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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 15 – Crisis Time


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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 15 – Crisis Time

By Dale Higginbottom

It’s crisis time at full-back. After the Champions League game last Tuesday, we knew Santos might be unavailable for a couple of weeks and so, leaving us without all four first and second choice full-backs.  Luckily we’re not really hit too badly at centre-back so we’re able to fill in here and there and do quite well but I think at the moment it’s very close to panic stations.

However, this full-back crisis is not uncommon territory for Arsenal. Indeed, if we think back just a couple of seasons (2005/2006, I think) we had a season where we had to play seven different players at left-back (including Flamini). Well, by my reckoning, we’re only one short of that record this season. So far this season, playing at left-back we’ve had:

Gibbs, Traore, Sagna, Santos, Vermaelen and Miquel

It’s amazing the little this has impacted on our results so far and I think this a largely helped by the relative little impact of injuries elsewhere on the field. But is this likely to change? Let’s look at this week’s list.

 

A = Ankle K = Knee
B = Back L = Achilles
C = Calf M = Muscle
D = Dead Leg N = Hip
E = Hamstring R = Rib
F = Fatigue/Lack of Fitness S = Shoulder
G = Groin T = Thigh
H = Head Injury/Concussion U = Unknown
I = Illness Y = Hand
J = Foot Z = Broken Leg

Arsenal Vs Everton (1-0)

Injuries Arsenal (9 + 0S) Everton (4 + 0S)
Goalkeeper Fabianski (K,1) Mannone (S,1) N/A
Defence Sagna (A,9), Gibbs (M,9), Jenkinson (B,5), Santos (A,1) N/A
Midfield Wilshere (A,15), Miyaichi (A.6), Diaby (M,13) Drenthe (A), Osman (E), Rodwell (E)
Attack N/A Anichebe (G)
Additional issues Vermaelen suffered from blurred vision after after a head collision and so was replaced after 82 minutes. Saha was a doubt but started and played 64 mins. Distin was also a slight doubt, he replaced Saha. Neville played the first 76 minutes, he was also a doubt ahead of the game.
Suspended N/A N/A

 

Stoke Vs Tottenham (2-1)

Injuries Stoke (3 + 0S) Tottenham (6 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Wilkinson (B) Dawson (L,11), King (K,4)
Midfield Pennant (U) Huddlestone (A,11), Kranjcar (A,10), Rose (A,1)
Attack Sidibe (K) Pavlyuchenko (K,3)
Additional issues N/A Dos Santos was a doubt but was on the bench and played the last 2 minutes. Bale and Defoe were also slight doubts but both played a part in the game.
Suspended N/A N/A

Liverpool Vs QPR (1-0)

 

Injuries Liverpool (3 + 1S) QPR (5 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A Kenny (M), Murphy (C)
Defence Robinson (A,7) N/A
Midfield Gerrard (A,11), Lucas (K,2) Dyer (J), Taarabt (T)
Attack N/A Hulse (K)
Additional issues N/A Connolly and Campbell were doubts for the game but both started on the bench. Campbell came on after 66 mins.
Suspended Spearing N/A

 

Man Utd Vs Wolves (4-1)

Injuries Man Utd (8 + 0S) Wolves (2 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Rafael (S,15), Fabio (E,2), Vidic (K,8) Foley (A), Craddock (E)
Midfield Cleverley (A,9), Anderson (K,5) N/A
Attack Owen (T,9), Berbatov (A,2), Hernandez (A,2) N/A
Additional issues N/A N/A
Suspended N/A N/A

Chelsea Vs Man City (2-1)

Injuries Chelsea (2 + 1S) Man City (2 + 0S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence N/A Kolarov (G,2), Richards (C,1)
Midfield Essien (K,15), McEachran (A,2) N/A
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues N/A N/A
Suspended Luiz N/A

Well, I think we can now say that the injury crisis has finally hit for Arsenal. Yes, full-back has been a specific area of worry but it’s certainly not the only area with injury issues. We’re the injury kings this week, largely influenced by the injuries to our two mid-week keepers, but United really want to take the top-spot from us especially with the news about Fletcher’s long term illness just breaking. The Totts are pretty much unchanged with injuries and again, bringing up the rear are Liverpool, Chelsea and City.

Despite our injuries I think it was a fair performance against Everton. We created chances and whilst it required a bit of magic from Song and van Persie, we looked like the only team that was going to win that game. We’ve been doing enough in the games we’ve played recently and it’s now eight unbeaten in the league.

Onto the rivals…

United got the kick up the arse after Champions League embarrassment and took it out on Wolves. Their injury list will be a huge concern, especially as there are some very influential players appearing on it.

Liverpool picked up a much-needed victory to keep them up with the pack and the Tiny Totts showed that their decent run was always only going to be short-lived. Maybe Adebayor will be staying (wage issues permitting) as the Totts cannot surely be considered as credible title-challengers.

The big game of the weekend (ok, it was on Monday) was Chelsea vs Man City, two teams with just a handful of injuries so quite a fair contest. A great result for all (other than City) with title aspirations and a shot in the arm for every team looking to face City in the coming weeks.

Indeed, it’s City away next for Arsenal and personally I think we’re in with a good shout at winning this. The defence is looking much better, even sans full-backs, so we might do something to contain Silva and Aguero. Song is looking better and better and assists against Dortmund and now Everton are particular highlights this season and the midfield is looking much more settled. Finally the front three are looking like a very strong and consistent and wouldn’t it be great if van Persie could surpass Henry’s 34 goals in a calendar year against the league leaders.

After their defeat to Chelsea and Champions League exit, maybe this is a good time to face City. Clichy’s suspension and Kolarov’s injury means Walcott will have a field day against either Bridge or Lescott.

If we pick up three points in that game, it’ll put us just six points behind the current leaders, can we then say our title challenge is back on? Our December and early January fixtures look quite kind.

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9 comments to Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 15 – Crisis Time

  • Very interesting to hear commentators on Man U saying this morning “Ferguson has to buy – they need a midfielder and an attacking player.” Funny, I thought that was what they said about us.

  • RobL

    ….yet none of the Telegraphs “experts” put us in the top 4, but all include the spuds….

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well I sure hate us to be top of this league…

  • What I don’t really understand Tony is how this hasn’t been said more often. Even with a fit Cleverley it was clear to everyone that there was no creativity in United’s central midfield, and hasn’t been for about three seasons.

    Commentators are all too quick to point out Arsenal’s lack of strength in say goalkeeper (last season and season before that), or midfield (after Nasri and Fabregas left), or attack (after Henry left) or defence (every season).

  • ok off-topic, just got this on Twitter, not sure how old it is but love it.

    http://www.twitpic.com/6xq4st/full

  • Sammy The Snake

    Injuries to ManU will have little impact for them over the X’Mas period as they are playing winnable games (QPR, Fulham, Wigan, B’Burn, New Castle).

    Arsenal will face City, Villa, Wolves, QPR, & Fulham without their injured players.

  • Anne

    @Tony:

    I first noticed this angle on ManU just after their CL exit:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/16176893.stm

    That combined with Chelsea’s “crisis” left me with a strange sense of deja vu.

  • Anne

    @Dale:

    That twitter pic is funny. On the other hand, if you have doubts about Arsenal fans trusting Arsene, you should check out what they’ve been doing to the Mirror’s Oliver Holt on twitter 🙂

    Good article.

  • RashGunner

    I think Zabaleta will be on the left, while Richards will be back on d right.. My concern is I pray JD20 does not have a bad day in office against Shitty. a 1-2 scoreline should be good. Gunners rule.