What was obvious from yesterday’s game is that a lot of our players are running on empty.
Two of our best players (Santi and Sanchez) were woeful and Santi was taken off. If we had had a replacement, so should Sanchez have been. This is a threadbare team. We cannot continue to compete with less than half of our first team fit.
The cause of our present position
- Repeat injuries which emerge at this time every year and for which Arsene Wenger seems to be in denial. Why is it that we are the only club in the premiership, if not the world, where injuries which we are told will affect the player for 6 weeks turn into 6 months? Why do we have hamstring injuries on a regular basis? Anyone who suggests that it is the fault of the training regime is asked by AW if he knows better than all of his doctors and physios etc. That means that he is self-perpetuating the same fitness programmes and taking the same advice that has produced these injuries. If I am wrong, then he must be arguing that these people know best. What is his or their explanation then, that despite all of their expertise we still have the most acute injury list than anyone else every season?
- Lack of cover. I repeat what I have already said; we failed to sign anyone in the transfer window. AW says that he will not sign someone who is not going to be an improvement on what we have. At the moment, he had to play teenagers who were unprepared against Sheffield Wednesday. Were any of them an improvement? If he is going to sign a marquee player that is superior to Ramsey or Coquelin, who is that player? If he can`t get such a player then what is wrong with getting adequate cover?
- If the above issues are not resolved, then does AW honestly believe that any top notch player will want to sign for Arsenal? We signed Ozil and Sanchez, both of whom are world class but Ozil has already been struck down by injury and Sanchez is clearly exhausted. Santi is too. Koscielny is a regular casualty as is Ramsey and Wilshere. The Ox and Walcott are regular hamstring victims. If I was a world class player, I would think twice before I would sign for a club at which I am almost guaranteed to be side-lined by injuries.
- The effect of all these unresolved issues is that we never challenge for any major trophy because at the business end of the season our squad is depleted. This is not coincidence. It is happening every year. It has become a mantra which the football pundits trot out at the start of every season when they pick their challengers for the trophies. Arsenal it seems do not feature because they all say that come January to March we will implode.
I rejoice at seeing players like Ozil or Sanchez playing for Arsenal and I would love to see more players of that quality. Alas, I am convinced that it will not happen unless these matters are properly addressed. I am now worrying that the ones that we have now will leave to join a club where they have realistic prospects of staying fit and winning trophies.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.