don't have the "resources" to put out a side that plays the game. I think that's the most farcical statement ever. Heard of blackpool? heard of west brom? heard of bolton?

  • Comment number 41.

    A little bit of a lop-sided review I think. It sounds like 'Arsenal should stop moaning that Stoke can't play like them'. To be honest, as an Arsenal fan, I can tell you, we don't care. They want to play like a Championship side, that's up to them.

    Dinosaur managers who cling on to this 'physical is best' mentality will always languish in mid table mediocrity. The likes of Big Sam, Tony Pulis et al are just in it for survival. NONE of the top 6 teams play like that. They all play with technical ability, fitness and skill.

    Finally, highlighting the booing of Ryan Shawcross and brushing over the constant goading of the Arsenal fans by singing his name as if he were some sort of hero for breaking Aaron Ramsey's leg is very misleading. Fans who sing a leg-breakers name - not as support, but as a wind up toward the oppositions fans are idiots, regardless of which team they support. Stoke fans joyously sang Shawcross's name, as if they were jubilant about what he did. Morons.

    Many of the posts here are right. This is poor one sided journalism that stirs up anti-Arsenal emotion. Obviously Mr Magowan is a fan of the old bulldog spirit, hit it long, bash 'em up, show these foreigners and football lovers what its really about eh?

    I am most surprised that Mr Magowan's editor allowed this piece considering its lop-sided slant. I thought the BBC were world renowned for being totally unbiased.

  • Comment number 42.

    Absolutely shocking bit of Neanderthal journalism. The myth that it takes big money to pay pretty football needs to be debunked quickly. Arsenal are a credit to the English game with the way they play football, Stoke are a bunch of louts who kick anything in sight.

    Ryan Shawcross is a thug who lacks the basic common sense to realise that his way of playing injures opponents (Not just Ramsey there has been plenty of others). I'm not saying that he deliberately goes out to injure players, but the key point is that he is reckless and puts other players in peril because he can't comprehend this.

    If the England team is ever to be successful then the sort of limited, thuggish, 'committed' football that Stoke, Allardyce teams etc play needs to be forgotten.

    Blackpool and WBA are prime examples of teams who play entertaining football on comparatively small budgets.

    Before people come out with the tired line of all clubs having players who have committed bad fouls (which they have) the difference is the philosophy at Stoke is to 'rough up' the opposition. Sadly these thuggish tactics to achieve 'limited' success so unfortunately the Premier League will be stained by a Pulis team for at least one more year, lets just hope that Allardyce doesn't find another job.

    Good luck to Arsenal in Barcelona (From a Liverpool fan)

  • Comment number 43.

    Also dont forget (continuing from post 18) that Arsenal tend to dominate possession in most games, so they are committing more yellow and red card tackles than the majority of other teams with less tackling to actually do.

  • Comment number 44.

    Teffers, other than shawcross unfortunately injuring ramsey with a perfectly fair tackle (one footed, got the ball, not from behind), please name his previous form? How many reds and yellows do arsenal have this season? how many do stoke have? Who are the dirtier team?

  • Comment number 45.

    Alistair, did you try considering that the person who you heard say that Stoke are a 'disgrace to the Premier League' might have been referring to the constant chanting of Ryan Shawcross's name? Or how when Walcott was down the Stoke fans were cheering? Let's see if you answer this question, I'd imagine you'll ignore it.

  • Comment number 46.

    This isn't about Stoke they have a very effective Plan B, but for the most part through Etherington and Pennant they play some good football.

    Arsenal and their attractive football is a media myth. They have some players who you would pay good money to watch in Nasri, Arshavin and RVP, but so do all other teams, i find the style of play of Arsenal boring at times, and they are just as guilty of unfair play as any. Wenger just highlights it in the opposition when they (Arsenal) don't perform.

    The problem is when Arsenal play anybody, it is literally men against boys so the physical disparities are highlighted, and it is construed as bully boy tactics by the media.
    PS. You're doing v. good IMPRESSION of a Beeb journo...

  • Comment number 47.

    You're a jounalist you ought to use English better.
    We "need to"?
    Clichy's foul - he got the ball - did not injure anyone

  • Comment number 48.

    Arsenal have the worst disciplinary record in premiership history. To say they're hypocritical is no close to this disgrace of trying rsistently and consistently to plant thoughts on referees minds.

    Wanting to have kids growing up playing football against men is one thing and wanting all the rest to modify their game in order to accomodate them is another.

    The worst case in football, taught in schools as what not to do in football, belongs to their very own Keown, while playing for them. They have throughout the history of the premiership the worst record in fouls commited and red cards and, this season they're not angels either.

    What is disgrace is their attitude.
    What is a surprise is that no one sued Wenger for a variety of comments he made since he decided to make Arsenal a premiership nursery. And that's it.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Arsenal have the worst disciplinary record in premiership history. To say they're hypocritical is no close to this disgrace of trying "rsistently" and consistently to plant thoughts on referees minds."

    that was 'persistently'

  • Comment number 50.

    About the cards thing...first of all, it has no bearing on style of play. Arsenal pick a lot of cards for sloppy tackles, stopping counter-attacks (yes, sometimes purposefully), and all the usual stuff every team does.

    The main thing here is that teams tend to counter-attack Arsenal, so when they foul it's considered stopping a threatening piece of play. Fouling a player who's just keeping possession is less likely to result in a yellow card. Not saying any of this is unfair, it's just the rules.

    This is not just Arsenal fans. Stoke City are unliked by pretty much every other team.

  • Comment number 51.

    Alistair,
    How dare you write on here publicly insulting Arsenal fans! It is disgraceful to cite just what one fan says and condenm the rest of us for it.

    Stoke could play good football like Blackpool have embraced.

    They chose not to and ditched their one actually skillfull player:

    Tuncay.

  • Comment number 52.

    40. At 09:56am on 24 Feb 2011, DoDo wrote:
    I know your just trying to make a career for yourself with inciteful articles like this one. But what about Ramsey's career? Probably, the player who seemed to have the most potential when he was in operation (remember the game against Panathiakos?) FM scouts thought so too as he had the higest potential in game. Do you think he's still going to become the world's best? I doubt it.

    Shawcross shattered his career along with his bones and had to sit out a couple of matches. Boo hoo. Frankly, if he was booed everyday of his career, by every fan in the premier league it still wouldn't exact the punishment he dished out on Ramsey.

    As for teams resorting to thuggery because they don't have the "resources" to put out a side that plays the game. I think that's the most farcical statement ever. Heard of blackpool? heard of west brom? heard of bolton?
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Fantastic point. The painting of Shawcross as a 'victim' is sickening.

    A thug who goes about injuring players due to his own recklessness has no place in Football.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well well well! Here's a surprise! Arsenal move within a point of the top, and the unrelated defamatory press begins. So because Wenger and the players didn't give the press any ammo to continue this press driven debate. Alistair thinks mmmmm? Let’s see, yea let’s have a go at the fans this time.
    Actually maybe you've hit a gold mine here Alistair, why not do this as a daily thing, you can comment on all the other teams chants and actions and then suggest that they should stop being so rude immediately! I mean, are you serious? Is this what you're paid for???

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 21 - ok book Fabregas for 'dawdling' off the pitch injured - but then delap gets 2 yellows for time wasting in the furst 20 mins of every match

  • Comment number 55.

    Personally I would like to see English football producing more Jack Wilshires and less Ryan Shawcrosses. Then we won't have to go through the bi-annual embarrassment of watching 11 Englishmen trying to string 2 passes together in international finals. Arsenal merely play in the style that most teams outside of these islands do - there is nothing that exceptional about it, unless you happen to only watch premiership football in which case the approach of Stoke, Blackburn, Bolton etc is the default style not the exception.

  • Comment number 56.

    Well written Blog. You win the Internet.

  • Comment number 57.

    The fundament issue you get wrong is the assumption that if you don't have the resources of the big guns, the only other option is to play physical and depend on set pieces. After a few seasons in the Premiership, this isn't good enough from Stoke. Teams like Newcastle and Blackpool playing entertaining football in their first season and some of the football Bolton play under Coyle prove that with a bit of ambition, better football should be at least aspired to.

  • Comment number 58.

    "Arsenal fans need to stop being so condescending and realise there is more than one way of playing football"

    Haha

  • Comment number 59.

    20. At 09:44am on 24 Feb 2011, Trel wrote:
    At 09:37am on 24 Feb 2011, Kapnag wrote:
    This style of football was good enough for them under George Graham

    ------------------------------


    Kapang, not sure if you have realised mate but this is 2011, time and football has moved on.

    C'mon, keep up :)

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Actually, you're wrong. Don't Arsenal have the worst disciplinary record this season too?
    What's changed?

  • Comment number 60.

    1-0 to the FOOTBALL team

  • Comment number 61.

    To everyone that says Arsenal played this way under George Graham, that was last in 1995. It is now 2011 and teams like Stoke still see this as a viable way to play football? The game has changed, for the better and its teams like Stoke that stop it from progressing further. Their style of 'thugby football' just puts off teams like Arsenal from playing the beautiful game the way it should be played, the way Shawcross broke Ramsey's leg still sickens me, and with Stokes style of flying into overly aggresive tackles that won't be the last bad injury at the hands of one of their overratted sunday league players!

  • Comment number 62.

    @ arsenalchap Comment #5

    "fact is, stoke are a dirty side, it seems the same time every season we get injuries, i for one am sick of it, stoke and birmingham are two of the dirtiest sides in the league, i will be surprised if any of our team are left to play against barca !!"

    I would like to point out that Stoke are currently on a total of 2 Red cards and 58 Yellow cards, Birmingham are on a total of 1 Red card and 41 Yellow cards and Arsenal are on a total of 8 Red cards and 65 Yellow cards.

    I think this points towards Arsenal being the dirty side.....

    Also to all those Arsenal fans complaining about the long ball game please try to remember back to the 90s when chants around the country used to ring out with "Boring Boring Arsenal!" Arsenal may play some pretty nice football currently but in the past they were masters of the long ball tactic and used it very well in their most successful period.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm sorry but I'm an Arsenal fan and will admit to being a snob. I couldn't care less that we've not won anything for ages because I believe Wenger is looking at the bigger picture, changing how football is played.

    The game in the CL last Wednesday was in my opinion the best game of football I've watched in god knows how long. It was exhilarating to see two teams playing with such skill, such intricacy, such pace and attacking invention without "parking the bus" or "sticking to a game plan to get the job done".

    I see nothing wrong with trying to raise the bar as far as technical play goes and I can only hope that young coaches try and emulate the Wengers and the Guardiolas of this world as football on the whole will benefit.

    Of course it can be interesting when two wildly contrasting styles clash but if I got to watch games like Arsenal vs Barcelona more often then I'd be happy.

  • Comment number 64.

    Stoke play to their strengths just like Arsenal do. It's within the laws of the game and just because it doesn't look as good doesn't mean they should change their style. Stoke play the same way against every team and yet it always seams to be Arsenal fans complaining.

  • Comment number 65.

    This desperately needed to be said by someone in the media. I can't believe some Arsenal fans talk about the "right" way to play football, when it wasn't so longer ago that Wenger used to rely on players such as Keown and Viera.

    Arsenal can play well, but the idea that they produce "beautiful and exciting" football all the time is a complete myth. Most of the time I watch them play the game is frustrating and boring to watch, yet as soon as they put together a half decent move we hear about how fantastic they are.

    Even in the Barcelona game they were outplayed most of the game and could have been several goals down, which seems to be forgotten.

  • Comment number 66.

    Alistair,

    I appreciate your comments and I wholeheartedly agree that the issue of Shawcross/Ramsay needs to be put to bed. But how can it be put to bed when every journalist hypes up the game by saying "the game is almost exactly a year ago since the horrific Ramsay leg break" or something to that effect.

    I'll quote your colleague, Sam Sheringham;

    "The injuries came in each half of the first meeting between the sides since Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey broke his leg in a tackle..."

    "...Shawcross - captaining Stoke almost exactly a year after the Ramsey incident - ..."

    Whilst watching the game last night I feel it is uneccesary to so roundly boo Shawcross after what happened. The player was clearly drained by the whole incident and visibly horrified. But it is impossible to draw a line under the situation when it is repeatedly brought up by every facet of the media.

    With regards to the article, I find it equally offensive that on the BBC Home Page that it is titled "Football snobbery". I don't think it's snobbery at all, Arsenal fans want to see a good, attractive game of football and Stoke's strengths do not encourage that type of football. They are known as being a "tough team to beat". I just think teams should have a go a bit more at Arsenal and not "park the bus" as Mourinho once said.

    Unfortunately you have picked on a small minority of Arsenal fans who think Stoke are a "disrgace to the game" and have insinuated (not said, I will make that distinction clear) that all Arsenal fans feel that way. I imagine at the Manchester Derby last weekend there were some "Munich" comments stemming from a section of the City supporters, but that does not get written about?

    I think this article is more about letting the issue carry on burning rather than putting the fire out, and I think you're bein hugely hypocritical in telling Arsenal fans to let this one die, because it seems journalists are unable to do so themselves.

  • Comment number 67.

    A fairly one-dimensional article. It seems that criticising Arsenal/Wenger's dislike of aggressive tactics is the new 'in thing' for journalists. This one is simply jumping on the band wagon...

  • Comment number 68.

    55. At 10:06am on 24 Feb 2011, fridaysboy wrote:
    Personally I would like to see English football producing more Jack Wilshires and less Ryan Shawcrosses. Then we won't have to go through the bi-annual embarrassment of watching 11 Englishmen trying to string 2 passes together in international finals. Arsenal merely play in the style that most teams outside of these islands do - there is nothing that exceptional about it, unless you happen to only watch premiership football in which case the approach of Stoke, Blackburn, Bolton etc is the default style not the exception.
    ------------------------------
    Very good point.

  • Comment number 69.

    As a Stoke fan I would suggest Arsenal look at the disciplinary table for yellow and red cards this season. This is a great article, teams play in different ways, and lets face it Arsenal just do not like teams like Stoke who try not to allow them to play football. At The Britannia Stadium it will be a vastly different game, with such an intimidating atmosphere I would not be surprised with another three points for Stoke a possibly a crucial time in the race for the Premier League title. I for one very much enjoy watching Arsenal and hope that they get through the next round of the Champions League, but sadly the majority of their fans are pathetic.

  • Comment number 70.

    How can England win the world cup with 11 Ryan Shawcross'es? We need more Jack Wilshere's if we have any chance of winning.

    It is a game of football, not a mix of basketball (long throws) and rugby (the hard tackles).

    Delap committed a double legged stud showing challenge on Sagna and escaped without a yellow! That is a straight red imo.
    How dare you bring disciplinary records. English refereeing is biased.
    Clichy barely showed contact at all yet 8 of Stoke's hard challenges are potential leg breakers (the majority of which nonbooked).

  • Comment number 71.

    Everyone commenting on 'ohhh terrible blog blah blah blah' (the same rubbish I see on every football related blog on the Beeb, I didn't realise so many 606'ers were expert blog writers)...

    Isn't the point of a blog on the bbc to ask a question and spark a debate? Seems to happened here? Good blog then? job done?

    Write your own blogs about Arsenal's majesty if you are so brilliant at them.

  • Comment number 72.

    Bolton play better football this year with the same bunch of players, so lets not pretend that teams like Stoke have no other alternative than to play as they do.

  • Comment number 73.

    The more skillfull players are often referred to in the same tone as someone who is born into wealth. If youve whitness the way kids developed their skills 90% of it is knuckling down to the repetitive boring practice. I doubt if anybody practices harder than Ronaldo for example. It is much easier to get the bigger stronger players to outmuscle the more skillfull players than to develop skills so why so should we respect them ?

  • Comment number 74.

    Comment 66:

    You have said pretty much what I said and I completely agree with you.

    Most sensible comment so far.

  • Comment number 75.

    Fans have every right to boo Stoke. Football is an entertainment business and fans are the paying customers. And without doubt Stoke are awful.

    Every time we play Stoke it turns into a punt and scuffle kind of game. The difference is that unlike Sunderland, Arsenal have the ability to out-play and out-manoeuvre Stoke.

    Fair play Arsenal fans boo away!

  • Comment number 76.

    At 10:04am on 24 Feb 2011, MAC 606 wrote:

    Well well well! Here's a surprise! Arsenal move within a point of the top, and the unrelated defamatory press begins. So because Wenger and the players didn't give the press any ammo to continue this press driven debate. Alistair thinks mmmmm? Let’s see, yea let’s have a go at the fans this time.

    This to be honest. I'm confident that most of the journalists were hoping for Stoke to upset the barrel-cart, so they could lap up Wenger's post-match comments. I'm also confident that had Stoke nicked it, then that's entirely what we would have heard.

  • Comment number 77.

    Would anyone agree, including Alistair, that it's a bit of a myth that because teams don't have the 'resources to scour the globe for the best talent' they can't play attractive football and can only cope in the premier league by playing long ball/physical football. Blackpool, who are only 1 point behind stoke, have shown that it IS possible for smaller teams to play attractive football and be competative in the premier league. They have been a breath of fresh air and for me, have completly blown this myth away. I'm not saying that teams can't play long ball if they want to, fine, but lets accept that its the choice of the manager to play such a boring style, not a neccesity imposed on them by the resources available, as Holloway has shown by creating an attractive footballing team on, as far as i'm aware, the most limited budget in the premier league. THANK YOU IAN!

  • Comment number 78.

    50. At 10:04am on 24 Feb 2011, BrokenBoxJC wrote:
    About the cards thing...first of all, it has no bearing on style of play. Arsenal pick a lot of cards for sloppy tackles, stopping counter-attacks (yes, sometimes purposefully), and all the usual stuff every team does.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    That's a myth. I remember a game at Manchester City last season, where RVP tried to hurt Adebayour with both feet sliding, Adebayour avoided contact the last second and even got carded for that.

    To be top on fouls committed is an attitude problem.

    As for the Shawcross incidents, every pundit in the game said, very rightly, that Shawcross was going for the ball. His foot aimed at the ball, contacted the ball. And Arsenal fans, with their boss a leader are trying to shatter an England international's career for a tacle that took a small fraction of a second, where he was aiming at the ball, his foot was aiming at the ball and actually got the ball.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    PS. I don't think it's fair to label Bolton this way though. Once under Allerdyce, but they're a great team now under Coyle.

  • Comment number 81.

    i completely agree with this arsenal fans are hypocrites in the way they act they boo bad tackles from other teams yet take mr wenger's approach of "never seeing" any incidents involving arsenal players and on the shawcross matter if you watch the replays of that tackle on ramsay you will notice that both players go to ground in an innocent FAIR 50/50 challenge with both players going in strongly and as you will see by shawcross' reaction there was no intent as the poor lad went off the pitch crying after an unjustified red card i think its about time arsenal fans realise that football is a CONTACT sport and accidents do happen

  • Comment number 82.

    Arsenal seem to forget under George Graham, they played a similar style to Stoke. Actually Stoke probably play more football then that Arsenal team. Stoke play hard but fair..How many Arsenal players have been sent off since Wenger was manager? More then most i would think.. Ipswich beat them 1-0 and were accused of 'rugby tactics'. I am a Norwich supporter but even I know Ipswich are not a dirty side. Arsenal are just bad losers, or even worse, bad winners.

  • Comment number 83.

    Clichy's was the worst tackle?? Did you see Delap's challenge on Sagna? He went with his studs up, got none of the ball and all the player it was horrendous and could have done serious damage to the player, unlike Clichy who, you know, got the ball.

    All this nonsense about Arsenal being dirtier than Stoke is rubbish too, if you look at the table of most fouls conceded there is one Arsenal player (Song) in the top twenty and 3 Stoke players (Huth, Delap and Whitehead). All that people are proving with the card "evidence" is that Stoke get away with repeated fouling whereas one of "the bigger teams" Pulis likes to rage on about don't.

  • Comment number 84.

    This is my only real problem with Arsenal. They are a great team, very easy on the eye and have a great manager, but they cannot accept other teams playing to their own strengths and Arsenal's weaknesses. Like the blog mentions, there is more than one way to play football and if Stoke had chosen to try and play like Arsenal they would have been slaughtered. Instead they played the same way they have done in getting 3 wins against Arsenal in being physical and aggressive. I agree that there it is borderline when aggressive tackles become dangerous tackles but that is part of the game. Split seconds are all it take, just as Walcott was inches away from scoring but instead he hit the post. Arsene is always moaning about other teams and the way they play rather than looking at Arsenal and seeing that there are shortcomings in his squad.

    Arsenal have been unlucky with injuries, but the bad blood after the Ramsey challenge is stupid. It was a 50-50 ball that they both went in for, and unfortunately for Ramsey he broke his leg in the challenge, which was the only reason Shawcross was sent off. It wasn't dangerous or malicious, just bad luck, something Arsenal have when it comes to injuries.

    I think Arsenal need to stop questioning other teams style of play and concentrate on addressing their own shortcomings and trying to win trophies. They won last night to keep pressure on United, have a good chance of beating Barca and have the league cup final on Sunday. If they put as much effort into winning these trophies as they do about complaining about other teams they would have won something years ago.

  • Comment number 85.

    Stoke are a disgrace and that's coming from a Wolves fan. I've never watched a more boring team and couldn't even face the prospect of watching them this season. The Wolves fans sing "How dyou watch this every week" when Stoke come. 19 throw-ins Rory Delay had in the 1st half last season. The keeper gets the ball, he punts it up to the lines hoping it will come off a defender and Rory gets ready. Awful stuff. Arsenal were outstanding and a pleasure to watch.

  • Comment number 86.

    What is this article about other than perpetuating conceptions which may well be mis-conceptions?

    I think all this 'Arsenal play pretty football' stuff is sooo overblown. Also, the idea that a team like Stoke only ever hoof the ball up front is probably wrong as well. Also, what is wrong with a long throw? Is it a perfectly legitimate thing to do and has the same merit as a corner or a free kick out wide.

    Some teams (Allardyce teams shall we call them) seem to play a percentage game with set pieces rather than have a plan for open play as well (as Allardyce has said when punditing) but just because Stoke, for example, get success with set pieces perhaps more than in open play, doesn't mean they can't play football.

    Frankly, for all the fawning over Arsenal, for several seasons now they have simply failed to be good enough when the hour has arrived.

    This season may change that, who knows, and good luck to them if they do win something (and I include the League Cup in that) but that in itself won't necessarily vindicate the years of flipping the ball around and not actually trying to hit the target in a match.

    The article would be better served if there was some insight and analysis of where the ball was, who had it, what they did with it etc etc rather than just taking the bloke down the pub approach that is often presented by ill-informed so called experts.

  • Comment number 87.

    It's hardly promoting 'technical' football though is it, the way that Stoke play? Sure it may be dogged and determined but the fact that so many Premier League clubs are willing to set their sides up like this is as much a reason for the technical deficiency amongst British players than the amount of foreign players within teams. If you want to improve your national team you can't have a third of your top tier teams playing football like Stoke's.

    The comment that other teams like Bolton are able to get the same results, with the same kind of players and a much different style is right on the mark.

  • Comment number 88.

    Fans have to take in to consideration the pressure managers are under to keep their jobs and the clubs are financially under to stay in the Premier League. These clubs are now businesses, and the key to them is to stay in the top flight. So the choice between promoting better technical football at risk of being beaten does not outweigh the choice to be compact and hard to beat.
    I know Blackpool have bucked the trend but since the turn of the year they have been hammered on a few occasions and are now at risk of going back down. A risk teams can't afford to take.

  • Comment number 89.

    p.s arsenal are good to watch like tottenham and with any luck they win the league cup so that the fans argument that there is an end product can have some validity ;)

  • Comment number 90.

    The arguments for Stoke's style of play fall flat on their posteriors when you look at Bolton.

    When fat Sam was there the team played long ball thug-like football which we see at Stoke, because "they were not good enough to go against the better teams like for like". But now under Owen Coyle with many of the same players, they play good football and are higher up the league than they have ever been.

    These are players playing in the very highest level of our national game and EVERY one them should be capable of passing the ball and movement.

    It doesn't make me a snob to want to see decent football played, I coach kids and I try to teach them that getting the ball down and playing with speed and technique is what the game is about. This is an approach that brings success not failure.

  • Comment number 91.

    Arsenal fans, manager and players do seem to whinge when their opposition don't play "the beautiful game" as they put it and complain about hard tackling and long balls as well as, usually, the state of the pitch.

    As an Ipswich fan I was incensed by Fabregas' comments that we played Rugby when we beat them at Portman Road, and that the pitch was not pristine.

    However it is really hypocricy of the highest order, in the second leg Bendtners goal came courtesy of a long ball and their second from a set piece. As for the tackles none in either game were malicious and it was Arsenal who put the ball over the bar on countless occasions.

    Stoke, who are more adept at the more physical, defensive, "stop the opposition" game plan than we are also get villified.

    It seems the more players cost or are perceived to be valued, the more the teams, such as Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal complain when the ref does not metaphorically wrap them in cotton wool and penalise every contact with their players. The refs though need to treat ALL players the same from AFC Wimbledon to Arsenal, if a tackle is fair or a collision is accidental, play on, as per the laws of the game.

    Free kicks, corners and throw ins are an important part of the game why shouldn't any team work hard on the training pitch to maximise these. The long throw is now an accepted part of the game. It does not suit every team but it's legal and every team needs to defend against it.

  • Comment number 92.

    Style is personal, class is permanent, Neither team have won anything of Note, so it's all a sort of inverted snobbery of the poor really. Arsenal are chokers.... and jealous of teams who are just as good for less money and flair.

  • Comment number 93.

    The negative comments aimed at Stoke seem a little unfair. This team does have Fuller, Etherington, Pennant and Kenwyne Jones in it, who are all skillfull players, especially the first two. The rest of the team can play well when they want to aswell, the Whiteheads of the world can do a job defensively, or set up a counter-attack on the day. Personally I find Stoke on of the more interesting clubs in the league to watch, as you never know how the other team is going to set up and how the match will end; especially when Stoke turn it on for 15-30 minutes and bombard the other team with a mixture of set pieces and often excellent general play.

    Someone earlier cited Stoke and Birmingham as being the dirtiest teams - their game at the begining of the season was excellent: the momentum sea-sawed through out; at times it was very end to end; and this was done using a mixture of footballing approaches (although if anything Birmingham used the long ball more). I don't support either team, but I watched it knowing these teams are capable of delivering good football on their day, and they didn't dissapoint.

  • Comment number 94.

    Its nothing to do with the way Stoke play. We all know that they will play to Delap's long throws, its a weapon which works against all teams. At the end of the day Stoke have once again injured our players. Fabregas might of been unlucky, but Walcott was running rings around the Stoke defence until he was kicked and now he is out of the cup final.

    Shawcross broke Ramsey's leg last year - the 3rd players leg he has broken in his career but no one seems to mention that.

    Surely there needs to be a rule change with the throw ins - the thing that annoys me is it takes Delap 20 seconds to throw the ball and the ref allows him to take as much time as he wants!!! how is that fair? I don't care how far he can throw it but 20+ seconds a throw is stupid!

  • Comment number 95.

    Oh and by the way, a point or two off the top, is still second best.

  • Comment number 96.

    84. At 10:23am on 24 Feb 2011, ManUtdsince1987 wrote:
    This is my only real problem with Arsenal. They are a great team, very easy on the eye and have a great manager, but they cannot accept other teams playing to their own strengths and Arsenal's weaknesses.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Actually it is not the only real problem with Arsenal. I can easily remember two more:

    a) When I remember Arsenal fans throwing whatever they could get on their hands on that infamous Man City v Arsenal match, I'm still puzzled how the F.A. didn't punish them. That was as close to hooliganism as you can get in England these days.

    b) Arsenal fans are the only fans in the premiership where they can make a player of their own cry, with indecent, racist remarks about everything possible, especially the colour of his skin. And that's a disgrace, it is racism and it is surprise no one mentions it.

  • Comment number 97.

    Football needs the Arsenals of this world. It does not need the Stokes.

  • Comment number 98.

    "Arsenal's Gael Clichy for the worst tackle of the night"

    Complete and utter rubbish. Delap made a two-footed tackle on Sagna, which could've smashed his leg, if he hadn't jumped up.

    "With a mutual respect shown by the two managers is it now possible that their supporters can do the same?"

    A player of theirs smashed Ramsey's leg and they chant that player's name to celebrate his disgraceful act? I have no respect for such supporters, nor can anyone expect me to.

    As far as the way Stoke play goes, they are a rugby side playing Premier League football. The only threat they create is from throw-ins. That's not called football and it never will be.
    People call every bad tackle Stoke make clumsy, including Shawcross' numerous dangerous tackles in the past. That's ridiculous. He had a history of bad tackles before what he did to Ramsey and we shouldn't be fooled by the crocodile tears he shed afterwards.
    That Arsenal fan was spot-on: Stoke are a disgrace to the Premier League.

  • Comment number 99.

    I for one am not against Stoke's physical style of play, maybe it'll start toughening up the other players in the league. I think it says enough for Shawcross that he walked off the pitch in tears after his tackle, not often you see that kind of regret from a football player.

  • Comment number 100.

    I dont mind people having a pop at Arsenal but this article is so one sided. Stokes fans mocked Ramsey and cheered when our players for injured. Arsenal fans can be fickle but were not half has bad as some of those Stoke fans last night.

 

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