Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross has today hit back at Arsene Wenger’s claims that Stoke players act like “rugby” players. The 23-year-old defender was left fuming after Wenger’s allegations saying: “He’s obviously got something against me. It’s just weird
“He seems to have a problem with Stoke, our manager and certain players. Criticism doesn’t bother me, unless it’s a false accusation like this one”
Shawcross has every right to be annoyed by Wenger’s comments. Yes Stoke are a team full of 6 foot plus monsters but to compare their game to rugby is absurd and Wenger, still hurting by old wounds, is taking every opportunity he can to take a pop at Shawcross and Stoke.
It seems as if Wenger is still very bitter about the incidents that took place at the Britannia Stadium back in February. The Arsenal boss was adamant back then that Shawcross’ challenge on Aaron Ramsey wads malicious and it appears that even with seven months of reflection he hasn’t changed his mind.
Wenger has been known to hold grudges, and of course we can understand the frustrations of the Frenchman after losing a very talented youngster to an horrific injury. But Shawcross meant no harm with that challenge; he simply isn’t that type of player.
I don’t see what Wenger is trying to gain by criticising a Stoke player. If it was a title rival then maybe I could understand it, but Stoke won’t be competing with Arsenal in terms of league position this season. If Wenger is trying to play some early mind games before the always tricky meetings with Stoke this season then this ploy won’t work. Commenting on Stokes nature will only motivate Stokes intimidating fans further making the games even harder.
Wenger has always had an outspoken nature, however sometimes it has come back to haunt him, I can’t help but feel his comments about Stoke may come back to haunt again in time.