Sunday, February 28, 2010

[VIDEO] Aaron Ramsey Got Tackled by Shawcross

This is how Aaron Ramsey picked up the broken leg during the match against Stoke City. I could see that Shawcross can't be blame in this incident as they were involved in a 50-50 situation. What say you GOONERS??

Ramsey injury sours last-gasp Gunners 3-1 win

A horrific injury to Arsenal youngster Aaron Ramsey overshadowed a last-gasp win over Stoke that hauled the Gunners firmly into the Premier League title race tonight.

The 19-year-old midfielder appeared to break his ankle after a red-card challenge from Ryan Shawcross that had echoes of team-mate Eduardo's own bad injury two years ago.

Stoke had led early on from a Danny Pugh goal but Nicklas Bendtner levelled before Cesc Fabregas struck a last-minute penalty and Thomas Vermaelen added another in injury time.

Arsenal's win lifted them to within three points of leaders Chelsea and ended Stoke's 11-match unbeaten run, but it is Ramsey's injury that will grab the headlines.

Shawcross appeared to be in tears when he left the field and a number of other players were clearly upset by the incident.

Arsenal had begun the game by handing veteran Sol Campbell his first Premier League start since rejoining the club last month.

Partnering Vermaelen, the former England defender was expected to have plenty of Rory Delap throws - a recent Arsenal weakness - to deal with and it was not long before they were tested.

Having been undone by the Irishman's potent weapon on their previous two visits, the trepidation amongst the back line was obvious as Delap lined up his first throw after four minutes.

It was probably much to their relief that Mamady Sidibe headed wide from a long throw close to Tony Pulis' technical area, but they were to be examined again soon enough.

That Arsenal had not learned from previous experience was clear as Alex Song's natural instinct to put the ball out for a throw rather than concede a corner kicked in.

That allowed Delap to launch another missile from level with the six-yard box.

Delap picked out Shawcross with a flat delivery and the defender's glancing header allowed the onrushing Pugh, just onside, to nod in at the far post.

Delap continued to bombard the Arsenal penalty area at every opportunity, from right and left, but the Londoners managed to clear the next three throws, albeit uncomfortably, without further damage.

It took 25 minutes for Arsenal to muster an effort on goal, Fabregas controlling a bouncing ball yards out and forcing Thomas Sorensen to concede a corner.

That allowed Arsenal to settle and they finally began to win some possession in a congested midfield.

They equalised after 31 minutes with a clever throw-in routine of their own.

Bacary Sagna went short to allow Fabregas to cross from the right and his pinpoint delivery was met by a looping header across goal from Bendtner 10 yards out.

Arsenal controlled the rest of the first half but had only one serious opportunity when Fabregas fired a free-kick into the wall.

The visitors appealed for a penalty early in the second half as Ramsey was met, after twisting into the box, by a clumsy challenge from Abdoulaye Faye but referee Peter Walton gave nothing.

The ball found its way out to Gael Clichy but the left-back's low shot was straight at Sorensen.

Delap troubled Arsenal again with another throw but Walton spotted an infringement in the area.

Emmanuel Eboue went close to giving Arsenal the lead with a fierce drive from outside the area just after the hour but Sorensen tipped over.

That proved the last meaningful action before the incident that completely changed the complexion of the game.

Play was held up for five minutes after Ramsey's ankle buckled under contact from Shawcross, who had taken a heavy touch and stretched for the ball.

Other players showed immediate concern and waved for immediate attention.

Arsenal did well to summon some fighting spirit after Ramsey's loss with Tomas Rosicky firing wide when well placed.

Substitute Eduardo, just over two years after his own injury nightmare, then spurned an even greater opportunity when he broke into the area and shot into the side-netting.

Persistence paid off and Arsenal were given the chance to snatch victory when Bendtner's flick into the area was handled by Pugh.

Fabregas stepped up to squeeze a low spot-kick into the bottom corner and spark emotional celebrations.

Arsenal added a third during seven minutes of injury time as Sorensen parried a Rosicky shot and Eduardo squared for Vermaelen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

When Will Van Persie Return??

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not expect Robin van Persie to return to action by early April, as predicted by Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk.

Van Persie is recovering from surgery on an ankle ligament problem sustained playing for his country last November.

Van Marwijk claimed this week the 26-year-old Dutch striker could be fit for Arsenal by "the beginning of April".

However, Wenger said: "I haven't seen Robin because he is in Holland at the moment but that looks too early to me."

Van Marwijk had arrived at his prognosis after speaking to Van Persie on the phone.

"I hope that he will play at the beginning of April and he feels this may be possible," he said.

"You can hear it in his voice that he feels he is improving."

But Wenger disagreed, stating: "I would love to agree with him [Van Marwijk]. But no, I believe he is a bit optimistic thinking that."

Van Persie had been in fine form for club and country before he suffered the ligament damage 10 minutes into his country's international friendly with Italy on 14 November.

Wenger had given the player a new role as central striker in a front three and the move was paying dividends for the north London side.

The striker, who joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004, had scored eight goals in 16 matches in all competitions.

But his season was cut short in Italy and after initial placenta fluid treatment with specialist Mariana Kovacevic, he went on to have ankle surgery in Amsterdam.

Last week, Wenger pencilled in the end of April as the probable return date for his star striker - provided his rehabilitation continued to go to plan.

"If you ask me is it the beginning of April, I would say categorically no because he has not started any real fitness work yet," Wenger told Arsenal's website.

Arsenal physios are set to travel to the Netherlands in the coming weeks to check on their player's progress.

With the start of the World Cup less than four months away, Van Marwijck added: "He is a very important player for me so it is very important for me that he is fit."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Walcott Must Put Pressure Away

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Theo Walcott is being put under "terrible pressure" to be ready for the World Cup but is backing his winger to make the final England squad.

Walcott made only his fifth Premier League start of the season in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland following a series of injuries set-backs and showed signs that his form is heading in the right direction.

In 2008, the Arsenal winger hit a stunning hat-trick as England thrashed Croatia 4-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb but after dislocating his shoulder in November of the same year he has struggled to re-establish himself.

Wenger has warned it will take time for Walcott to find his rhythm now he has seemingly shrugged off his injury worries but firmly believes the player will be heading to South Africa as part of Fabio Capello's squad.

"The World Cup is not today," said Wenger. "It is in June. I think he will make the squad. The problem is that everyone has the England national team in their mind and, because you want to bring the World Cup back to London, you want everybody to be on top today.

"They will be in the long run but when players have been out for a while it takes a while to get back to your best with confidence, sharpness and zip. That will come back with Theo."

Capello was at Emirates Stadium on Saturday with the media spotlight on Walcott throughout, and Wenger believes the scrutiny puts intense strain on the youngster.

"It's terrible pressure. But that's the modern media," he told the club's official website.

Wenger also believes club success could pave the way for a good World Cup, with players who approach the competition in confident mood more likely to star for their country in South Africa.

"They will be stronger at the World Cup if they come with a trophy and it has been a good a season, than without," said Wenger.

"If they have something in their pocket they are in a strong position. We are still in two competitions and the most important thing is we try to do as well as we can.

"Sport is not what happens in six months. What happens now is important to us. I believe what is most important is the players focus on the club and achieve what they can for us."