Could lack of “old man strength” be a problem for Zinchenko and Jesus?

What a long old, strange week. But finally the weekend is here.

We start off with the news that Mikel Arteta was named Premier League Manager of the Month for August.

Not a huge surprised considering we are top of the league – although I do think Graham Potter would have deserved it were he still at Brighton.

It is unbelievable that there are still those out their that spread negativity around Arteta and Arsenal despite us being top of the league.

All clubs suffer from these sort of fans that think it is “cool” to be ultra-negative. You have to feel sorry for them.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has been ruled out for a couple of weeks with a calf problem. This could be a blessing in disguise as it will mean he misses Ukraine’s pointless international games.

I was a little concerned over the long-term fitness of both Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus when they signed.

Neither has really played a full seasons of senior top flight football despite both being 25-years-old.

Zinchenko has never made more than 15 starts across a Premier League season, whilst Jesus has never started more than 22 league games in a single season since moving from Brazil.

I think it is legitimate to question whether they have built the “old man strength” you gain from playing week in, week out in your early 20s to play consistently without picking up niggling injuries.

Their lack of football over the years can really be highlighted when compared to Bukayo Saka’s career.

Now I know some will make the argument that Saka has been over played in his youth – and he probably has. But Jesus and Zinchenko have clearly been underplayed (and this is a key reason they both left Manchester City.

At just-turned-21-years-old, 2 of Saka’s 3 seasons have accumlated the more minutes than either Jesus or Zinchenko despite the former-City pair being 4 years older.

In fact, Saka has played more Premier League minutes in his last two seasons than Zinchenko has during his ENTIRE time in England.

The above also highlights my concern over Jesus.

Over the last 3 seasons he has averaged around the 2,000 minutes mark. Has he accumalted the old-man strength and staminia to play closer to 3,000 minutes this season? And how fit and sharp will he be towards the business end of the season?

Arteta expects his front line to play a high energy game. Lots of closing down and pressing. They also need to be sharp and dynamic when the ball is turned over.

We saw last season Saka suffer towards the end of the season as he ran on empty. I expect him to be better this season having experienced 3,000 minutes last. But Jesus has not done that.

It is one to keep an eye on, but do not be surprised if Zinchnko and Jesus pick up a few injuries throughout this season.

Whilst I am on injuries, Emile Smith Rowe remains out due to ongoing groun problems associated with “growing pains”.

The club have confirmed it is the same injury that saw his loan spell at RB Leipzig last just 3 games back in 2019.

I would be concerned that something which occured 3 seasons ago is still being “managed” by the club. Especially with one so young.

My gut is this groin problem will follow him throughout his career which is why I floated the idea of cashing in on him next summer.

if in 10 months he is still suffering from the recurring problems, Arsenal management should recognise they have a bit of a sick note on their hands and look to maximise the price.

That will result in a sale next summer as other clubs would look to spend big money on an English a 23-year-old despite his injury record. Arsenal could then move on and sign someone without the long-term issues.

I feel if Arsenal leave it an extra year, his value will plummet.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating selling him now, I am saying if he continues to show a lack of fitness then it is something that should be on the agenda.

Last bit of Arsenal news is that Ben White was not selected for England. I am not too disappointed.

I discussed this previously in a blog where I discussed the fall-out of our 3 Gabi’s not being picked for Brazil.

Whilst I want to see England win the World Cup, I also think the top sides that have the least players out in Qatar could see huge benefits as the season comes to its conclusion.

It is only natural that those players that get a 6-ish week winter break will be fitter come Apil / May than those who have played a full 9 month season.

Tomorrow itr is Brentwood. An early kick off so no blog from me.

Keenos

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