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Alex Hleb the target again as worrying trend emerges

Here’s a piece I penned following Mark Noble’s shocking challenge on Alex Hleb during our 1-0 win at Upton Park recently.

In it, I expressed my concerns that Arsenal’s young stars may become targets for malicious fouls by any opposition struggling to cope with the pace, movement and domination of Arsene Wenger’s talented young team during matches.

I can understand how some players facing us at the moment may feel frustrated by their lack of success, because we can keep hold of the ball for longer than any team in the top-flight. And possession play often invites desperate, rash tackles.

But my issue is with those poor souls who work themselves into such a state that they resort to committing criminal offences on the field of play because they cannot cope with containing us in any other manner.

Yesterday, with Sunderland having surrendered parity after clawing back a two-goal deficit, defender Paul McShane clattered into Hleb, stamping on his genitals and following through with a knee to the face.

Thankfully, the Belorussian flier escaped with no serious injury but the intent – and possibility of long-term damage – was clear for all to see.

The referee rightfully issued the Black Cat with a straight red card but what frightens me is the emergence of a terrible trend. Are we so good at the moment that others teams feel they have to resort to this kind of thuggery?

Unforgivably, BBC’s Match of the Day 2 on Sunday didn’t give the incident a mention in their post-match analysis.

You can’t help but wonder what it will take for the authorities to act?

Perhaps an Arsenal player being seriously injured before they are left with no choice? I sincerely hope not. Because as Perry Groves said on Saturday, “Arsenal are playing the best football of any English club side in history at present.”

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Posted by Mo Khan on October 8, 2007 2:16 PM in News
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This is a disturbing trend. I was glad to see Rob Styles not hesitate to show the red card. Hopefully the refs have been alerted to the emerging trend of targeting Arsenal players.

Posted by: RIP | October 8, 2007 3:01 PM

Cue the "LOLZ Arsenal r week and suthern faires and u gooners moan 2 much and goddam forigners" responses.

Posted by: Adam | October 8, 2007 6:44 PM

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