Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Injury problems mount

Good morning from a wild and windy Dublin. I think summer, such as it was, is now well and truly gone.

There’s gloomy news to start with this morning involving Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian is set to miss two months having undergone ankle surgery in Stockholm early this week. He picked up a knock away to Udinese and although Arsene Wenger was hopeful he might play against United at Old Trafford things have taken a very obvious turn for the worse.

If there’s good news it’s that it’s not the same ankle that caused all the problems last season but coming so soon after the news of Jack Wilshere’s absence it is something of a blow. Questions will certainly be asked about how much the club knew about the fitness of both players ahead of the transfer deadline and I don’t think you need to be a genius to work out that an unprecedented day, in which we signed five new players, was probably influenced by the injuries to both Vermaelen and Wilshere.

Whether we would have bought defensive players without those injuries is a moot point, I’m just thankful that we did and that those on international duty tonight come through with a clean bill of health. Losing Vermaelen is a big blow, however. We’ve spoken many times about his character and I think we’ll miss that. There’s not much we can do if players pick up injuries during matches though. If this was the same Achilles we could bemoan the medical staff but this seems to be just poor luck – something we’ve grown rather used to.

There was more bad news as well, with The Independent reporting a Theo Walcott hamstring injury could rule him out of England’s game with Wales. He’s due to have a fitness test but if there is any strain there you would hope England will do the sensible thing and leave him out. Even a small tweak needs proper rest and treatment so playing him would be a real worry.

Also, while I’m pretty happy with the signing of Benayoun, and I know it happened very late, isn’t it a massive risk for a club like Arsenal, which seems to suffer more injuries than most, to sign a player without any kind of medical? Perhaps it’s standard procedure when a deal is done at the last minute but here’s a revolutionary idea, don’t wait until the last minute to do your deals.

Another deadline day signing, Mikel Arteta, was finally seen in red and white yesterday and he looks like he’s enjoying training.

Meanwhile, UEFA have taken a firm stand against the scourge of the game – people talking to the person next to them. They have upheld Arsene Wenger’s ban and he will now be banned from the Dortmund and Olympiacos games on the 13th and 28th of September.

Frankly, it is ridiculous that a manager should be banned for 3 games in total for pretty much nothing while UEFA turn a blind eye to all the other problems football has. Tapping up, clubs taking the piss out of FFP with ludicrous sponsorship deals, racism and more seem to be beyond their control yet Arsenal are punished for acting strictly within the guidelines set down by UEFA.

All the same there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. If you wanted to suggest Wenger’s strained relationship with Platini has something to do with it then I’d imagine you’d find plenty of people sympathetic to that idea, but the reality is we’ve got to just get on with it now. It certainly seems an injustice but if UEFA are willing to ignore reason, logic and, above all else, evidence, what more can we do?

Elsewhere, Andrei Arshavin is widely quoted this morning talking about the ‘catastrophic’ losses of Cesc and Nasri, but the headlines ignore the more positive outlook he has on our new arrivals. Speaking to the Russian media he said:

I know a bit about Mertesacker, he is a good defender who should definitely help us. I know nothing about Andre Santos other than that he plays for Brazil – but this in itself shows credentials. Arteta and Benayoun have long proved themselves in the Premier League, they’re not bad signings.

Judging by the quantity and quality of our signings, Arsenal’s football will soon undergo some changes.

And that’s an interesting point. For all the talk of replacing Na$ri and Cesc we were never going to be able to go like for like. Cesc is one of the best players in the world, you simply can’t go out and buy another one just like him. It might be easier to pick up another weak-chinned, money hungry, two-faced bottler like Nasri, but why would you want to?

The new arrivals might well bring about subtle changes in how we play and maybe that’s not a bad thing at all. It’d be fair to say that over the last few seasons most teams have had us pretty well figured out. If new players bring new ideas and a new style then I’m good with that. Trying to do the same things, which didn’t always work even with one of the best midfielders in the world and a weak-chinned, money hungry, two-faced bottler, would be madness.

Other than that not a lot happening. The Ox played very well for England U21s yesterday, by all accounts, but the sooner he’s away from the clutches of serial loser Stuart Pearce the better.

Finally for today, one for the Arsenal historians. Can anyone give me a definitive origin to the song ‘B’Jesus said Paddy’? From the bits and pieces I can gather it stemmed from our Irish support back in the 70s/80s but if you can give me any more info than that, or how it might have started, please leave a comment in the arses. Much obliged, thanks.

Right, here’s to an injury free round of internationals tonight … hahahahahahaha … I slay me. Till tomorrow.

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