Arsene Wenger says clashes against Stoke City are even more aggressive than against Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham.
The feud with Stoke stretches back to 2010 when Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey suffered a double fracture in his leg after a brutal Ryan Shawcross tackle.
Wenger compared tackles from Shawcross and his defensive partner Robert Huth as “more like rugby”, prompting abuse from the Stoke supporters.
While Stoke have employed a different approach under Mark Hughes than previous manager Tony Pulis, Wenger said he felt more aggression from Stoke fans that Tottenham supporters.
“Yes – I don’t know why [there is more antipathy from Stoke fans]. You should ask them. I don’t bully them,” he said.
“It is maybe more aggressive than Tottenham. I think the major incident was Ramsey. That is where it started.”
Wenger then recalled verbal anger from Arsenal supporters following their 3-2 loss to Stoke last season.
“It was made more of than it really was,” he said. “It was four people shouting. Out of how many hundreds of thousands of fans we have – it looked like all the fans did it. It was four people.
“It didn’t stop me from sleeping — what stops me from sleeping is losing games.
“It has happened before that fans were not happy and chanted in the stands away from home. The younger generation of players is better equipped to deal with that, because they are educated about that.”
Arsenal travel to Stoke on Sunday as they look to reclaim top spot in the Premier League table.