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McClean disciplined over Instagram post

Last Updated: 09/11/18 5:16pm

McClean was verbally abused by for his refusal to wear a poppy during last weekend's game against Middlesbrough

McClean was verbally abused by for his refusal to wear a poppy during last weekend's game against Middlesbrough

James McClean has been disciplined by Stoke after he called a section of the club's fans "uneducated cavemen".

McClean's post on Instagram came after he was verbally abused by some home supporters during the Championship clash with Middlesbrough last weekend over his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt.

A statement on the Stoke website read: "Stoke City's investigation into James McClean's social media post following last Saturday's game against Middlesbrough has concluded and the player has been dealt with under the terms of the club's disciplinary procedure."

In a statement of his own to Stoke supporters, McClean, an Irish Catholic who has faced persistent abuse for his poppy stance, gave a qualified apology.

4:04 Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke and Middlesbrough.

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke and Middlesbrough.

He said: "At last Saturday's game a section of our supporters threatened and abused me because of my religious beliefs and upbringing.

"I am certain that no fair-minded person would regard that as acceptable but I recognise that as a professional footballer, and therefore a role model, I'm expected to tolerate it.

"Whilst I do not believe it is appropriate for me to apologise to those fans who abused me, I do want to whole-heartedly apologise to the vast majority of Stoke City fans who, although they may have different views to myself, are decent and respectful.

"I sincerely apologise for any offence that I caused them with my comments and posting on Instagram."

Stoke City manager Gary Rowett says he does not condone McClean's comment

Stoke City manager Gary Rowett says he does not condone McClean's comment

Speaking about McClean's comments at a press conference on Thursday, Stoke boss Gary Rowett told reporters: "I spoke to James about it. I think his reaction was out of frustration but criticising the minority of our fans isn't the way to go and we can't condone that.

"But when you understand the background to his beliefs and you see that his family have been sent death threats, his wife and kids have had abuse constantly and you see he's been sent things in the post, you can understand why he reacts; he's only human."

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Arsenal Remembers

Our Premier League match against Wolves takes place on Remembrance Sunday in the year that marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. 

As a mark of respect, our home shirt for this game will carry The Royal British Legion’s poppy embroidered on to the chest. These match-worn shirts will be auctioned in aid of the charity once players have signed them.
Before kick-off, two soldiers from the Royal Artillery (a supporter of each club) will carry a poppy wreath and place it in the centre circle as the teams assemble to observe a period of silence. They will also be joined by 100 ex-servicemen and veterans pitchside ahead of The Last Post sounding.
During The Great War, Arsenal lost eight players; Spencer Bassett, Albert Beney, John Flanagan, James Maxwell, Charles Randall, Robert Houston, Joseph Dines and Dick Roose and over the last few weeks the club has remembered these brave men along with all the other men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in armed conflict. 

We have supported ‘There But Not There’ – a national charity campaign to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The campaign sees six-foot ‘Tommy’ statues, silhouettes of fallen heroes which are displayed at Emirates Stadium and have been at our training ground this week. The Tommies are part of a nationwide art installation set up by the charity Remembered, which will ensure that the incredible sacrifices made by so many 100 years ago are not forgotten. The purchase of these statues sees proceeds going to The Royal Foundation, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, Project Equinox: Housing Veterans and Medical Students and Commonwealth War Graves Foundation.
In support of the national ‘Football Remembers’ campaign, we have also planted six trees at our training ground in partnership with the Woodland Trust to show Arsenal’s legacy to football and the First World War. The trees have been donated by the Woodland Trust, which is working in partnership with the National Football Museum's 'For Club and Country' project, The Premier League, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Association to encourage clubs around the country to plant trees to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick said: “It’s an honour for the club to be part of remembering those who have sacrificed so much for us. It’s extremely important that we create legacies to remember those eight players who paid the ultimate sacrifice and show our respect for them and the many other servicemen and women who continue to serve.”

Copyright 2018 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

Arsene Wenger
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Arsenal striker Welbeck has ‘significant’ ankle injury

Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan checks on Danny Welbeck following the striker's awkward landing

Danny Welbeck sustained a "significant" right ankle injury during Thursday's Europa League game against Sporting Lisbon, his club Arsenal have said.

The 27-year-old England international was carried off on a stretcher during the goalless draw at Emirates Stadium.

Welbeck, who was injured when he jumped for a header and landed badly on his right ankle, remains in hospital and will continue to be assessed.

"A further update will be issued over the next 72 hours," said the club.

Several of Welbeck's team-mates appeared distressed as he received lengthy treatment and needed an oxygen mask.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said: "He was working well and he was having a good match. He had some chances too. His injury was with the mentality of the players."

Welbeck, who has scored 16 times in 42 international appearances, was named in the latest England squad for the upcoming games against the United States and Croatia.

He has five goals from 14 matches for the Gunners this season.

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Ramsey tops Premier League Goal of the Month poll

Aaron Ramsey has claimed the Premier League Goal of the Month award for October.

The Wales international won the prize for his stunning finish against Fulham, capping a wonderful team move in our 5-1 victory at Craven Cottage.


Every angle: Ramsey's sensational goal against Fulham

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was also up for the same prize.
Aaron is the first Arsenal player to win the award since its inception in the 2016/17 season.

Copyright 2018 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

Arsene Wenger
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Man City v Man Utd: What it is like to face Pep Guardiola’s side – Darren Fletcher

It is derby day in Manchester on Sunday and Darren Fletcher knows only too well how difficult a trip to Etihad Stadium can be.

The former Manchester United midfielder was thrashed 7-2 there while playing for Stoke last season and, having experienced "one of the most difficult games of my career" that day, is well aware of how not to play against the champions.

He is hardly the only one to have endured a difficult day at the Etihad though - City have only lost twice in 44 home Premier League games under Pep Guardiola, winning 33 of them and scoring 122 goals.

But United are one of the two teams to have won there against Guardiola in the league, thanks to their thrilling 3-2 comeback victory in April, and Fletcher believes there is a way his old side can line up to get another positive result this weekend.

What not to do v City: 'The gaps became huge'

Fletcher was in the Stoke side that lost 7-2 at Etihad Stadium in October 2017. Manchester City had 80% of possession, with 20 shots to five from the Potters. "It was horrible," he recalled.

Fletcher on Man City 7-2 Stoke: "We got it wrong that day. We actually tried to press City high up the pitch and the problem was the game became too stretched.

"Not everyone in the team bought into it, and not everyone followed the instructions - and that is when it is dangerous.

"Some of our players pressed, but some didn't and the gaps became huge. It ended up becoming a disaster. There were too many spaces, and also too many players.

"City had all of their players in the midfield area, dropping in between the lines, and we had too many people in areas that could not affect that.

"Stoke had got a point at City the previous season playing the same way but that day we got it wrong and we got punished for it. As a player, to be out there and be part of that, was not a nice place to be.

"It was horrible, actually. Looking back now, it was one of the most difficult games of my career."

What will United do? 'Inbetweeners in a circle press'

Paul Pogba scored twice as United fought back from 2-0 down to beat City 3-2 at the Etihad in April

Fletcher: "I am not expecting United boss Jose Mourinho to use a high press like Mark Hughes did with Stoke last season and again with Southampton when City beat them 6-1 on Sunday.

"I think Mourinho will set them up to be very solid, but not to sit as deep as they usually do.

"Instead I think they will use what I call a circle press, or a half-way line press, where you are not too deep but not too far forward either.

"So a lot of your players are maybe 10 yards either side of the centre-circle, which means you are trying to be a little bit brave with your defensive line and you have also got your strikers within a good distance.

"That way, there are no big spaces in the middle of the pitch for City to exploit.

For United to be dangerous on the counter-attack against City, Fletcher thinks they need their most mobile attackers - "any three from Sanchez, Martial, Lingard and Rashford" - on the pitch rather than Romelu Lukaku, who was injured and missed Wednesday's win over Juventus. Ander Herrera was also in the United side that beat Juve

"If United's defence is higher than normal, City can just play balls over the top - so the position of goalkeeper David de Gea is important too.

"His defenders will have to trust him to be in the right places to deal with certain balls so they are not worried about City's forwards getting in behind.

"If it works, United's outfield players will be in a sort of in-between position, where they can be a threat on the counter-attack but also put a bit of pressure on City when they are on the ball.

"That is what they did so well in the second half at the Etihad at the end of last season and fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2."

Long ball City? 'They like to ping a pass forward'

Ederson practices one of his long 'ping' passes forward

Fletcher: "Whatever your strategy is against City, you have to be careful because they are a very clever team.

"People think they play total football out from the back but their gameplan is actually to get the ball into their front players as quickly as possible.

"And, whatever space there is to exploit out there, they exploit it.

"If you put too many players forward to press, they will play that hard, long and low 'ping' pass forward, which is different to a normal high long ball because it is harder for a defender to get there first. Ederson is a master of it.

"They want their three front players to go one-on-one if they can and, whoever is playing in their attack, they will back themselves to beat their man because they are so fast and skilful.

"Everywhere on the pitch, the balance of when to go hunting for the ball or when to drop deep is so hard to find. If you get it wrong, they will punish you."

City's key man? 'Silva is their Scholesy'

David Silva has created 30 chances from open play in the Premier League this season, nine more than any other Premier League player. His City team-mate Raheem Sterling, Liverpool's Mo Salah and Chelsea's Eden Hazard are next on the list with 21. The highest-ranked United player is Alexis Sanchez, who is joint 18th with 14

Fletcher: "City have so many fantastic players, but there is one who is more influential than all the others in terms of making them tick - David Silva.

"When you play against them, you can see Silva has got the respect of all the City team.

"I would relate it to how my United team was with Paul Scholes. You would sometimes be in a good position yourself but if 'Scholesy' was there, you would just give him the ball.

"You might think that is crazy for a professional footballer to admit but, when it happens, that is the ultimate respect.

"Everyone did it with Scholesy, not just me. I have seen players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney do the same if Scholesy was free, and just give it to him.

"It happens naturally when you are out on the pitch, and I see it happen with Silva now.

"Yes, Raheem Sterling is arguably their form player and is so dangerous with his runs, and how he penetrates defences and gets behind them.

"And they have got Sergio Aguero too, who is always such a threat, but Silva is the one for me who is the heartbeat of that team."

How to stop Silva? 'Herrera can be United's hero'

Could Ander Herrera snuff out David Silva's threat on Sunday? "He could make it a difficult game for him," thinks Fletcher

Fletcher: "I quite like man-for-man marking as a way of stopping a key man for the opposition, and it is something I have done myself in my career.

"But I did it against what I would call classic midfielders - players more like Cesc Fabregas, Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard.

"The problem with doing that against City is that, if you man mark David Silva, he is quite comfortable dragging you all over the pitch, knowing what you are trying to do.

"He will go and stand on the left wing, so you will be playing right back. And then, say, Leroy Sane will come inside and your right-back will be playing in the centre of midfield.

"United have to try to stop Silva somehow, though, and for them to do that, I think Ander Herrera has to play.

"Having been in the United dressing room with him, he is one of those players who remembers everything the manager says, and is constantly reiterating those points to the rest of the team.

"Not every player does that, because some of them are so tied up in the game themselves, but Herrera does not just remember his role, he remembers other people's too.

"He is that influential to the whole team, plus he is aggressive and he can set a tempo for United when they get the ball back.

"I like him and I would have him in the team. He could go up against Silva and make it a difficult game for him, which does not happen very often."

United are seventh, nine points behind leaders Manchester City

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