Stamp It Out of the Game
It's part of his character that Robin van Persie usually speaks up in honesty, whether he sees the subject matter in a positive or negative way. So it is not surprising that he has given his opinion on a certain incident in the away game at Manchester City. What is quite extraordinary today - apart from the result - is for arsenal.com to promptly issue a player's post-match statement that condemns an opponent, let alone a former player who has left the club recently.
Some of us Gooners might have speculated whether Emmanuel Adebayor's stamp on Robin van Persie's face while he's down on the floor was a foul since the incident happened. To me it seemed innocuous enough in real time. The replay showed a bit of an awkward movement of Adebayor's leg that made me feel he could perhaps have avoided it if he wanted to. But then everything looks different in slow-mo, I thought at the time, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But not Robin van Persie. Shortly after the game, the Arsenal forward commented with disapproval of his former teammate's behaviour:
'I am sad and disappointed by my former team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor's mindless and malicious stamp on me during today's match.
'We are both professional footballers and I know that the game is physical, I too have made hard and sometimes mis-timed challenges but never with the intention of hurting an opponent. He set out to hurt me today.
'I knew he was aiming for a collision because he changed the angle of his body to allow contact to be made. He moved backwards when his natural momentum would have taken him forward. I find that deeply disrespectful. He has shown a real lack of class today, to me and the fans.
'I do feel lucky that I have not suffered a greater injury. The contact was only centimetres from my eye. I have not received an apology from him, there were no words exchanged afterwards. He had his own agenda today and that is bad for football. It's bad for the game we all love.
'I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the result of today's match. We do not hide from that disappointment but I need to speak out about his behaviour.'
As I said, to me it seems quite unusual that the club have put up a player's statement to make public his disapproval of an opponent's behaviour on the pitch. Maybe the straight-talking Dutchman felt so strongly about it that he wanted to make it clear to everyone in the game. Tim will also likely tell you what he saw first-hand how Robin expressed his feeling towards Adebayor to the travelling Gooners after the match.
Well you know where to go to find a video clip to see it again. You can decide for yourself whether it was a deliberate stamp or just an accident that Adebayor's leg trailed and the studs hit van Persie's face - something that Adebayor or Man City are likely to claim when asked anyway.
I said to someone on Facebook that Adebayor was fast elevating himself to the Cashley status with the despicable character that he showed in the goal celebration. If he topped it off by doing what van Persie accused him of doing, I don't know what to think of him as a human being anymore. And malicious violence is precisely one of the more serious things that need to be stamped out of the game, more so than, say, diving. (Sorry, had to stick it in.)
Until proven guilty, it's one man's word against the other's. But regardless of the truth, let's brace ourselves for more controversy and shit-stirring in the media in the next few days.