|Too stoic, Arsene. Make a scene.|
During Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland, Wilshere went off in the 60th minute after a clumsy challenge from Alfred N’Diaye. Although it was infuriating that there was no call, and distressing to see Wilshere have to leave the field, the play itself was actually fairly benign, especially in comparison with some other plays–many of which the referee, Anthony Taylor, either chose to ignore or must not have seen. I know that few teams ever get the kind of calls they hope for, unless coached by Sir Alex, but by the time Wilshere went down, there had been far too many missed calls. Here, without getting too exhaustive, are a few of the lowlights:
- One minute in, Ramsey gets his legs swept out from under him during a reckless tackle from Cattermole, who misses the ball entirely and catches Ramsey’s legs with his hip and shoulder. The ball went to Walcott for the advantage play. A yellow card comes out for Cattermole about 30 seconds later.
- An “impressive” sequence in the seventh minute sees Cazorla poke the ball away, only to have the Sunderland player grapple him, preventing him from getting to the ball. As Ramsey runs in to get the ball, he gets clipped (by N’Diaye, I believe) and tumbles out of bounds. Wilshere then comes over, only to be slide-tackled by Titus Bramble while Sessègnon clatters through Wilshere from behind. Wilshere pinwheeled to the ground. The tackle from Bramble was clean in that he got all ball, and Wilshere jumped only for Sessègnon to run through him as Bramble’s tackle clipped his foot. Seconds later, Walcott went down as he blew past Danny Rose, Rose sticking out his foot as he fell and catching Walcott. This was arguably the worst of the sequence, coming as it did as Walcott has about to get into the 18–this tackle was just as bad as Jenkinson’s would be a few seconds later and was much closer to a goal-scoring opportunity.
- This leads to Jenkinson’s first yellow, an admittedly clumsy tackle that missed the ball and caught Johnson across both legs.Proof, if nothing else, that Taylor’s whistle does work and that he did bring more than one yellow-card, previous sequence notwithstanding.
- In the 10th minute, Wilshere stumbled and lost the ball, and Craig Gardner plowed into him (as with many of the preceding moments, Gardner got no part of the ball and all of Wilshere’s body). Ramsey, bless his heart, proceeded to foul the next available Sunderland player. Wilshere came up limping.
- In the 13th minute, Jenkinson got called for a foul on a 50-50 with Fletcher, looking to get more foot and less ball. Feh.
- 15th–Monreal nudges Sessegnon just enough for a foul-call.
- In the 18th, a call goes against Arsenal, perhaps Sagna, but we don’t get to see it thanks to the spinning Premiere Logo that marks the transition from a replay on Danny Fletcher’s header.
- At the 20th minute, Wilshere draws a call for a rash challenge.
Which brings me back to Jack. He’s been described variously as feisty and scrappy, code-words for “little guy who’s fearless.” The problem with this is that it’s going to leave him vulnerable to just the sort of knocks, bruises, and worse that he’s incurred since his return from his ankle injury last year.One of two three things have to happen if we expect Jack to stay on the field long-term:
- Wenger adopts a more Fergusonian approach to complaining about referees.
- Jack learns to adjust his style of play.
- Jack grows 5-6 inches and packs on 40-50 pounds.