Friday, 5 March 2010

The Arsenal Paper Round: Friday March 5

There is still only one topic of conversation within the nationals this morning. Aaron Ramsey.

I suppose the reason for this is that (a) Ryan Shawcross spoke to the Stoke Sentinel and (b) Tony Pulis gave his pre-match press conference yesterday.

In the Daily Mirror, columnist Robbie Savage has his say on the incident. He says he'll be getting in contact with Aaron to see "if I can help his recovery in any way". Interesting... I never knew Savage was qualified as either a medical professional or a psychologist.

He also goes on to say the injuries we suffered to Diaby, Eduardo and now Ramsey are just a "sad coincidence".

The Independent have an interview with Theo Walcott who spoke with Shawcross during England training. They also report Shawcross has sent text messages to Ramsey to apologise.

Walcott said:
"He's a very humble lad. He's a great defender. Obviously he knows what's happened and feels very bad. He's apologised. He's not a player to do those sort of tackles. He'll put his head down and work very hard for club and country.

"Any hard feelings? No, not at all."

Wenger said:

"It is not a career threatening injury. But it is two breaks and to get back to your best you need not only to practise again but you need time to recover your coordination.

"He is a young boy and he will recover from this but it is a bad injury. This gives us one more reason to fight [for the title] until the end. We want to do it for him."

The Guardian report Shawcross has received almost 300 emails from Arsenal supporters.

Apparently they are all very sympathetic to the whole situation.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager told the media:

"Ryan has had nigh on 300 emails from Arsenal supporters sympathising with him and expressing their respect for his reaction coming off the pitch.

"I think that's absolutely fantastic when people are getting slaughtered at times. The attitude of the Arsenal supporters has been brilliant."

Pulis suggested that Wenger's comments came from being "emotional after the game".
"If Arsène says it, Arsène says it, and you have to respect him as an individual and as a football man. "He's got to say what he's got to say. But the most important thing is the reaction of the public and the Arsenal supporters."

Theo Walcott added:

"I've been texting Aaron every day. He got out of hospital the other day, so I'll give him a call before the weekend. It's hard to tell what spirits he's in.

"His phone is probably mental at the moment. I'm texting him now and again, not trying to bomb him too much because the amount of support he's been given is fantastic. We all just want to see him back on the pitch again soon."

Interesting headline on the Daily Star article this morning about the incident: Arsenal Fans Clear Ryan.

While the Daily Mail lead their article with the line that Shawcross is still waiting to hear from Ramsey to see whether our injured player want to see him face to face so that he can apologise for the tackle.

According to the paper Shawcross has spoken to our midfielder since the incident and sent several texts.

The quote Pulis saying:
"Ryan will see him when Aaron is ready. that's the important thing and that will be determined by the kid and his family. We'll respect his privacy."

Nothing about the journalists who attended Pulis' press conference asking him what he told his players to do, i.e. were they sent to rough up Arsenal, to go in hard, etc.

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that Tomas Rosicky was speaking about other teams going out to play Arsenal in a certain way.

In the Guardian, Rosicky said:

"I think sometimes we are not protected enough, definitely, if you see how many fouls our opponents can make and how many we can make before we get yellow cards, it is a bit different.

"Nobody from our team complains about an aggressive game, everyone tries to play aggressively against us and that is not my point, but I think yellow cards have to be given quicker for some challenges.

"Players are making five or six fouls before they are booked but we are making two fouls and are booked."

There is more talk about Theo Walcott and the World Cup. There are articles in Daily Mail amongst others.

To think that Fabio Capello wouldn't take our young star is beyond comprehension. As does Chris Waddle's suggestion of Walcott: "I don't think he's got a football brain."

Mr Savage in his column has his say. Lets not forget that Theo has been out for a major part of this season. I think Capello would be mad not to take him.

The Guardian report that the plan to an introduce end of season play off has been rejected. Good job too.

Alex Ferguson believes we are very much in the title race.

He told the Daily Express:
"Arsenal are bang in the frame now. On paper, they have the easiest programme and it will be an interesting run-in. Chelsea losing to Manchester City was a good result for us, but there are a lot of hard games left."

And there is a game of football tomorrow as well.

Arsene will give his press conference this lunchtime after training.

In the Daily Mirror, John Cross reports William Gallas is out of tomorrow's game with Burnley and a doubt for Porto on Tuesday.

Sol Campbell has picked up a groin injury which would leave us with Mikael Silvestre.

I have no doubt Silvestre will play this weekend, but I'd hope either Gallas or Campbell were back for Porto.

Wenger said:

"Gallas is still out and we have a little problem with Sol. We will check that tomorrow.

"We have the luck that Denilson could be available again. He did not travel to Stoke last week because of a calf injury.

"Arshavin should be available and Diaby is around 50/50."

Burnley hope that Graham Alexander, a man old enough to be Cesc Fabregas dad, will watch over our Spain star.

Brian Laws, the Burnley manager told The Sun:

"Fabregas has this freedom in that support role. You can man-mark him, but if you take your eye off him he's gone.

"That's why you need players who do sense danger and assess things very quickly and Graham's very good at that. He knows where to be at the right time. His legs might not get him there but his brain does.

"That's why he's played so long in his career. He's 38 years young as far as I'm concerned. Looking at our last few games we've missed Graham's ommunication.

"We know we've got to be a bit sharper and closer to them. There's no way we can allow their players the freedom of the park — otherwise you'll not be able to keep score."

And we'll end this morning with news from the Daily Star that we're going to launch a £15m "summer swoop" for German playmaker Mesut Ozil.

There is also talk in Daily Mail of William Gallas leaving for Roma.

And that's your lot. More including a preview of the Burnley game later.

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