Stoke City: Judge us on facts and not hearsay, says chairman Peter Coates
STOKE City chairman Peter Coates says his club should be judged on facts and not hearsay after earning a better disciplinary record than Arsenal this season, writes Michael Baggaley.
Opta statistics for Premier League games show Stoke have committed slightly more fouls than Arsenal (78 to 74) and have 12 bookings to Arsenal's 11.
But Stoke have yet to pick up a red card, unlike the Gunners who have had Laurent Koscielny and Alex Song sent off.
Dean Whitehead has committed the most fouls for Stoke, with 12 in six games, compared to Song's 13 in five games for the Gunners.
Official Premier League statistics for this season show Stoke are 14th in the disciplinary standings, while Arsenal, who were third-best last season, are currently 17th.
Coates, pictured below, believes the comparison with Arsenal is valid because Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has criticised City for playing overly-physical football.
Coates said: "I think our record is OK. It is an interesting comparison with Arsenal's and confirms our view.
"Arsene Wenger is always complaining and trying to influence officials, but the facts don't bear him out.
"We have a reputation for being a strong, physical team, but the media stereotypes teams."
Coates believes that stereotype has cost the club points because refereeing decisions have tended to go against them.
He said: "We don't get the rub of the green. We had a penalty given against us at Newcastle on Sunday – and I'm not saying it wasn't a penalty. But we should have had one at the other end, only Matthew Etherington stayed on his feet rather than fall over, so nothing happened. But that's the way we try to play."
Meanwhile, Coates says the club will continue to pursue an apology from Wenger after the manager accused Ryan Shawcross of kicking Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes in Stoke's home game with Spurs in August.
Wenger's comment came as he accused Stoke of 'rugby' style tactics on goalkeepers.
Wenger says Stoke shouldn't take his comments personally because he simply speaks out against 'violent football' and 'bad fouls' without considering the teams involved.
But Coates says Wenger's comments on Shawcross were incorrect and could affect the player.
He explained said: "A statement has been made that is factually incorrect. All the manager has to say is he is sorry, he has made a mistake.
"I realise he is a great manager, but we can't let managers, however eminent, say things which are not true that could damage Ryan's career.
"For that reason, we are asking for this to be rectified.
"We have made a complaint to the Premier League, so it is in their hands."
Saturday's visitors to the Britannia, Blackburn, have also found themselves at odds with Arsenal over their style of play... but boast the second-best disciplinary record this season.