The ridiculous rule Arsene Wenger wanted to introduce after Arsenal were battered by Stoke

Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger endured a fractious relationship during the Welshman's time in charge of Stoke City
Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger endured a fractious relationship during the Welshman’s time in charge of Stoke City (Picture: Getty)

Arsene Wenger was so rattled by Arsenal’s regular struggles against Stoke that he raised the idea of throw-ins being banned, while referees and linesmen were asked to measure the length of the grass at the Britiannia Stadium after the Frenchman wrote a letter of complaint to the Football Association.

Stoke was a far from a happy hunting ground for Arsenal during Tony Pulis’ tenure, particularly upon their immediate return to the Premier League. Wenger’s expensively assembled side struggled in a particularly hostile atmosphere and had little answer the combative and, at times, overly aggressive style of play employed by the Welshman’s team.

A fragile Arsenal defence was particularly susceptible to Rory Delap’s infamous long throw-ins which helped Stoke win five out of eight matches at home against the Gunners between 2008 and 2014.

Wenger infamously branded Stoke a rugby team and in 2009 suggested kick-ins replace conventional throw-ins to speed the game up, but his complaints were music to the ears of Pulis.

‘I always want angles to get players motivated, to put fire into their bellies and something for the supporters to feed off,’ he told That Peter Crouch podcast.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal had no answer to Rory Delap's incredible long throw-ins
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had no answer to Rory Delap’s incredible long throw-ins (Picture: Getty)

‘When Wenger first said it, called us a rugby team, it was the third time on the bounce we had beaten them at home.

‘He was avoiding the question of how could a team with much less talent than Arsenal, who don’t spend anywhere near as much as Arsenal, who haven’t got the facilities and capabilities of Arsenal, keep beating Arsenal.

‘[Former Arsenal captain] Patrick Vieira told me at a coaching conference: ‘We used to hate going to Stoke. You were the only club that Wenger actually talked about and worked on before. We just couldn’t beat you.’

‘Wenger came one year and complained about the grass being too long. He wrote a letter to the FA.

‘The referees and the linesmen had to come and measure the grass. I know he talked about banning throw-ins and saying they shouldn’t be allowed. That was all music to our ears.’

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