Stoke City have taken the step of writing to the FA to complain about Arsene Wenger's comments about Ryan Shawcross and of Stoke's style of play. The Arsenal managers comments are made all the more ironic because Marouane Chamakh was guilty of exactly what he accused Shawcross of, against Spurs, in today's win over Blackburn at Ewood Park.
In the aftermath of their North London rivals 2-1 win over Stoke City last week Arsene Wenger chose to open some old wounds by commenting on Stoke's style of play and singled out Ryan Shawcross in particular.
“You cannot say it is football any more,” Wenger said.
“It is more rugby on the goalkeepers than football (in reference to Stoke's style of play)
"When you see the way Shawcross kicked Heurelho Gomes, how Robert Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football anymore.”
"If the referees allow that, you cannot accept it because that has nothing to do with the game."
The Arsenal supremo's comments were directed at Stoke's equalizer, when the Spurs goalkeeper appeared to be impeded by the Potters two central defenders. Video evidence would seem to suggest that the Brazilian goalkeeper simply ran into the back of Shawcross and was seeking a scape-goat for conceding the goal.
Tony Pulis, Stoke City's manager, said that Wenger was "out of order" before adding "what he said about Ryan is very, very poor," before going further and suggesting that the Arsenal boss was trying to exercise some influence over referee Keith Foy in the Gunners upcoming game at Blackburn.
The same referee was in charge for Stoke's defeat to Spurs.
Stoke have now sent a letter to the FA and Arsenal and are seeking for Wenger to apologise about singling out Shawcross.
Pulis said: "The club is desperately disappointed with the comments which Wenger has come out with, especially the comments about Shawcross. We think they are out of order, and you don't expect it from a person of Wenger's esteem."
"The club will deal with it in the right and proper manner."
When the issue was put to Pulis he said: "To say he was doing it as a sidetrack to influence the referee, you've said it. I've just agreed with you."
Pulis continued: "He's entitled to his opinion. We've fought two world wars to be a free country. We've all got different opinions and we must let people say what they say. Whether you agree with it or disagree with it, that's a different matter.
"What he said about Ryan was very, very poor and the football club will take that matter up."
In the same press conference Wenger went on to say that he was against players not playing the ball from set-pieces, and targeting the goalkeeper instead.
"It is down to the referee. I believe that in some situations the goalkeepers are not protected. You cannot have players whose main role is to stop the goalkeepers from catching the ball or going for the ball."
Ironically, Arsenal travelled to Blackburn Rovers today and won a hard fought battle 2-1 with goals from Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin.
However, on another day they may have conceded a couple of penalties with one incident in particular coming back to haunt their manager's earlier comments.
With Blackburn chasing the game Arsenal's players surrounded Christopher Samba in an effort at curbing the huge centre halves influence from a long lofted ball. When it appeared that the four players marking Samba weren't up to the task new signing Marouane Chamakh wrapped his arms around the Blackburn player in a move resembling a half nelson.
Arsenal cleared the ball easily and held on for a huge victory.
Over the last two seasons Pulis and Wenger have enjoyed something of a war of words, and from here it would seem that we haven't heard the last of them either.
This article was previously featured on Tiger Beer Football, where Willie Gannon is the featured Blogger, over 18s only.
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