Simple solution to Arsenal’s injury problems

And another 3 bite the dust.

Just as we begin to get some players back from injury, Aaron Ramsey & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning, Theo Walcott a week away, we go ahead an lose another 3. And it stinks of predictable familiarity.

We all know it is going to happen. Every year. Injuries. It is perhaps the most predictable thing in football. Arsenal will get injuries. Lot’s of them.

Over recent years, many reasons have been bought forward for our injury issues. Inadequate medical team. Over playing players. Rushing players back from injury. Playing too much too long. Dodgy training pitches. Voodoo curses. And more. But for me, the reasoning is the most simple.

Some players are more injury prone than others, and we have too many injury prone players.

Everyone’s body is different. Think of your work place, some people get ill everytime there is a cold around. Some people never get ill. Think of your 5 a side team. There are always a couple of players who have to stretch more than others, have to cancel due to injury. Whilst others play 52 weeks of the year, never stretch, never any issues.

Think in days gone past. Jamie Redknapp. Darren Anderton. Owen Hargreaves. Players who were pictured frolicking on the beach more than they were pictured on the pitch.

Every team always has and carry’s injury prone players. Phil Jones at Manchester United. Diego Costa and his hamstrings at Chelsea. Even Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany and Manchester City. Every team has them.

But the key is to not have too many injury prone players. And to have adequate cover.

For example, Manchester City only have 2 who are constantly returning from fitness. They might be there best players, but it is still only the 2. And to back them up they have top class cover. Not as good, but good enough.

The problem with Arsenal is too many injury prone players.

We can all name them.

Jack Wilshere
Tomas Rosicky
Theo Walcott
Mikel Arteta
Aaron Ramsey
Kieran Gibbs
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Laurent Koscielny

Over recent years, they have all missed big chunks of the season. Too many players missing too many games.

So what solution is there for having injury prone players. As seen with Diaby, there is no magic cure. No matter how often, how slowly, our how many different methods used, an injury prone player will rarely get a clean bill of health for a long period of time.

The only way to defend against it is to reduce the amount of injury prone players in the squad. At 8 player’s, 1/3 of Arsenal’s squad has that injury prone tag. That is too many.

Now for a solution which will probably make people unhappy. Kick off. Complain.

We should sell them.

Maybe not all of them. But most of them.

Some of them at the end of the season will be natural wastage. Rosicky & Arteta. That will be two off the wage bill from day one.

Then going down the list. We have Wilshere and Ramsey. Both excellent central midfielders. But both with horrendous injury records. Can Arsenal really carry both? No.

I would sell Jack Wilshire. There, I said it. Come at me.

He is 24 in January. And over recent years, has started just 63 league games from a possible 166. That is just 38% of league games played over nearly 4 and a half seasons.

Let us be honest, if he was French, black and 6 3 we would all be calling him deadwood. A waste of a wage. He get’s away with it because he is Wilshere. English. Loyal. An Arsenal boy.

If we were all honest with ourselves, we would all agree. Wilshere is a player who’s injuries mean that he should not be an Arsenal player.

Of course, some will say get rid of Ramsey. You are entitled to that opinion.  In the same period, Ramsey has played 131 games. Nearly twice as many as Wilshere. And has performed to a higher level. Just 35 league games missed. Maybe I was a bit harsh grouping Ramsey with Wilshere? Saying that, for many clubs, 35 games missed over the last is injury prone.

Kieran Gibbs is another one. In recent years his injury’s do seem to have slightly cleared up, but you have to question the value of keeping a back up left back with glass ankles. Nacho Monreal picks up an injury, he then gets replaced by a guy who can not string a dozen games together. It is crazy.

The Oxlade-Chamberlain / Walcott situation is similar to that of Wilshere and Ramsey. You could carry one of them.

In his shortish career, Oxlade-Chamberlain has never played over 25 league games. Theo Walcott over 30 league games twice. It is the same scenario again. You can carry one injury prone talented player, but it is pointless if his replacement is also injury prone. Chances are he will be injured too.

I am not fussed which one would leave. Walcott is the better player (I really do not rate Oxlade-Chamberlain), but Chamberlain younger.

Walcott has suffered throughout his career with problems. Shoulders, hamstrings. Oxlade-Chamberlain just seems to continually break down.

Laurent Koscielny is also a worry. Back problems. Achilles problems. He is having issues like he is an old man. Once your back go’s, other problems arise. We saw it with Thierry Henry. With Rio Ferdinand. With Michael Clarke. Koscielny’s continual back issues are a problem.

Luckily his back up includes Mertesacker, Gabriel & Chambers, 3 players with a fairly good clean bill of health. He would be worth keeping.

The problem with having too many injury prone players is that when you have your normal injuries that every player suffers in the duration of a season – such as Olivier Giroud breaking his foot whilst blocking a clearance, the absence is felt more.

Alexis Sanchez, for example, does not have a history of major injury problems. But his absence will now be felt more due to the continually issues suffered by Chamberlain & Walcott. Had we only had one of those plus a player who can actually remain fit, we would be in a better position. With their injury problems and now Sanchez out, we are in a crisis.

By reducing the amount of injury prone players in the squad, we will automatically increase how many players are fit. It would mean that an injury such as Welbeck’s, really unusual and unlike him, would not be felt as much, and it would mean we would not need to rush players back, causing further injury.

So the solution? Sell Wilshere and either Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Waclott this summer.

Replace these and one of Arteta and Rosicky with players with no injury issues and suddenly the squad will look stronger. The medical team more adequate. The training facilities world class.

Of course, replacing them is important.

In the summer one of our targets at the time was Sami Khedira. A player with horrendous recent injury problems. He went to Juventus. And got injured. What is the point?

Same with the likes of Javi Martinez & Ilkay Gundogan. Two more players who whilst talented, have had poor recent long term injuries.

It really is that simple. Sell those who are always crocked. Replace them with players who are not injury prone.

Then we could win the league.


shop pic

Arsene Wenger’s Black Friday Diary

Thursday 8pm – Better go to bed early. My TV and fridge have been inadequate for a few years now. TV has suffered a few reliability issues recently. Does not always turn on. Was without one for a few weeks the other month. About time I bought better ones.

Friday 6am – It’s Black Friday! Deals to be had!

6.05am – Just remember I have committed to go to Paris for a charity event today. Want an idiot. Double booking on Black Friday.

8am – The Eurostar has free wifi. Result. Will do Black Friday online. Probably better than going to Asda like last year anyway.

8.30am – Just seen Curry’s offering Samsung Smart Ultra HD 4k 55” Curved LED TV. Reduced from £1,149 to £998. Great TV. Still too pricey for my liking thought. Just don’t see value in it. Paying a lot for it being curved.

8.35am – Result. Just seen they have a Samsung  mart Ultra HD 4k 60″ LED TV. Was £1,449. Now just £899. It is better than what I have. And that price is quality.

8.40am – Not yet bought the TV. Is it really worth it. £899 is a lot to pay. After all, my TV still works. It might be old and past its best, but it does a job.

8.45am – Hmmmmm. Think I will think about it for a bit.

9am – Think I will wait until  I get to Paris to make the decision

10.22am – In Paris. Coffee and croissant time.

11.30am – Is there any better way to unwind then sitting in a Parisian cafe with an espresso and a fresh croissant? Now that TV. Think I will go for it.

11.31am – Darn. All sold old. That will teach me for dithering. Better get off to the charity event.

3pm – All done. 20 emails on my phones offering Black Friday deals. Will check them on the train home.

4pm – Just seen on eBay a Hotpoint Free Standing 55cm Fridge Freezer. £197 or best offer. Offered £30.

4.10pm – Offer rejected. Now offered £35.

4.15pm – Received email from eBay seller “stop taking the piss. Please put in a serious offer. Will consider anything over £170”

4.17pm – Offer £171. Cheeky.

4.18pm – Received another Email. “What are you smoking over there? Do not bother bidding on anything I am selling again. You are blocked”. Oh well.

5pm – Result. One of them Emails was from my pal at the scrap yard. They have just been given a fridge. Said I can have it for free.

7pm – Back in London. Still need a TV. Really not sure what to do. Will head home and evaluate.

7.30pm – Looking at my old TV brings back so many memories. Everything we have been through together. It has been a stalwart of my entertainment system. It has done a job. So loyal. Surely I should be loyal to it.

8pm – Just heard Argos are selling a Bush 50” FHD LED TV for £289. Now that is cheap. But it is not the best TV. Reviews say terrible picture and very poor sound quality. I just do not think it is top quality that I need. Will give it a miss.

11pm – Whoops. Feel asleep. Better see what is still available. Only an hour to go.

11.10pm – Great news. Just bought a blender. Tesco Basics. £10.50.

11.15pm – People say I do not always spend money. Well two deals in 5 minutes. Just bought some socks. My feet have been cold recently. Pack of 3 grey ones from Debenhams. Was £10. Now £5. Saved myself a fiver. Imagine what a fool I would be if I jumped the gun and bought these yesterday.

11.17pm – It is all go in the Wenger household. Just bought a toaster. £25. £25 for a toaster. Bit pricey. But hey, They dont call me a big spender for anything. Quite ironic really. I borrowed one from my neighbour yesterday. Won’t tell him though. I now own 2 toasters!

11.30pm – Lads, lads, lads, it is all going off. Just got myself an Amazon Fire 7″ tablet. OK, it is not an iPad or an Android. But at £34.99, it basically does the same job as the more expensive ones. Just not as good. Great deal though.

11.45pm – 15 minutes to go. What a day it has been. So happy with my purchases so far. Got some great deals. And that free fridge. What a bargain. No TV yet though. Just not the sufficient quality at a reasonable price on the market.

11.55pm – Currys have chucked another discount on the Samsung Smart Ultra HD 4k 55”. Another £200 off. Now just £699. Now that is a deal.

11.56pm  – Where is my bank card?

11.57pm – Seriously. Where is it?

Saturday 12.01am – Found my bank card

12.05am – Darn. It is saying I have missed the deadline. So disappointing. Was a great deal. Looks like I will have to make do.

12.10am – What a day spending. A free fridge, a blender, a toaster, socks and a tablet. Whilst I remember, I need to take my tablets. £75.49 spent today. Still got £32million in my bank account. Keeping my powder dry for the January sales.

12.11am – Bit of TV before bed.

12.12am – TV broken down. Not turning on. Didn’t see that coming.

12.13am – Might as well go to sleep. Will buy a new TV in January. will do without till then.



Arsenal in the Europa League – FOR and AGAINST

So after last nights victory against Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal have secured themselves a place in the knock out stages of the Europa League. The competition has split fans as to their opinion on it. Some see it as a chance to win a European trophy, others have such a dislike for it that they would rather we lost last night to ensure we did not qualify.

I have attempted to come up with a fear and reasonable argument FOR and AGAINST the competition. Let us know your opinion by voting at the end.


The Europa League is a horrible competition. Playing Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday to far flung places across Europe will not do our Premier League chances any good.

History has shown that sides playing in the Europa League struggle on their Sunday game. If you are playing in Eastern Europe on the Thursday, you will no get back until the early hours of Friday morning. It basically writes off any training on Friday. If you are then playing away on the Sunday, the players will get together on the Saturday. A lot of travelling, living in hotels, not much time for rest and recuperation.

Looking at the fixtures list, we would have Europa League games before the FA Cup 5th round, before Manchester United Away. The FA Cup QF & Everton Away. And Manchester City Away.  Playing Thursday than Sunday before these fixtures will be a nightmare

The fact is, playing in the Europa League will damage our changes of winning the league.

From a personal point of view it is a nightmare as well. We already have too much meddling in our fixtures list. Early Saturday kick offs, late Sunday kick offs. It is a headache for the loyal travelling fan. The Europa League will only create further problems. The above fixtures will all be moved. As will Norwich at home. Less drinking, more train issues, and more Monday morning hangovers. It is not fun.

If we end up falling into the Europa League, we need to play the kids, and ensure we get knocked out at the earliest opportunity.


Imagine wanting Arsenal to lose? How crazy is that.

Yes, we would all prefer to stay in and win the Champions League, but in 17 years of trying, we only have 1 final to show for our efforts. In 2000, we ended up in the UEFA Cup (as it was then) and made the final. We should have won.

The Europa League is a more winnable competition. Chelsea a few years back dropped down into it and won it. Did their fans moan and complain that they had won another European trophy? No. The fact is, Arsenal do not have a great European pedigree – 2 cups to date – so who are we to turn our nose up at an opportunity to win a 3rd?

There is no difference between playing on a Thursday & Sunday compared to a Wednesday & Saturday. This should not be an issue. Especially for a club with a squad our size.

And the Europa League does not restart until the end of February. By then our league title chances could be over and we could be out of the FA Cup. Winning the Europa League could be our only chance of a trophy.

As for it damaging our chances of qualifying for next years Champions League,  I would rather win a trophy than qualify for a European Tournament, and winning the Europa League gets you a place in the Champions League

The extra travelling is also a myth. Last year, Tottenham played Fiorentina in the knock out stages. The year before a trip to Ukraine and Portugal. When Fulham made the final, they played in Ukraine once, Italy and Germany (twice). In the Champions League knock outs, Arsenal could end up playing in Russia, Ukraine. There is no real difference.

And from a personal point of view, the Europa League would throw up a few trips that we as travelling fans have not done. We are all bored of going to Barcelona & Munich. As the groups stand, we could also end up with getting Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea. Add in that trip to Russia. There are no games that really excite.

Over in the Europa League, we could get trips to Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Prague & Belgrade. As a travelling fan they excite. Somewhere different. A city you have never been. A city you will never go to unless it is for football. There are clearly some cracking trips to be had.

If we get into the Europa League, we should go out to win it. And a final in Basel? Yes please.