As stricken Welshman Aaron Ramsey lay, leg shattered, the pious cry of Arsène Wenger could almost be heard above the youngster’s screams. But with the dust settling, it is debatable what chasm will heal first: Wenger’s rash assertion that there is an anti-Arsenal conspiracy to injure his players or the midfielder’s fractured bones.
Football, as a contact sport of long-standing, is well used to serious injury but its power to shock is undiminished. Ramsey’s injury was every bit as sickening as those suffered by Eduardo, Alan Smith, David Buust and countless others over the years.
As a highly talented youngster at a leading club Ramsey’s injury, naturally, garners more national interest than most. But it is this very fact that proffers Wenger a platform to pronounce Ryan Shawcross not only guilty but lay the charge of national conspiracy at the Stoke City player’s door.
The degree of legitimacy in the former-Manchester United youngster’s tackle has been widely debated. Opinions range from essentially labeling Shawcross as the demonic figurehead of a brutalist sport bent on destroying Arsenal to the belief that Wenger should personally apologise to the Stoke defender.
Neither is true of course, and although it is hard to defend a tackle whose outcome was an injury of such severity, perspective must be kept.
That Ramsey’s broken leg, on first medical analysis, will heal and enable the player to return within the year is a blessing. And in time perspective normally brings a more rational response as well healing broken bones. Except, sadly, in Wenger whose extrapolation from one tackle the intentions of an entire community is deeply flawed.
The trouble with Wenger is that his didactic assertion, born of a skewed partisan viewpoint, that football is in some way out to get his team is hugely wide of the mark. The Shawcross incident is hardly the first time Wenger has made this charge. It has become an habitual pattern.
Football is and always has been a sport both of technical skill and physicality. There is no monopoly on the former at Arsenal and no conspiracy to direct the later solely at Wenger’s side. The Frenchman’s attempt to assert moral authority over the rest of the football community is deeply insulting.
Wenger also allows a legitimate charge of hypocrisy to be laid at his door. In recent seasons the Arsenal manager has condoned the perpetrators of two of the most shocking tackles seen in English football.
William Gallas’ brutal two footed assault on Bolton Wanderers’ Mark Davies is no less violent simply because the outcome was less destructive than Shawcross’. Similarly, Abou Diaby’s challenge on Bolton’s Gretar Steinsson was miraculous only in that it did not break the Iceland midfielder’s ankle.
Just two examples to illustrate a point but each challenge could have resulted in far more serious injury. Would it then have been justifiable to label Arsenal a side pre-determined to break opponents’ legs? Of course not.
Sadly the debate has degenerated into two camps. Those within the Arsenal family, spurred on by Wenger’s illegitimate paranoia, genuinely believe than not only did Shawcross mean to break Ramsay’s leg but that there is a culture of violence against their team. Few outside of the Emirates buy into that analysis.
The pity in all of it is that Ramsey deserves better support from his manager. He’ll need it.
54 thoughts on “Sanctimonious Wenger does Ramsey little justice”
Wenger’s rants regarding the ‘treatment’ his side receives are becoming tiresome, even if he is embarking on an embarrassing siege mentality exercise – something that I doubt any ref/manager/player will buy into.
What happened to Ramsey was tragic, no one wants to see a young player break their leg like that. I think it was a late tackle and a bad tackle at that – but I do not believe he went in intentionally to hurt the boy, something that Wenger has insinuated.
If anything I honestly feel it is an unfortunate incident, whereby both players went in at pace, Ramsey nicked the ball forwards (whilst in the air), landed and push his body weight onto his standing leg, which was met by the full force of Shawcross.
Awful tackle but I don’t believe he went in to hurt Ramsey. I wish the lad a speedy recovery and hopefully nobody takes Wenger too seriously.
when has wenger said that? in the aftermath of the game he said no such thing,more bad journalism, is that your mr collymore in disguise? after the game he said it was a fair game, he also said it was unnaceptable the injury, which its true, he also said its hard to take, which is why its unnacceptable, and a horrendous challenge which it was between 2 players, he said the same things about the gallas challenge, so when did wenger once say teams try to injure arsenal players???
Actually he said “too much” was made of the Gallas challenge, dismissed it as “miss timed” and said it was “without any intention to hurt the player” – which quite a few people said about the Shawcross tackle too. Irony Arsene, do you get it?
Yeah it would be ironic except that Gallas didn’t break Mark Davies’ ankle.
Yes it is irony. irony that when Gallas made the challenge, the whole of England was calling for his head, saying that it was assault, saying that he should get an 8-match ban. Whilst in this case the whole of England is going on about how he is not that type of player (even though he has broken 2 other people’s legs) and that is terrible to say such things. That is what you call hypocritical.
I have seen that Gallas challenge. His foot was on the floor, his studs were slightly up (but not as up as davies’s studs) and he was a little late. Horror challenge? Please – that is just more anti-Arsenal bullshit. he was out for a week.
If you don’t believe me then look at the link you posted. You call it two-footed in your post. Are you blind?
Haha. Another one. I love it. Awww poor Arsenal, all these mean nasty teams just kick our boys diddums. But its ok when we try doing some reducing ourselves, ok?
“Ramsay’s injury was every bit as sickening as those suffered by Eduardo, Alan Smith, David Buust and countless others over the years.”
Wengers point is that Arsenal have suffered three of these injuries (Ramsay, Eduado & Diaby) in the last four years. Smith’s injury was horrific for Man U, as was David Buust’s, but they happened to separate clubs, over a longer period of time. That’s Wenger’s point.
No-one, noone in the Arsenal camp “spurred on by Wenger’s illegitimate paranoia, genuinely believe than not only did Shawcross mean to break Ramsay’s leg but that there is a culture of violence against their team”, and you won’t hear any serious supporter or blogger say it. But Arsenal have been hit by three broken legs in four years, and no other top flight club has. Facts are facts. Discuss.
sorry to continue but wenger only said spare me the character refernces, he didnt even mention shawcross and hasnt even mentioned it since, so when has he tried to make shawcross cry? explain please author
iv got nothing against shawcross by the way but he does have form, arsenal players are no angels but we dont talk of kicking teams off the pitch in the press in the build up to games, this is the biggest crime in football ,talking this type of game
Please get your facts right….
Wenger never condemned Shawcross, he was upset about the tackle…
You are such a xenophobe, why is Wenger the bad guy in all this….are you seriously suggesting SAF would be pragmatic and claim it was an accident…….no chance….
Please leave AW alone, he is a good man, who like all top managers cares deeply about his club and players.
Look at what he actually says, not what Sky and the Sun tell you he said
See above and Wenger’s post match comments are well documented.
By the way – do you know what xenophobe means? Just checking because a) you don’t know what nationality I am, and b) since I’m English and my club doesn’t have an English manager I’m not quite sure what your point is…
Its the anti-french thing, and you know what I mean….
Arsene Wenger was fuming at the situation – and I am sure SAF would be also in the same scenario…he never once said it was a deliberate attempt to injure – but he is hammered for venting his feelings on a very emotional day
The hatred of Arsene Wenger and the way he operates is projected in some parts of the media…he has flaws, as does every manager…his are magnified.
It has not always been the case, roles have been reversed when we were over praised by the media in the early nougties….but right now its certainly not the case…every time he talks its taken out of context…
He has been accussed of criticsing Chelsea and Villa, but if you see the whole interview he heaps praise on both…certain parts of the text are used to cause an anti-wenger mentality…
I think its sickening, that such little focus was on poor Ramsey and on Wenger being the bad guy and Shawcross not being that sort of player…
anyway good article, peace
Wenger never said one thing about a nation-wide conspiracy against Arsenal. He said he didn’t believe that these 3 horrific leg breaks within the space of less than 4 years could possibly be down to coincidence. And I agree with him.
He was of course referring to the style of play adopted by teams of limited ability (Stoke, for example) and the way these teams are sent out to play when facing Arsenal.
You can be forgiven for not picking up on this if you are not an Arsenal supporter, but before almost EVERY game against the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Stoke (as well as pretty much every single team below Arsenal in the table) the opposition comes out in newspapers saying how they are going to ‘rough them up’. Or ‘get in their faces’, which basically means that they are going to tackle the Arsenal players harder than usual, play as physical as possible while bending the rules of the game. And this is considered to be acceptable. An old-fashioned, hard-working English team kicking the crap out of those superior Johnny Foreigners.
The result of this social convention is there for all to see.
I’ll make my point once since quite a few Gooners have repeated the same point. Wenger did say it wasn’t a cooincidence which de facto means a conspiracy. But I don’t buy physicality is the same as setting out with a plan to injur.
I guess we all see these things through club-tinted glasses. Cristiano Ronaldo got the same treatment by the way, kicked around every week which resulted in ankle surgery. Arsenal fans were happy just to label him a diver.
No coincidence = conspiracy???
It can mean a lot of things in between cant it? Can’t it mean that there is no deterrent in place for such reckless challenges? Can’t it mean that the laws are not in place to stop coaches from setting their teams out to kick better teams?
I can’t speak on behalf of all arsenal fans, but I wasnt half happy to see Ronaldo leave. As I feel Ronaldo’s departure in part is symptomatic of what will happen if things are not set right. As a flair player with a limited time at the top to make or break your life, how likely is anyone to bank their future in EPL ,where legs break all around you?
I wont doubt Fabregas’s loyalty if he decides to leave as it easily could have been him instead of Ramsey.
What’s your point? To have a pop at a manager who’s concerned that these injuries actually happen?
Football is a physical game, but if the result of quicker, fitter, faster players mean that a few players each year will suffer the kind of injuries that mean they might struggle to walk, let alone work then perhaps football should look into ways of making sure it doesn’t happen again.
I am afraid that you have fallen into a pretty common error in reporting what you think Arsene said, not what he actually did say. And from that you have deduced that all Gooners think Shawcross intended to maim. Another error. If you read other Gooner blogs such as mine you may realize that. I would in closing merely point out that ill-thought out or not, Arsene’s comments suggest he is the very best person to support Aaron since he cares passionately about his welfare. I would appreciate you getting your facts correct, though I support your right to draw whatever conclusions you wish from them.
Well I wish I could agree with you but really i have to go with common sense. I rate Chelsea and Arsenal as our main rivals in the Premier League, and I watch all their games. Arsenal are almost certainly roughed up by most teams. Why? Because it works against them. Close them down hard and they can’t pass. That in it self is not wrong but week in week out they are bound to have a constant injury list as a result and are more likely to get more serious injuries. If it becomes common knowledge that to stop arsenal you have to go in hard then players go over the top. It was not intentional but it seems to be the mentality against arsenal. GO IN HARD. To be honest I can see why the feel the way they do.
THANK YOU! Good to see a voice of sound reasoning among your ranks.
It’s not easy to come to the Britannia and play against Stoke and we all know Arsenal are not a team who deal with [physical] pressure too well.
“Every time [Didier] Drogba roughs them up, Chelsea beat Arsenal. Bolton used to do it under Big Sam — Kevin Davies and all those guys roughed Arsenal up too. We’ve got to hit them with a bit of aggression.
Those quotes from Ricardo Fuller and similar from Sam and in the past Pulis and Brown not to mention the constant media diatribe from Brazil and Cascarino , might just have somewhat influenced Wenger’s mindset.
ed thats true, and whats he said about the shawcross ramsey incident apart from it was horrendous? gallas didnt get one character reference but was accused of assault by owen coyle, did we squeel and look for the national press to come running toour aid? wenger not once said anything about shawcross apart from spare me the character references because it is what it is, a bad challenge he didnt say once shawcross was filth
again, personally i think sky sports should have stayed away from wenger because the nature of what had happened, they went looking for their exclussive, wenger spoke in riddles and when it went to print it was printed how they wantedit to sound, now wenger should say sorry and he hasnt even condemned shawcross
its just hard to take, im not bitter, iv watched football since the 70’s, but its sad wehn teams come out and say arsenal dont like it up’em,who does? do liverpool enjoy being threatened then wacked? i dont think so, and all thats without players getting hurt, people should be pointing at andy grey in his after match talk he was like…PEOPLE say to stop arsenal you have to get in their faces….andy has been there at all 3 leg breaks and he has told teams to get in our faces before each of the games
Well I guess my points were threefold – 1) There’s no conspiracy to injury, it is cooincidence, 2) Wenger has no right to moral superiority, 3) If Wenger wants long bans (as he suggested) for violent play then he’d better support it for his own players too.
1) There is no conspiracy but there are certainly clubs who have carried out this policy. It’s not merely conincidence. Three broken legs in four years. If thats not a sign that there are clubs out there using excessive force, I dont what is. Maybe if we have one more broken leg in the next two years you will see it. Then again, you probably wouldn’t.
2) Why is this even a point? Did he ever claim to have the moral higher ground? Please back up your claims with a link
2) Here you go – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sanctimonious
Even as a gooner I see this as a fair point overall. There should be no hysterics on either side of the fence, it was an unfortunate injury and I just hope Ramsey comes back the same player he was before.
The only things I’d pull you up on are the comparisons with the Gallas incident. I don’t see how people can say that was worse than what Shawcross did, for me, they were both 50/50 balls where the midfielders were just too quick for the defenders, leaving their legs where the balls had just been.
The only difference between the two tackles is that Shawcross unnecessarily threw his entire 14 stone body into the challenge (and look at how far he pulled his tackling leg back, if Ramsey wasn’t there he would have booted that ball into orbit!). Gallas on the other hand simply trod on Davies’ ankle. If he had put the amount of force Shawcross had put into his tackle, then surely the ankle would have snapped.
The other thing is that Wenger called the challenge “horrendous”. Owen Coyle described the Gallas tackle as “assault”. He later retracted his statements. Which manager has over-reacted?
As for the Diaby tackle, I thought it was a horrible tackle and I’m sure Wenger set him straight about it behind closed doors. Diaby has not made this type of tackle since, but it does not excuse his recklessness and endangerment to his fellow professional on this occasion.
I can only hope that Tony Pulis will have a quiet word with Shawcross as well to prevent this type of injury happening again.
and its extremely dissapointing when people say its because arsenal dont have enough brits, lol, its unfortunate we dont have any, but does that mean we should employ kevin davies and a bunch of limited players just so people dont start sniffin the blood of a frenchman whenever we go to a small town?
Patrick Viera, Peter Storey you’ve had some players who could put it about a bit!
lol ed, christiano ronaldo was a diver, but we dont doubt his shins and the backs of his legs were disgustingly bruised, the diving is a different story
the problem with the ramsey situation is this, everyone is talking about it apart from arsenal, were not demanding heads roll, we just want to get on in peace now, ed is this not fair?
Regarding Gallas and Diaby tackles –
a tackle that looks bad like that, but doesn’t result in serious injury, means that the tackler took the pressure off at the last minute -> no damage.
Keep the pressure on, like Shawcross did -> broken leg. Both look the same on tv but the result is very different.
lol ed adebayor got a straight four match ban for punchin frank lampard, tv footage showed it was eboue slapping lampard, eboue got a 3 match ban and ade’s ban didnt get dropped,depsite tv footage provin a linesmans eyes were wrong, we didnt bitch about the long ban for an innocent man, if an arsenal player is found guilty of violence or malicious i would like him banned, but a frenchman with a good 15 year career of no broke legs wont get as much character references as a englishman with 3 broke legs to his name in 4 years
if he broke rooneys leg the press would be all over shawcross, i know you cant look at life that way but the press wouldnt accept it especially this year pre world cup
Fuck the press. It’s about what kind of football you want. Ramsey’s injury is awful but the game has far less tackles than in the past. Should it now be a non-contact sport? And should punishment for breaking the rules be based on the severity of the outcome rather than the severity of the crime? Wenger has challenged all these assumptions.
Well kind of football do you want see Ed? Do you like to see legs breaking and players getting injured? It’s a man’s game is it?
No one is saying football should be a non contact sport. That’s ludicrous. However there should be checks and balances in place. It’s no different than other sports where the rules change and evolve in an effort to make the sport safer. F-1 is a good example. Think of how many more deaths there might have been since Senna if the FIA didnt put so much emphasis on safety. The German FA are actually doing this right now in the Bundesliga. The point is not to make the sport void of any contact but if you hand out more severe punishments for reckless challenges that causes severe injuries – then yes it will stop train wrecks like Shawcross going into a challenge the way he did last weekend.
None of us are talking about making football non contact! The point is that there should be sufficient deterrents in place to prevent a player from repeatedly maiming fellow professionals. How many legs have Rio Ferdinand broken or Maldini or Vidic or Sol Campbell? They didnt have to, because they were trained and talented enough to tackle without going through a player. What we all are saying is that there should be a deterrent in place to make a player perfect his art before trying it on some unfortunate young prodigy.
Before the end of this season there will be injuries to one of the England lot Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard etc. and then hear the journos snapping their criciate ligaments as they about turn.
Its all a case of whether we are really serious about getting dangerous tackles out of the game. Not just those intended, but those that are born out of lack of skill and training. No player deserves to receive a career threatening injury playing football, and to say it used to be allowed is tripe.
Would you allow such a tackle on Rooney, especially just before a world cup?? No, you would be livid and much less restrained than Wenger
storey and viera could put it about, were not sayin players shouldnt put it about, but teams shouldnt put it about, you have one or two of those characters in a 30 man squad, not 6 of them in a team, vieira was hard,sometimes dirty, but he himself is living proof that you dont have to be the hardest tackler to be one of the best, same as keane, keane done haaland but either him or vieira could have badly hurt each other if they really wanted to, they knew when to put their foot in and when not to and they respected that boundarie, the kid shawcross went in very hard on a player surrounded very closely by 3 stoke players in a nothing area of the pitch
anyway ed, thats enough for me, i would really hate to see any footballer wether it be a kid in the park, to a man utd player, to a 50 year old playin for his pub picking up half as bad an injury as the ram, and if encouraging football is the way then the f.a should do it, i think ramseys situation wont change the english game, it will be when england get dumped out the world cup by any half decent team with division 2 players passing a ball, it wont be us they point the finger at,nor you lot it will be the league and the amount of tripe english men who are built wrong to play at the highest level, good luck mate
i dont think they should change the game,but they should always remember who the victimsof broken legs are, no disrespect to shawcross but he has been made world famous thanks to every englishman with a radio show or a tv show giving him a character reference like he is in court for rape,just let the subject go now,ramsey needs time to clear his head and both players have family (younger brothers,sisters) who can hear everything and neither have commit a crime
The kind of football we want? Shouldnt we all want a fair game, played within the rules? I love tackling, why are we accused of wanting a non-contact sport when all we ask for is the rules to be followed, within reason? Surely a game with fewer broken legs would be better!
And would you clarify how AW has intimated the punishment should reflect the outcome of a tackle?
“It was not a tackle you could call committed. A three-match ban is ridiculous.”
Nobody wants broken legs and there’s no defense of Shawcross here, not that you’d believe it from the Gooner comments. Reading the whole article is clearly not a skill well honed in North London. But I do come down on the side of a overly robust tackle, late because Ramsay was far too skillful and quick for the defender, had horrendous consequences. But if Shawcross gets a bigger ban that the one mandated then we’re in a suspension arms race. Every bad tackle will require tougher punishment.
Unless you want the punishment to be more because the player’s leg was broken? Do you want a disciplinary system based on outcome or crime committed because they’re not the same thing at all.
Many hard men such as Vieira have gone through long careers as hard tacklers without ever breaking other player’s legs.
Shawcross has broken two already at 22 and a few close calls as well.
It’s not coincidence. How many legs will he need to break before he still ‘isn’t that kind of player’?
Maybe he doesn’t mean to do it, but that’s not really any consolation.
To be honest, though your article’s well written, it’s very mean spirited. Man Utd get stuck into Arsenal and usually beat them. As do Chelsea. However, neither side lose control. The problem with the ‘get in their faces’ route employed by those that employ it, is thus – what happens if Arsenal don’t wilt?… You have to kick them a bit harder. Shawcross didn’t intend to break Ramsey’s leg but let’s be honest he was intent on showing those fancy Dan’s how hard he was. The country’s full of yobs who enjoy giving it the big ‘Un in front of their pals on a Saturday only to stand in front of the beak on Monday crying and saying they didn’t mean it. Meanwhile some poor sod whose going about his business is lying in a hospital bed. Personally, I expect more from a Manchester United supporter. Wenger’s not your enemy mate, the Glaziers are.
United have lost Alan Smith and young Brazilian Possebon with similar horrific injuries in recent years. The third one would’ve come about courtesy of your beloved Arsenal had Nani not been too quick for Eboue’s attempt to dismember him for the heinous crime of “showboating”. In other words, showing some juggling skills. Arsenal, under Wenger can be proud of holding worst disciplinary record over a number of seasons, so it’s a bit rich bleating about getting kicked. Not wishing any personal harm on any particular player but you can’t help thinking “what goes around…….” . Wenger the whinger at it again.
Ridiculous article. Based on fantasy.
Here are some Facts. Shawcross has broken 2 legs, sidelined Adebayor for a month with Ankle lig damage off the ball, off the pitch… and he’s only 22.
Arsenal are the most foulded team in the premiership over the last five years, but opposing teams have recived fewr cards against Arsenal than 17 other premiership clubs.
Numbers like these speak volumes and make more sense than a bitter United fan.
Now run along and support the Glazers.
The two fouls you state, while late were in a completely different context – Nani’s recent sending off was sdimilar to Gallas’s challenge.
Hate to contradict you with some hard facts but both Tottenham and Everton are more fouled against this season and Burnley, Man City, United and Chelsea have less yellows than Arsenal, the rest more.
aqqe, if you cannot see that you contradict yourself completely with this statement then there is no point in debating the point with you is there?
“Wenger never said one thing about a nation-wide conspiracy against Arsenal. He said he didn’t believe that these 3 horrific leg breaks within the space of less than 4 years could possibly be down to coincidence. And I agree with him”. if he is saying its no coincidence is that not saying that it is some sort of conspiracy? Think it is personally. And the difference between Gallas and Shawcross tackle apart from the horrific unfortuante results were the use of two feet studs up (gallas) as a pose to one foot studs down. To say there was no injury in this instance and the Diaby one because they obviously took the pressure off (anon) shows a severe lack of football knowledge and a certain level of delusion. It was an awful accident and I think this should be kept in perspective rather than a shawcross witchhunt started. Best wishes to Ramsey and get well soon son.
It’s these kind of comments that make your argument baseless and make you come across as a Wenger basher, no matter what the facts are.
You said Gallas tackle was 2-footed. I thought, he can’t be talking about the Gallas tackle on Bolton’s Mark Davies, because that was definitely a stamp with one foot. So I went to go a and double check on arsenal.com and guess what? it was NOT 2 footed. He caught him with the studs but defintely not 2-footed.
What Wenger is (rightly in my opinion) aggrieved about is not so much the tackle, as it was genuinely meant with no malice, but the fact the managers and opposing players ‘openly’ discuss with the media that the way to beat Arsenal is to kick them. Even Jamie Redknapp is always going on about it on Sky. The FA and Sky for that matter have a responsibility to put an end to this ‘encouragement’ about kicking opponents being the only way to beat Arsenal or any team that tries to play football.
Closing comments here. Thanks for your input, at least the comments I could post!
I’ll leave the Arsenal fans here who seem to believe their team lives on some higher plane with some salient stats courtesy of Opta. We may like to think we have the prettiest wife at home. Sometimes we don’t.
Most fouled against (team): 1) Tottenham Hotspur, 2) Everton, 3) Hull, 4) Arsenal
Least yellow cards (team): 1) Fulham, 2) Man City, 3) United, 6) Arsenal
Least fouls committed (team): 1) Birmingham, 2) Burnley, 3) United, 8 ) Arsenal
Most yellows (player): 1) Alex Song, 2) Kevin Davies, 3) Fabrice Muamba
Comments are closed.