I am normally the first person to lay into a bad tackle or a bit of media bias, the few people who read this blog around the time of the Eduardo injury will appreciate this. What I have to say on the Stoke game and the Shawcross tackle may therefore surprise some of you. It would be easy for me to join the others who are calling for Shawcross' guts on a spike, I don't choose easy options, I will give my honest frank opinion objectively whether it annoys people or not.
Firstly I have a bit more knowledge when it comes to injuries and leg breaking, this is my background and training. The picture above tells a lot of the story, also look at the video carefully before commenting or making up your minds. The photo shows that Aaron's tibia broke as a result of a torsional force, a rotational type of force. With medical insight this awful injury was more down to very bad luck than the recklessness of the tackle, look how Cisse sustained a very similar injury just because of the torsional force without a tackle.
I am no Shawcross fan, he has been guilty of some absolute shockers in recent years, however this was not one of them. The video and photographic evidence all show that he went in late and hard, but he was not off the ground, he was not out of control, he didn't have his studs up, it was a bad tackle no doubt, but you see much worse every week that doesn't break tibias, the point is that you cannot judge a tackle based on its consequences because the consequences are more based on random luck than the recklessness of the tackle. Shawcross' tackle on Adebayor last season was far worse, yet it didn't break any bones, the consequences of tackles correlate poorly with their malignancy.
There has been a lot of hysterical over reaction to this tackle from a lot of Arsenal commentators since last night, there has also been a lot of very well reasoned reaction too. In doing this we will not make ourselves look clever or objective. I can forgive Arsene because he had just lost one his best young players to a horrendous injury, but horrendous injuries frequently occur without horrendous tackles. The media have been appalling in the past in condoning some shocking acts of violence, this time I don't think they have covered things too badly at all. Other than Sky's censorship of events, something I strongly disagree with, the tackle has generally been called what it was, a bad tackle but not a horrendous reckless effort.
Saying that the media have blood on their hands is unfair. In fact some of the criticism I have had on this blog already for daring to claim that Shawcross' tackle was not as bad as some have made out has showed that some Arsenal fans are behaving just like the tabloid press in sensationalising something and then refusing to listen to any reasoned criticism of their opinion. I have no problem with people disagree with me, anyone can come here and argue their point just so long as it is done politely, but please don't come here and subject me to irrational sensationalist drivel. The boy who cried wolf was eventually eaten, if Arsenal fans cry wolf too many times about the media then we will be eaten too.
What should come out of yesterday's game is that the Arsenal players showed a lot of commitment, fight and character to come out of a very tricky game with three points. Overall we made it very hard for Stoke to play, we pressed them high up the pitch and forced them to give the ball back to us very rapidly. Bendtner scored a fantastic header, several players had fine games, although the crucial second goal came thanks to a slightly dubious penalty, overall our performance was outstanding, Stoke were completely outplayed and outfought. I am gutted that Aaron has sustained such a nasty injury, but scapegoating Shawcross will not help Ramsey get back to fitness any quicker, likewise slagging off the media will not win us any fans or praise. Anyone who understands the biomechanics of tibia fractures would realise that this injury was more down to terrible fortune than anything else, let's wish Aaron Ramsey a quick recovery and move quickly on.