Theo Walcott coin row: Arsenal forward unlikely to face FA action for stretcher incident with Tottenham fans
Midfielder's scoreline gesture as he is carried from the pitch with an injury enrages Spurs supporters towards the end of 2-0 FA Cup defeat
The twisted hatred provoked by one of football's most bitter rivalries was shown in its full unexpurgated ugliness as Tottenham fans, teased by Theo Walcott, reacted with naked fury at the Emirates.
Walcott suffered a knee injury late in Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup third round win and was treated on the field, then carried from it by a stretcher. The route to the tunnel took him past those fans who had made the short trip across north London and they bombarded both Walcott and the stretcher bearers with coins and plastic bottles after the England international gestured to them with his hands indicating the 2-0 scoreline.
The Football Association, which takes a dim view of players inciting violence, are expected to look into the incident but it is understood Walcott is unlikely to be charged. Unlike Jack Wilshere's 'giving the finger' to Manchester City fans last month - for which he received a one-match ban - Walcott's gesture was not in itself offensive. While it undoubtedly offended Tottenham fans Arsenal will point out to the FA that Walcott was subjected to a hail of coins before his gesture.
“The doctor said coins were raining over his head while he was treating Theo [on the pitch] and he had to protect him,” said Arsene Wenger, “maybe that is why he did that.” The Arsenal manager added: “If the FA judge is it offensive what can I do but I don't think he will be in trouble. What he did was not offensive. He does not look aggressive, he is smiling.”
Tottenham's head coach Tim Sherwood said he had not seen the incident but he condemned any Tottenham fans who threw coins. “If they did that it is a problem.” As for Walcott's gesture Sherwood said it was “maybe it was a bit of banter.”
One player who could be charged by the FA - and banned for three matches, is Tottenham's young Frenchman Nabil Bentaleb who marred his full debut by stamping on Nacho Monreal's arm. “The referee missed it,” said Wenger.
Wenger was unsure of the exact nature of Walcott's injury - “it is either stretched ligaments or a kick”. Thomas Vermaelen was also withdrawn after being kicked. Wenger also confirmed that Nicklas Bentner will be out for a month with the ankle injury sufered scoring against Cardiff on New Year's Day.
Arsenal's goals came from Santi Cazorla, after 32 minutes, and Tomas Rosicky half-an-hour later.
Latest in Sport
England 29 Wales 18 match report: Stuart Lancaster's men enjoy their day in the sun at expense of weary Wales
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0 match report: Samuel Eto’o stoops to conquer sorry Spurs
FA Cup semi-final draw: Arsenal to meet Wigan Athletic at Wembley, Hull paired with Sheffield United
Arsenal 4 Everton 1 match report: Revitalised Mesut Özil breathes life into Arsenal
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Dear 'The Sun', breast cancer isn't sexy
- 4 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 5 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised