The Arsenal boss has played down the comments by Ryan Shawcross ahead of Arsenal heading to the cauldron of the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City in the Premier League tomorrow. The bug Stoke defender does not seem too keen on trying to forget his spat with Arsenal fans and players that began with his horror tackle which nearly ended the career of Aaron Ramsey.
Instead, Shawcross tried to up the ante by warning the Gunners that we face what he calls a `tasty` encounter, according to a report in The Mirror. A thinly veiled threat that we can expect more rough treatment from the Stoke players, just as their midfield enforcer Steven N’Zonzi made no secret of what their tactics against Arsenal will be.
N’Zonzi said, “We know Arsenal play good football but it gets harder for them when you start kicking them a little bit.
“They don’t like it but we’ll keep doing it.”
Football is a man’s game and is not a non-contact sport, at least not yet, but kicking players on purpose is supposed to be against the laws of the game. I’m not sure that anyone likes it really Steven, but as long as the referee does his job then it should not matter unless we get another player put in hospital. Arsenal are a tougher nut to crack these days.
That is why I am saying that tomorrow’s referee Anthony Taylor could be the key man for Arsenal tomorrow. If he let’s Stoke get away with their rough tactics it could really influence the game and encourage them to foul us more and more.
But if he is aware of the comments from the Stoke players, which he should be, then he should be ready to produce an early yellow card or to to stamp it out. And that will allow us to play the kind of football that we are good at and that Stoke will struggle to handle. Unfortunately I am not convinced that Taylor is up to the job.
He was the official for Stoke’s first home game of the season and he produced just three cards, all for the visiting side Aston Villa. He is also the ref that wrongly awarded a penalty and then sent off Koscielny in our opening day defeat by Villa last season. He was dropped for the next round of EPL games after that shocker. Let’s hope he has a better day tomorrow.