Stoke City fans are reportedly planning a mass impersonation of Arsene Wenger when the Gunners take on the Potters in their Premier League fixture at the Britannia on Sunday. Stoke fans have been accused, in the past, of being disrespectful to Wenger, so this is hardly likely to mend matters.
The last time Wenger came to the stadium was on 28 April, for a 2011/12 league game, and Stoke City fans in the crowd began impersonating his arm movements whenever Wenger expressed his displeasure with the referee.
The bad history goes back to Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross's ill timed tackle on Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in 2010, which broke Ramsey's leg. Wenger was apoplectic and the 24-year-old Shawcross was roundly abused by Arsenal fans in the return fixture at the Emirates. Stoke fans responded in kind, by targeting Wenger.
Wenger has refused to be cowed or intimidated by the fans' behaviour but has hit out at the lack of crowd control on such occasions.
"I've had enough experience to cope with that. It doesn't bother me too much. I don't listen to what people chant. I think one day football will have to tackle that. It's easy to sit in the stand and insult people... I'm not responsible for the way people behave in the stands. If you want to stop that, it's easy to stop. You can isolate every single face," the 62-year-old explained to the Daily Mail after the April game, adding, "I think sometimes when I go out on the pitch at the end of the game, and people are angry or hateful, I would like a little picture to send home for them to show their son or daughter, and then come back next week and see if they will do it again, see if they are proud of you."
Meanwhile, Stoke fans have reportedly also booed Ramsey and Wenger was furious at the behaviour; Ramsey has maintained Shawcross never fully apologised for his actions.
"I don't think you can be especially proud to boo Aaron Ramsey, I don't see what he has done wrong. It's an old story where the fans of Stoke stand behind their player but it shouldn't go as far as booing Ramsey," the Frenchman added.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has acknowledged there is currently bad blood between the two teams.
"Ryan got absolutely slaughtered at Arsenal. It's not a one-way ticket. It would be nice if we could move on, but I don't think that will happen," he said, in the Mirror's report.