Well, good morning to you all. I would say it’s marvelous to be back but I’m struggling to see what’s so great about cold and damp and grey Dublin as opposed to the warm and bright and sunny of Barcelona. Nevertheless, here I am, my Arseblog DNA more or less intact.
Before we go anywhere I have to say a big thanks to the ‘holic who filled in so capably in my absence. I enjoyed reading his Arseblogs as opposed to his normal blogs and I can assure him that once I get to explore the other wings of the house appropriate action will be taken. The Arseblog basset hound seems to be in fine fettle too so all in all he’s kept things ticking over quite beautifully. And if his blog isn’t on your reading list already then it should be. Cheers, ‘holic, virtual Guinness heading your way until I can sort out the real thing.
Now, back to the nuts and bolts of it all, and that’s the Arsenal. As it stands I believe 89.56% of our players are out injured. We know there was always going to be a young team going to Greece this week but even if he’d wanted to play his first XI it would have proven impossible. Arsene spoke of their being an unknown reason why so many of our players pick up knocks and says it’s our worst season ever for injuries.
I’m certain it does merit some investigation. Whether it’s the players being so finely tuned, the hardness of the pitch at the Grove, the training methods, diet, or something else we have to try and find the root cause and we have to do it soon. The other thought I have though is a bit more simple : What if just boils down to the fact that we have assembled a group of really injury prone players?
Arsene says he’s devastated by Rosicky’s latest injury. I understand that, but he can’t be surprised, can he? Even before his 18 months out he was in and out of the side with strains and niggles. Diaby and Eduardo can point to their horrific injuries as reasons why they’ve struggled but knowing these kinds of injuries can have cause such problems are we wise to rely on them? Let’s face it, Diaby returned to action in January of 2007 and to this day he he plays a few games then misses 3-4 weeks with an injury. How long can you keep a guy like that around and then complain about him being injured?
Theo, you get the feeling he’s brittle. Carlos Vela seems to miss more games than he plays, William Gallas has had a major injury every season he’s been at the club, Denilson has had months out each season, Robin van Persie we know all about, the list goes on. So while there’s a definite need to try and figure out how we can make things better, perhaps we just have to accept that we have the most injury prone players in football. If it’s a natural ability on their behalf or something that’s down to us and our training methods, who can say? The fact is though that it is a massive handicap for this team. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had a period with no injuries, or just the odd player out. It’s always three or four, now it’s practically a whole team.
I was previously of the opinion that we didn’t pick up more injuries than other teams, perhaps we were just more aware of ours. I don’t think that’s true anymore and until we do something about it, it’s going to make achieving our ambitions a lot more difficult. A squad of 36? What’s the alternative? Over to you, Arsene.
And speaking of squad augmentation, Cesc has been talking about what we’re missing, suggesting we need a player like Didier Drogba. He says:
Sometimes it’s true that you need a different kind of option. An average team that has the best striker in the world can always do something and Didier Drogba makes all the difference to them. Without him, their team would not be the same. Perhaps we had the same kind of problem against Chelsea as the boys had at Manchester City, not really having someone whose game is to go beyond defenders, and we were a little small to fight against them on crosses, too.
The manager is talking about how difficult it is to find ‘world class’ players in January but when the captain is talking about needing different options up front he should be listening. By all accounts Arshavin did well up front against Stoke but I don’t see him as a realistic option in the long run. He’s good enough and clever enough to make it work for a few games but he’s not a centre-forward. He’s a guy who should be feeding the centre-forward. I know we’ve got Bendtner back soon enough and he certainly ticks some of the boxes in terms of strength and size but he’s yet to add consistency of performance to his game. Perhaps a good run in the side will do that but at the moment he’s one of the 89.56% and currently useless to us.
All kinds of names will be thrown about between now and the end of the transfer window but my feeling is that we don’t necessarily need someone who is ‘world class’. When you talk like that it sounds like excuse making for not bringing somebody in. Sometimes you just need a decent player who can come in and do a job. Someone who can play a part, score some goals, give the team some balance and add to it in areas we’re a bit short in (no pun intended). A functional signing, it doesn’t have to be a youngster will all the potential in the world or a superstar, just a good player. And I’m sure Arsene Wenger, with his fabled knowledge of world football, must know a few of those. Let’s see what happens. He says he’s going to wait and see what happens with injuries. If I were a betting man I’d say it’ll be Injuries 8-0 Arsenal.
In other news Jack Wilshere talks about going out on loan but says he’d rather go to another Premier League club than anywhere else. At the moment we can’t afford to loan anyone out and Wilshere strikes me as the kind of player we could do with as the season progresses. And the idea of strengthening any of our opponents, bottom to mid-table, seems somewhat pointless to me.
And if you’re heading to Greece tomorrow, the advice is to be alert.
That’s about that then. We should get a full squad list later this afternoon, it’ll be interesting to see who has travelled to Athens, so more on that and the game tomorrow.
Now, I need some toast.