Thanks to three wins from their last four matches, Stoke City are out of the relegation zone, at least on a temporary basis. The Potters have played some decent football to beat Tottenham, Sunderland and Arsenal, although it’s the latter victory which has been causing controversy this week.
Arsene Wenger stirred up a right hornet’s nest when he claimed that the Potters players had set out to deliberately injure opposition players last Saturday, with Tony Pulis quick to refute these allegations. Indeed, many people were scratching their heads after these comments were made, and now The Guardian reports that the Stoke manager is concerned that they will have lasting implications.
“I’ve left a message for Keith Hackett because I want to speak to him about Arsène’s comments and the possible implications,” said Pulis. “Perception is a massive thing in football and I don’t want referees to take any notice of what Arsène has said. What he has come out with is way off the mark.
“We played at Manchester City a couple of weeks ago and didn’t get a single booking. Not to get a booking in an away game in the Premier League is no mean feat. What we certainly are is competitive but football is about challenge and competitiveness is not a dirty word in this country. I’m just going to tell Keith Hackett that I expect referees to act on what they see and not on what they hear. Luckily, we’ve got a very experienced referee in Mike Riley at Wigan on Saturday and I’m confident there will be no problems.”
Should the Arsenal manager be charged with bringing the game into disrepute? After all, neither the FA or the media had anything derogatory to say about Stoke City after the weekend match, apart from the fact they are reliant on a long throw-in for many of their goals. A lot of people will have lost respect for Arsene Wenger after these comments.