“Our inability to keep the ball more worrying than our inability to keep players on pitch”

Both out injured

Both out injured

Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez are gone for a while, there’s no apparent way to stop the unmatched growth of our list of injured players.

We have recruited Shad Forsythe – arguably the best fitness expert in the world – and yet we have players going down with muscular injuries at a very frightening rate. One could argue that the appointment of the American guru, and some additional back-room staff hired in the past 24 months, was a complete failure since the team is not making any progress on injuries side.


We are no longer the Crocked Football Club, believe it or not!

Believe it or not Shad has improved things

Believe it or not Shad has improved things

It sounds almost impossible but we are actually making huge progress since last season: we do not have the worst record in terms of injuries since City, Liverpool and United have suffered more injuries since the opening day of this campaign; we are not hit by longer/more severe injuries compared to other Clubs, since half of our injured players came back within ten days, while players at rival Clubs did not have the same luck and we are the Club holding one of the best records in terms of total days spent on the treatment table: at 312 days since the beginning of the season,  we are well below any direct rival in the league and well below the overall average.

For those who like numbers  here is the link to the original article by Ben Dinnery on ESPN.com

Injuries are not the problem; at least, they are not a bigger issue at the Arsenal in comparison to our competitors. We are suffering fewer injuries and those are keeping our players out for less time, compared to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.

If we really want to complain, we should rethink the target of our tantrums. Shad Forsythe and the Arsenal’s medical team are really not to blame, nor is Arsène Wenger for his archaic training methods (can you hear me, Raymond?) because our players are not picking more injuries than anyone else – it’s quite the opposite, actually.

The amount of injuries is no longer a valid excuse to explain why we look unable to turn a game around, when things do not go our way.

Games like those against West Brom and Norwich are to show that we do not have the resources and to fight back when our opponents are outrunning and outmuscling us.

There is something that struck me when I read Arsène Wenger’s reaction to the draw at Carrow Road; straight after the final whistle, the manager said this:

 “Maybe the turning point of the game was maybe we dropped a little bit after scoring straight away and allowed them back into the game”

Fair point that doesn’t sound alarming by itself, but then if you take Arsène Wenger’s word after the defeat against West Brom – the whole thing sound a bit more worrying.

This is what Le Prof said at The Hawthorns:

“(After opening the score) we just had to make sure they didn’t come back with an easy goal and that is where we were disappointed today.”


Wenger after WBA defeat - Same poor excuse 2 weeks in a row??

Wenger after WBA defeat – Same poor excuse 2 weeks in a row??

This drives me crazy, more than Alexis’ hamstring or Walcott’s calf.

The team looks fragile at the moment, we lost a lot of composure recently and – although injuries surely do not help the cohesion of the team – we look unable to control the tempo of a game, which should be one of our strengths.

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With so much quality and experience, you would think that once we broke the deadlock away from home, against smaller team, we’d have accomplished the most difficult task of the day. Once behind on the scoreline, teams like West Brom and Norwich have to come out of their half to chase the result and we could easily exploit the extra spaces that this generates.

WRONG (again…!)

On both occasions we allowed them back in the game and even helped to generate the uplifting feeling of quick equaliser –shooting ourselves in the foot once and basically inviting them to put pressure on us. Our defensive line looked shaky each time our opponents put a minimum effort either centrally or wide, while our midfielders were often caught with the ball and finally we couldn’t really impose our game.

We’ve been unable to bring the ball out of our defensive third with ease – another of our usual strong points – and cruelly missed coordination between attack, midfield and defence. We didn’t lack effort or desire but we lacked focus, which proved very costly.

For sure luck was not on our side, with the own-goal, the penalty missed and the impressive conversion ratio of West Brom and Norwich but de facto none of these teams really had to play the perfect game to trouble us.

Who gives a freak about injuries, when we make Lewis Grabban look like Lewandowski and James McClean play like Arjen Robben?

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One Response to “Our inability to keep the ball more worrying than our inability to keep players on pitch”

  1. Proops December 4, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    These are interesting arguments, but I’m unconvinced that we’re not bringing the ball out of difference and linking well with midfield. Evidence suggests this is our strongest area: http://www.7amkickoff.com/2015/ramsey-and-arteta-square-pegs-filling-giant-round-holes/
    We certainly need better defensive concentration, but I do think the players look jaded, particularly since the Sp*rs game… a sure sign we were heading into injuries.
    Our game is so reliant on speed of thought and movement that when we tire, we just can’t play our A-game. We need to freshen things up, but injuries prevent this. It’s a vicious circle where overplayed players underperform, but can’t be replaced as others are injured.
    Take the example of Giroud: who’d replace him if he were out? Not Sanchez, nor Walcott, nor Welbeck… if you used Campbell who’d play on the right for us? We’re into Jeff or Iwobi.
    That’s why we’re so off form: jaded players who would be rested if those players weren’t injured.

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