'We are touched, quite in a harsh way with our injuries' - Arsène Wenger
That is what Arsène Wenger said in an interview for the official site today. Well, you can say that again Arsène.
A sentence with Arsenal and injury is nothing new to the common Arsenal fan. I kept pointing out to my footballing pals how strange it was to have a 'normal' injury campaign last season. I even allowed myself to dream of a new future where mass injuries were a thing of the past. Unfortunately I seemed to have mistaken us for just another football club.
But the topic of injuries is a very difficult one to try and tackle especially when so much of a football supporters focus is on their own team. But while every team picks up injuries over the course of a season I am pretty sure that once again we boast the loudest treatment room.
When Mesut Özil damaged his hamstring in the second minute at Bayern Munich, he joined Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo on the injury list. A few of those names are short term and should be available on Sunday against the old enemy. But wouldn't it be nice if during such an important stage of the season we had most of these players available.
If you look at someone like Chelsea at this stage of the season, not only do they have a fancied fixture run in, they only have four injured players at present, two of which are due back in a week or so. The easy life eh? Not only them though, the likes of Manchester City who have been in a similar situation to ourselves have 3 injuries two of which are back on the weekend. Manchester United (4) and Liverpool (3)
So why are Arsenal top of the tree with 10? Is it the players themselves? not sure about that as we have chopped and changed our squads over the years yet consistently remain in contention for the injury table title. Is it the way we play? Manchester City play a style based on pass and move and they have had far less injuries. What about the size of our squad compared to our rivals? especially those who have played CL football. The issue I have with this is our midfield. Our midfield is way up there in terms of depth and quality, it is the one area of the pitch where Arsène has rotated the squad more often than not yet we have a number of key personnel out from that area.
We could argue back and forth on this topic but the simple truth is we as Arsenal fans do not know the finer details even if some claim to be red zone experts. A number of Arsenal bloggers were invited to have a look around the Arsenal medical facilities and every report spoke about how wonderful the set up was. How we had state of the art technology and that statistically we were no worse off than other teams.
I don't know what the problem is, if there is one I don't know what the solution is but I do know that we are once more not able to give the best account of ourselves because of the absence of key players.
I just hope that we do not lose anybody else before the likes of Ramsey and company return.