Chalk one up for anti-football.
While from the videos which have been posted so far it appears to have been a dreadful accident rather than anything malicious from Ryan Shawcross, who it must be said was devastated and left the field in tears, after clearly apologising to Ramsey, it's no coincidence that this is now the third time in 5 years that an Arsenal player has suffered a potentially career-threatening injury as a result of the ethos of certain teams when they play against us. Whether it's been against Sunderland, Birmingham, Stoke or Blackburn, teams that struggle to compete when played on our own terms have instead turned to overwhelming physicality, setting out from the first minute to kick us off the ball rather than play fairly. Football is a contact sport, where injuries are always going to occur, but this is hardly the first time that the likes of Stoke, dependent when playing against us on the long-throw of Rory Delap, have resorted to hacking rather than passing, as exemplified by the match back in November 2008, when both Walcott and Adebayor were injured after being lunged at by, err, Delap and Shawcross, the latter's challenge being especially dangerous.
Today's match was no exception, and typified by the piss-poor refereeing of Peter Walton. He inexplicably turned down what looked like a certain penalty when two Stoke players combined to bring down Ramsey, and until sending off Shawcross had booked only Song for what looked like the softest yellow card in history after a tussle with Delap. After giving the penalty which earned us the lead he then also managed to miss the most blatant shoving over of Bendtner just outside the six-year-box, something which used to be known as a "professional foul" and also deserved at least a yellow card.
This time at least there can be no complaints about how Arsene Wenger has responded, at least not from those with the slightest sympathy for Ramsey. He may be myopic when it suits him, and he can at times be just as bitter and a sore loser as the very worst, but he's dead right when he says it's not a coincidence and it isn't acceptable. We don't want special treatment, but we do want those teams that decide to play anti-football to be dealt with appropriately by the referee; the idea that to beat Arsenal you have to kick them is what leads to this happening and being justified by commentators as well as players and managers. You have to wonder, as I pointed out before, whether it has to happen to someone like Rooney, Gerrard or Lampard before something is done, and just what the reaction would be then, however accidental the tackle might have been. Stoke themselves do this time deserve credit for their response, and Pulis gave a praiseworthy interview interested only in the welfare of Ramsey, yet it's no consolation. The only thing we have to take from it is that unlike when Eduardo suffered his injury, we collected ourselves and went on to win, showing just how much stronger we are mentally than two years ago, with Fabregas and Campbell excelling themselves. We can still win the league, and we now have to win for it Ramsey.