Arsenal take strength from Ramsey’s agony

Stoke City 1-3 Arsenal

Fortunately for anyone who watches football, the sight of a player screaming in agony with his leg snapped and at the wrong angle is a rarity. I can remember it happening four of five times in all my years watching football. When it happened to Eduardo in 2008, it was too horrible to look at. So yesterday, for it to happen again to Aaron Ramsey was sickening in the extreme, and it has overshadowed everything. I was thinking about it all last night and I’m still thinking about it this morning.

We don’t know how bad it was, or how complicated it will be to heal, but you don’t need to see something like that in any great detail to know he will surely be out of action for a year. It’s doubly depressing to see as he just coming of age for Arsenal. He’s a magnificent little player.

The sad truth is he might find it hard to come back at all. If you look at the list of those who have suffered similar injuries in English football, a fair few had to retire not long after. We can but hope that Ramsey’s leg will heal and he will pick his career up where he left off. I feel desperately sorry for him.

Look at Diaby and Eduardo though, both of whom suffered similar injuries, and you will see two players still ping-ponging between the pitch and the treatment table. It’s a long road back.

I don’t doubt that Ryan Shawcross is a decent lad and meant no malice. The look on his face as he left the pitch tells you as much. But he broke a player’s leg. The tackle was a shocking one, a wild lunge, and three matches out seems absurdly lenient when you consider what Ramsey now faces. To cap it all off, he was called up for England. That was a bad call from a PR perspective if you ask me.

As Wenger and Fabregas both said post-match, for it to happen three times in five years to Arsenal players feels more than mere coincidence. There might be no malice involved, but for years we have been told the way to play Arsenal is to rough them up a bit, to knock them out their stride, and you know what, it’s worked too at times. But perhaps this is the result of that; occasionally, inevitably, there’ll be a badly timed tackle that does something like this.

Fabregas called for more protection but it’s hard to know what can be done against individual acts of stupidity, other than in retrospect. Yesterday, for example, was a rough-and-tumble physical scrap – one in which Arsenal showed magnificent commitment – marred by one dreadful tackle. That’s the way some teams play football; they play to their strengths just as Arsenal play to theirs. It’s hard to legislate against an individual player’s wild, late tackle other than to punish the player himself more harshly once it has happened. The punishment needs to fit the crime. At the moment, it doesn’t at all. Not remotely.

Onto the game. I thought it was a magnificent Arsenal fightback. OK, so our collective defensive amnesia saw us let in yet another goal in from a throw-in, but we matched Stoke’s commitment and showed a fantastic spirit overall.

I was particularly impressed with the way we recovered after Ramsey’s injury. For ten minutes the team was shell-shocked but we drove forward and you could tell what those two late goals meant to the players. The fist-pumping release of emotion after the Verm’s third goal made me proud. I was doing the same thing myself.

Maybe, just maybe, this team came of age yesterday. Fabregas captained the team majectically, scoring one, setting up two, and to see Vermaelen and Campbell roaring at the crowd tells you all you need to know. Anyone doubting the merit of having big Sol yet? He was fantastic. Clichy looked like a man possessed, a completely different player to the error-riddled Clichy of recent times. Alex Song was exceptional.

Three points off the top, with a collective spirit and a will to win forged by Ramsey’s leg break and a decent run-in.

We’re back in this, make no mistake.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Booland

    No mention of Bendtner?! I think, he really played as a proper centre forward.

    Patrick Barclay on Sunday Supplement said we are the most mentally strongest team in the league.

    Anyway, why did Shawcross had to make such wild tackle on Ramsey IN OUR HALF? It wasn’t like Ramsey was clean through the goal. The play wasn’t going anywhere! If he had stayed on his feet then he wouldn’t have broken Ramsey’s leg and he would have had more chance to get the ball back.

    Song gets 2 match ban for picking 10 petty yellow cards and Shawcross gets only 3 match ban, plus support and plus sympathy from everyone.

    Theo will be training with Ryan at Arsenal!

    We ought to be wearing a black arm band in our next match…

  2. Bob at the match

    Why is no-one making an issue of the Stoke ‘fans’ chanting en masse and at length ‘He’s only got one leg’? I have never been so disgusted. Their club should be docked points.

  3. RotorGoat

    Bendtner was good, yes, fair point. It was a superb, committed performance overall. Bit harsh to pick out individual players.

  4. RotorGoat

    Were they? That’s truly pathetic if true.

  5. Bob at the match

    Absolutely. I was sitting near the dividing line. They were chanting that and physically mocking the injury by hopping and holding their legs. We were helping the police identify the worst offenders and were told action would be taken based on CCTV footage, but they were chanting it en masse. It appears all those stories about Stoke’s following are true. Like many, I was nearly sick after the injury (the travelling Gooners never got a proper view of what happened to Eduardo, but yesterday we did) and their behaviour compounded it.

  6. RotorGoat

    Words fail me. Unbelievable.

  7. Booland

    RotorGoat, agree everyone were superb yesterday. Just wanted to mention Bendtner cos he always gets stick…..

  8. Valentin

    The pathetic excuse that Ryan Shawcross is not that type of player is patently not true as he has already broken the leg of another player and tried on another Arsenal players before.

    Stoke are team of thugs, wrestler and rugby players who foul their ways to victory and safety in the premiership.
    Because of the referee little Englander mentality teams are allowed to kick and maim other with impunity.
    Because of the injury, nobody mentionned that we had two legitimate penalties appeal turn down (unless the rules have changed and shoving and kicking is now allowed against Arsenal).
    Dany pugh committed the worst foul a two footed lunge at Eboue who saw it coming and got out of the way. If he had not moved away he would have had a broken leg like Rambo. Since the player got the ball the refere considered as an acceptable tackle. It was not it was RECKLESS and DANGEROUS. Fayet did the same to Gael.
    Song was booked for winning cleanly the ball and will miss two games.
    In the mean time a thug that has wrecked the career of at least two fellow professionals will be banned for three games and will represent his country against Egypt.
    How do you reconcile that with fair and honest refereing?
    The answer is for English referee to apply the rules and stop making excuses and leeway for lower team. They are REFEREE NOT EQUALIZER. Some simple rules that are NEVER followed by the England referee:

    + persistent fouling is a yellow card

    + overtly physical play is a reckless tackle and a reckless tackle is at minimum a yellow card.

    + deliberate professional foul is a yellow card.

    + dangerous play that put in danger the physical integrity of another player is a red card. Even if you do not make actual contact.

    + tackle from behind is at least a yellow card and if there is contact a red card.

  9. Valentin

    Regarding the chant, clearly Sky was trying very hard to pretend they did not exists.
    On French TV, one of the commentator mentionned that and stated that it was tactless, classless and appaling behaviour.
    According to Andy Gray and other so called English press it was just good English banter that foreigners don’t understand.

  10. Ashburton_Grove

    Have to agree with what has already been said about Stoke fans.

    The majority would not want to be associated with the chant, but it’s the minority who tarnish their image.

    There will be no police action or any docked points from the FA.

    That chant is just in very poor taste on a day a talented young footballer could have had his career ended.

    I’ve never liked Stoke fans since their ‘supporters’ started on a load of Arsenal fans outside the Herbert Chapman before the last home game of last season.

    We just have to home Ramsey comes back every bit the player he was looking like he was going to be.

  11. jeff/433

    Some dramatic improvement from Clichy and Bendtner, especially Clichy, although Bendtner’s goal was great, so both of them really.

    Vermaelen and Sagna are always good.

    Eboue has had a couple good games.

    It’s slowly coming together.

    Ramsey is going to be fine. I would put good money on him to recover fully and quickly.

    We really need Denilson to step up and for Diaby to stay fit.

    The title is Chelsea’s or Man United’s to lose. Either of them could absolutely win all of their matches.

    There’s a lot of joy to be had just watching good performances, and I’m counting on a run of those from this Arsenal side.

  12. Farnborough Gunner

    This article from Martin Samuel is worth reading…

    (“How can so many broken legs be down to chance?”)

  13. YTSL

    “Fabregas called for more protection but it’s hard to know what can be done against individual acts of stupidity, other than in retrospect.”

    Earlier in the match, Ramsey had a clear cut penalty denied. My sense is that if that foul had been penalised, the Stoke players might have been more inclined to be more careful when tackling later in the game.

    How many times do we see fouls not penalised and cards not doled out early in the game (sometimes up to the end of the first half)? Also, how many times have we heard/seen that if a player gets a yellow card, he’ll be obliged to be more careful later in the game?

  14. San Diego Goon

    Arsenal’s spirit was something to behold following Ramsey’s injury, but what happened to the kid and everything that’s transpired since has soured my appetite for football a bit. Perhaps I’ll get it back eventually, but, speaking as a foreigner, I find the English pundits, the English media and every apologist for Shawcross — including fans — thoroughly disgusting. American sports culture is far from perfect, but the ignorance, snide broadcaster jokes, Stoke supporters’ songs and preemptive apologies for Shawcross are shockingly classless and coarse. I’m old enough to have followed football awhile, but apparently not long enough to realize the depths of English sentiment and stubbornness.

    Maybe it’s too soon after Eduardo, but what happened to Ramsey is just crushing to me. I really thought he was destined for great things. It’s a big ask, but I hope he can come back and fulfill his potential.

  15. arsenal2010

    Another video of Saint Shawcross maiming a player during his loan spell at Royal Antwerp (Belgium).

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