Injuries, Ramsey, Ozil, Podolski + Arsecast 308

Injuries, Ramsey, Ozil, Podolski + Arsecast 308

I woke up this morning wondering who had hit me in the head last night. I looked suspiciously at Mrs Blogs, but then I remembered the bottle of Faustino. The winey bastard.

Some worrying news to kick off this Friday with and that involves Aaron Ramsey. All the behind the scenes whispers were that he was going to be back for this weekend’s trip to Sp*rs. Arsene even said last week at his press conference that he was a week away from his comeback.

Yesterday the manager revealed it’s going to be a little longer than that, saying:

We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available. He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term.

Now, I’m no medical expert or insider, and I just can’t get into the debate about whether it’s our training methods, fitness regimes, different coloured zones, Wenger’s insistence on using remedies made from angel tears and griffin feathers, or anything else, I just know that it’s bad news because we don’t have Aaron Ramsey.

Of course there’s plenty of speculation about why we have these injuries and why they take so long to heal at times. I get that. People – and I’m sure the manager is one of them – want the players fit and available, especially at this crucial time of the season. It’s frustrating when they’re not, and more frustrating when it’s somebody like Ramsey who was due back last month and broke down again. If he was a plane you’d be worried about flying in him.

At the same time though, we’ve got players who are playing week in, week out, who don’t have seem to have any issues, so maybe there are specifics involved in these cases rather than it being an overall problem of training, recuperation etc. Anyway, as I said, I don’t have enough knowledge of the ‘inside’ to do anything other than hope Ramsey gets back as quickly as possible, but as well as missing Sunday, he’s likely to miss the trip to Chelsea too and that’s not good news.

It’s exacerbated by the Mesut Ozil problem. The German confirmed yesterday that it had indeed occurred in the 2nd minute of the game. Not that you can excuse him playing poorly because of it, or anything. He should have been like Maradona against England considering how much he cost, regardless of any muscle problem that would hamper his movement and running power.

The prognosis, expected to be confirmed by the manager today at his press conference after all the scans etc, is that he’s going to miss around 4 weeks. Bad news, indeed, as I touched on yesterday. But what can we do now other than look to the players we do have available? We need them to step up and make the difference.

Obviously Lukas Podolski is one of those – somebody who might not have the subtlety of Ozil, or the all round fusion reactor drive of Ramsey, but does have end product. He’s got seven goals from 15 appearances this season. He scored in difficult circumstances against Bayern in midweek, and if he can replicate that level of performance for the rest of the season then he’d certainly go some way to easing the pain of being without the injured players.

You certainly can’t fault his attitude going into Sunday’s game. He says:

I’ve always liked derbiesWhen I played in Munich, or Cologne or even here in Arsenal I always liked derbies because there’s a special atmosphere and it’s a special fight. We want to go there, get the three points and drive back home.

This is important for us. We must fight for the club, for the fans and I think this is an important game so I look forward to Sunday now.

And it’s funny how things turn out. With everyone fit Podolski was likely to be involved, but much more peripherally. Now there’s something of a weight on his shoulders. Without Ozil, Cazorla is a great replacement for that central attacking midfield role – something that does soften the blow – and it means there’s space on the left for Podolski to play on a regular basis.

The manager might have his issues with him, as selection decisions have shown this season, but now he’s got little choice but to put his faith in the German and hopefully that will be rewarded. You get the sense he’s a player who always wants to do well and maybe a run in the team will bring about a period of good form. We need somebody to step up, to be this season’s Freddie, and you couldn’t get a more popular choice than him.

Right then, time for this week’s Arsecast, and it was recorded last night as a Google Hangout. Myself, Goonerholic, Andrew Allen and the Man from East Lower discuss plenty including: Arsenal in the media, is it trolling? Hatred? Click-bait? Or just the new style of journalism?

There’s also chat about Bayern Munich, the FA Cup, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the North London derby and having sex with cars. Fun times!

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here 33mb MP3).

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

This week’s Arsecast can also be viewed on YouTube as a Google Hangout where I think it might win an award as the Beardiest podcast/hangout of the week. Only the Holic had the decency and manners to have a shave. Click here to view it as a video.

We’ll have all the news from the manager’s press conference this morning over on Arseblog News. The Gent will be here later, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

Until then.

Live Arsecast recording – 8pm

Live Arsecast recording – 8pm

Right, time for one of those Google Hangout things as we do a live recording of this week’s Arsecast.

Joining me on air: Goonerholic, Andrew Allen and the Man from East Lower.

On the agenda this evening we’ll be talking: Bayern Munich, media reporting, the FA Cup, the North London derby and much more.

Feel free to fire over some questions via Twitter – @arseblog – and I’ll try, but can’t promise, to get to a few of those.

Arsecast Extra – Episode 7

Arsecast Extra – Episode 7

Here’s this week’s Arsecast Extra: I’m joined as always by James from @Gunnerblog.

On this week’s show we discuss the fantastic FA Cup weekend which included our 4-1 win over Everton as well as Man City’s capitulation against Wigan. We also answer your questions about Thomas Vermaelen, scoring from corners, Mikel Arteta’s age and on what would be preferable to eating tinfoil for three days.

Remember, you can send us questions via which we’ll try and get to each week. Send them to either @arseblog or @Gunnerblog (or both) using the hashtag #arsecastextra. Best to send them Monday morning so they get noticed more easily.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast Extra directly – click here 25mb MP3).

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

The Arsecast Extra is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Wilshere and England medical staff foolish + Arsecast 307

Wilshere and England medical staff foolish + Arsecast 307

Morning all.

The news that Jack Wilshere is to miss 6 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot is both unsurprising and supremely irritating. I said yesterday it wouldn’t be a shock if he discovered his injury was worse than suspected when he got back to Arsenal and that turned out to be the case.

There are people who are saying it’s not necessarily a bad thing because Jack hasn’t been playing that well lately. Fine, he can certainly play better, but at this point of the season losing a player who has played 31 games, scored 5 goals, and made 4 assists, is a blow. We’re not losing some fringe player here, but a first team regular.

It’s irritating because it happened in a meaningless friendly. I don’t really have any issue with Agger, it was a 50-50, both players went for it, Wilshere got hurt. It happens. What I do have an issue with is the fact that he played on.

I understand that, like many players, he’s competitive and eager to play. Nobody wants to come off just a few minutes into a game, but this wasn’t an important fixture for England and it was a game in which Wilshere had nothing to prove to Roy Hodgson or anyone else. Perhaps continuing didn’t do any more damage, but it’s certainly possible that playing for another 47 minutes with a cracked bone in his foot made the initial damage worse.

You have to look at the England medical team and ask why did they not err on the side of caution. Knowing the World Cup is not far away, and knowing fine well that Arsenal have a punishing end of season schedule, why did they not make a decision that, at worst, would make them look as if they had the players best interests at heart above everything else?

Of course they can’t see if he’s got a cracked bone from a cursory sideline examination, but they must know it’s a possibility. Instead, they chose to ignore that and have put Wilshere’s chances of going to Brazil at risk. If the damage was exacerbated, they’ve contributed to that. If it were a crucial, competitive game in which Wilshere’s presence was needed, you can understand it more, but a friendly that nobody gave one single shit about – what’s the point?

The other side of this though is Jack himself. He has to start listening to what his body is telling him. When things really hurt, they really hurt for good reason. It might have been just bruising, but the way he went down, and stayed down, was evidence enough that this was beyond the usual kicking he gets. He has a responsibility to himself to not play through that kind of pain for no good reason.

When he missed a whole season, it came after he’d been playing with an injury for a long time, and kept the extent of that hidden such was his desire to just play football. But he was younger, more eager to make a name for himself, and while there was a collective failure with regards to that injury, some of that has to fall on the player himself.

It’s difficult when you’re young to make those kind of decisions. Who amongst us, regardless of the level we play (or try to play) at hasn’t gone out on the pitch carrying a knock or a strain that we know better to put at risk? Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. Wilshere is one of those players who just wants to play all the time, I get that completely, but there comes a time when you have to add common sense to the mix.

As much as the England medical team should have hauled Wilshere off after a tackle which saw a stretcher being readied, Jack himself should have told them that for his own good it’d be better to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong and left the fray. I don’t think it would have affected his World Cup chances in any way, it’s clear that he’s part and parcel of Hodgson’s squad.

Perhaps the size of the crack in his bone doesn’t matter; maybe it’s 6 weeks regardless. But Jack has to step back and think about what’s best for him. Playing on, and risking doing more damage, is not it. Fingers crossed he recovers in time for the end of the season and so that he can go to the World Cup, it’d be a cruel blow if he were to miss out, and hopefully he can make a further contribution to our season before it closes too.

It’s also telling that when Arsenal made the announcement they made it clear this wasn’t a part of his body that had been injured before, which just highlights the need for him to take care of himself first and foremost. He’s the one who ultimately informs the physio how badly it hurts.

How badly this affects Arsenal is dependent on the fitness of Aaron Ramsey and, to a much lesser extent, Kim Kallstrom. I hope there’s no thought of rushing Ramsey back ahead of time, again that’s a risk we don’t need to take really, but we should get more from the manager on that at his pre-Everton press conference today.

Speaking of Aaron, have a look at this video. It’s an illustration of why this team has found it more and more difficult to achieve its early season form. There are a number of factors in that, obviously, but the absence of Ramsey, who contributed so much to get us to the top of the table, can’t be underestimated.

Tim Stillman looks at the season overall in his latest column, and if you were still in any doubt of the awesomeness of Per Mertesacker, check this out.

Now then, time for this week’s Arsecast. I’m joined by journalist Dan Levy to discuss the week that was, and by Everton writer Luke O’Farrell to look at the blues ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup clash. There’s a snippet from Andrei Arshavin, some interesting team news on the tannoy, and all the usual waffle and guff.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here 32mb MP3).

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

We’ll have all the latest from the press conference over on Arseblog News throughout the day, back here tomorrow with an FA Cup preview.

Arsecast Extra – Episode 6

Arsecast Extra – Episode 6

Here’s this week’s Arsecast Extra: I’m joined as always by James from @Gunnerblog.

On this week’s show we discuss the disappointing weekend performance and result against Stoke, the team selection and lack of chances. There are also readers questions about Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Arsene Wenger’s future, Luis Suarez’s release clause and some disturbing Charlie Adam imagery.

Remember, you can send us questions via which we’ll try and get to each week. Send them to either @arseblog or @Gunnerblog (or both) using the hashtag #arsecastextra. Best to send them Monday morning so they get noticed more easily.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast Extra directly – click here 28mb MP3).

Arsecast Extra is brought to you by Audible.com – you can get a free audio book download and a 30 day free trial. Click the banner below to sign up or go to audibletrial.com/arsecast

The Arsecast Extra is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.