Arsenal FC: Aaron Ramsey's reunion with Stoke and Nicklas Bendtner's frustration
However, amidst all the disappointments of not winning a trophy this season, one player must be looking forward to this particular game keenly.
The Britannia Stadium is the place where Ryan Shawcross (not that type of player) brutally broke Aaron Ramsey's leg.
It was Ramsey's mistake as he was "too fast" for the clumsy England defender. After that horrendous incident, too many folks, far too many for my liking, were empathising with Shawcross, as he wasn't "that type of player."
Instead of feeling sorry for a player who was brutally manhandled by a mindless oaf, these bunch of comforters justified the vicious tackle, which was a needless lunge at best. At worst, it was barbaric thuggery.
Such a despicable act of violence on a football field deserved a three-game ban, and the FA promptly "punished" the wrongdoer with the same. Juxtapose that ban with the number of games that Ramsey missed as a result of the other player's violent conduct.
The recuperation took more than 50 weeks and it isn't easy to stay away from football for that long a period for a player as talented as Ramsey, who was tiptoeing into the realms of European Football prior to the atrocious injury.
I can't help but ask, when is the FA going to scrap its archaic rules? It's better to set the culprit free than insulting the victim by imposing an "exemplary" three-match ban.
Ramey's fortitude and desire to play football again made the recovery as smooth as it possibly could've been. The fans were apprehensive about whether Ramsey would ever be the same player as he was before the injury. Taking Eduardo's struggle post his recovery from injury into account, that apprehension wasn't misplaced.
However, when Ramsey led Arsenal to a surprising victory over Manchester United last weekend, all the fear was put to rest.
Now you get a feeling that with more games he will establish himself as a regular. That's exactly what he's going to get this weekend.
As Cesc Fabregas hasn't recovered from his injury, Ramsey will start and a goal against Stoke City would give the fitting climax to the dramatic recovery of a player from a hopeless period of agony, pain and frustration.
If you want to know more about frustration, ask Nicklas Bendtner. The latest is that Wenger will hold a showdown talk with him at the end of this season.
Bendtner is not the type of player who would bide his time on the sidelines and wait for his opportunities. He's the self-proclaimed best striker in the world, and with that sort of confidence to go with his dreadful first touch, he's not going to make it at Arsenal.
Frustration is obvious as he hasn't started as many games as he would have liked to at the start of the season. Wenger's 4-2-3-1 formation didn't help his cause, either.
The frustration has now reached a breaking point where it becomes difficult for a player to continue with the same club.
At this stage of his career, Bendtner needs games. More time on the field will help him evolve as a better player. But Arsenal is no training ground. Therefore, it can't afford Bendtner the time he wants out there on the field.
With due respect to the big Dane's footballing abilities, I have to admit Bendtner's a tier-two striker at best. Plus, he's not up to the pace of the Premiership. So it would be wise for him to look for a club of his level away from the Premier League.
Many Bundesliga sides are interested in his service and that would be the best move for Bendtner away from the pace and sturdiness of the Premier League. As things stand, it looks unlikely that Bendtner will stay at Arsenal anymore.
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