Arsenal versus Stoke City is often a match which is met with friction before, during and after the actual game is played out on a football pitch. A history of injuries, bad tackles, play acting, criticism and general dislike exists between the fans, players and managers.
Nobody gets on and therefore it's no surprise to hear sour grapes from either team after they've lost. Today Stoke City were narrowly beaten 1-0 at the Emirates and afterwards Tony Pulis wasn't happy. He doesn't appear to be the kind of bloke who is often happy but he was especially displeased when he was asked about how Arsenal fans and the club perceive his side and tactics.
He said, in a video hosted by Sky:
"If you compare the two clubs in respect of resources, what he spends and what we've spent, where we've come from and where they've come from, it's not a level playing field so you have to really really dig in when you come to these places and work very very hard and that's what we've done.
"I wish I had his squad, I wish I had his resources, then you'd play a little more open and you definitely would take more chances but we are who we are and we're very proud of what we've got and what we've done."
It's just not fair is it? We had a look at the net spend at each club since Tony Pulis took over at Stoke City and he's right, there's a huge gap between the two clubs. Stoke City have spent, on net spend, £120m more than Arsenal since the start of the 2006/07 season.
Here's the yearly breakdown:
|Total in £Ms||-40.3||79.65|
Arsene Wenger has a net spend of -£40.3m over the period and Tony Pulis has one of £79.65m. Indeed there are few clubs who have outspent Stoke City since Pulis took over the club. He'll no doubt dismiss the net spend argument but it's present and it's applicable if he wants to complain about differing resources. Arsenal's wage bill will be higher but these clubs haven't got the financial gulf on the pitch that Pulis wants to convince everyone of.
Stoke, and Tony's problem, is that their income from transfers is pitiful. They make hardly anything despite being happy to pay big fees for players, there doesn't seem any pressure to recoup money and unlike other clubs they don't have people paying them big bucks for their players.
Wenger's spending policy may be restricted or it may be his own stubbornness holding him back but Tony Pulis is in no position to go around pointing fingers about resources because he simply risks the danger of bringing attention to his own relatively high spending since he took over.
Figures from Transfer League, throw rotten tomatoes at them if you're angry.