Salut! Sunderland joins all real football fans – including the Stoke City supporters who showed their own decency tonight – in wishing Aaron Ramsey the strongest, fullest and fastest recovery possible from the horrible injury he suffered in Arsenal’s victory at the Britannia stadium.
It was a really bad challenge by Ryan Shawcross, who was rightly shown a straight red card.
But I am not convinced there was a shred of malice in that challenge. There was clearly a lot of recklessness, however. Shawcross himself seemed to acknowledge this, pausing on his tearful way from the field to offer apologies to Ramsey.
Cesc Fabregas did a lot a head-shaking during the long stoppage as medics dealt with the unfortunate Ramsey, and he complained on TV later about the lack of protection players received in the Premier League.
I do not equate his challenge last week on John Mensah with what happened tonight. Yet there appeared to be an element of revenge at the Emirates and even Gooners visiting this site have been critical of his actions; it is clear, in other words, that Fabregas himself is not above foul play.
Should Shawcross be dropped from the England squad so soon after his inclusion, as a mark of football’s desire to eliminate reckless conduct that has such serious consequences? That would probably be an appropriate response, yes. Should he be treated as a pariah because of his actions at Stoke City tonight? No.
Salut! Sunderland, or this part of it, hopes Arsenal go on to win the Premier League, not because of tonight but because of the style of football they play (not being Chelsea or Man Utd helps a bit, too, if we are frank).
But it also hopes they do so without unworthy accompanying soundbites from players or staff seeking to blacken the name of a player who is honest enough to know he made a dreadful mistake that threatens a fellow footballer’s career. I have seen the incident several times on YouTube – while not feeling it right to post the footage here – and have seen no trace of intent.