Former Stoke striker Dave Kitson believes that Tony Pulis’ ‘hatred’ of Arsenal contributed to the infamous tackle which broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg eight years ago.
Meetings between the Potters and the Gunners were often tempestuous affairs, with Pulis believing that the best way to disrupt Arsenal’s passing rhythm was to get in their faces.
But it all boiled over in a meeting at the Britannia Stadium in February 2010, when a Ryan Shawcross tackle on Ramsey caused a double leg fracture which put the Welshman out of action for nine months.
“The build-up to the game contributed to this moment,” recalled Kitson in his column for the Sun.
“Stoke manager Tony Pulis absolutely despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, hated the way he played. While Wenger hated the way Stoke played. They were the direct opposite of each other in football terms.
“All week I had never seen a manager so desperate to win a game of football, it was bordering on out of control.”
Pulis had assembled a physically imposing team, with every player in the starting lineup standing at 5′11″ or taller.
“We would come out of the changing room first so they would come and line up next to us and we were all north of six foot. You could just see them shrinking in the tunnel before you and Pulis really really played on that,” added Kitson.
“But it just went too far. His desperation to beat Wenger and justify his way of playing football. It crossed the line and went too far.
“He was just desperate to win and some of the tackles we would put in — myself included because it was asked of you — were shocking really.”
Kitson didn’t actually play in the game in question. He was an unused substitute on that occassion.