Arsene Wenger has been accused of crying wolf too often, but he’s entitled to feel aggrieved about the treatment his team tends to receive on the pitch.
Aaron Ramsey’s awful leg break at Stoke on Saturday is the latest in a series of serious injuries suffered by Arsenal players. “It’s no coincidence”, Wenger fumed, and this time he’s right.
The media might come over all horrified by what happened, but pundits in their employ are forever saying that there’s only one way to play Arsenal, and that’s to get stuck into them. So less skilful teams routinely go out against the Gunners to compensate for their shortcomings by being overtly physical.
Wenger and his captain Cesc Fabregas both condemned the prevailing wisdom that to stand a chance against Arsenal you’ve to basically kick them, intimating that this feeds the ferocity they face.
It’s hard to know how to stop it, mind, other than making the punishments meted out to over-the-top tacklers more severe — even if the offender in this case, Ryan Shawcross, was obviously upset over smashing the Welsh teenager’s shin into smithereens (though he has a bit of a track record).
At the very least it was reckless and unnecessary. Would he have gone into a 50:50 challenge with such naked aggression if it was Roy Keane contesting it, and not a kid like Ramsey? As the old adage goes: accidents don’t happen, they’re caused.