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Arsenal injuries and the dates of return (maybe)

By Tony Attwood

We seem to have a few injuries and I have been trying to put together a full picture of the situation.

My aim here is not to give a complete and accurate list of injuries and return dates, but to stimulate you into writing in and saying that I have missed x and got the date on y wrong etc etc.

In short, the usual thing.

Arteta: fit to play

Bendtner: return 1 February

Diaby: as we know, sadly prone to terrible relapses and further injuries, but the last I heard he would be ready again in March

Gibbs suffered a calf strain but I think he is fit now

Giroud: now fit to play

Oxlade-Chamberlain: ready to play under 21 games.  Ready for first team by 21 January

Ramsey: ready to return January 21

Sanogo: ready to return January 15

Vermalen: ready to play 21 January

Walcott: return in August

In terms of strikers that means we have Podolski and Giroud available now, with Bendtner three weeks away.

In the midfield we have…

Gnabry, Ozil, Rosicky, Flamini, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, with the Ox poised to return.  That’s quite a lot really.  Seven nearly eight, and only five places.

In defence we have our usual central pairing, with Vermaelen not far away, and the full backs fit (if Gibbs is fit).

Both goalkeepers are fit.

So I still don’t see this is as the total disaster that the AAA portray.  But still…  what do I know?

Recent Posts from the History Society

 

44 comments to Arsenal injuries and the dates of return (maybe)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Also the fixture schedule is rather kind to us.
    When we got out of the Carling cup I said it could be a blessing in disguise. We now see the blessing part of it. I would have liked Chelsea to be still in it though.
    But certainly Man City has a heavy schedule with the League cup semi finals, an FA cup replay. Sad thing is that if there is one team that has a big enough squad to deal with it, it is theirs

  • americangooner

    Its really a blow and I am certain that every arsenal player and fan is devastated with Theo’s absence. Theo, with his unmatched pace, provided the only tangible outlet. He also was instrumental up until the spuds match after recovering from abdominal injury. I don’t think we can get like for like this Jan transfer window. The best we can expect is for Alex Ox or Serge Gnabry to really step up. Given that they play similar position, the competetion could really be beneficial to both the youngsters. We won’t be missing a goal threat but we will lack pace and directness.

  • robl

    Bale’s the closest to a plug in, and that won’t happen will it.

    Besides, it always takes a long time to adjust so we wouldn’t benefit this season from x, y or z.

  • OMGArsenal

    I don’t understand those who say the Ox and Gnabry aren’t as fast as Theo. I read on Arsenal.com a season ago that the Ox raced Teho a few times and they both came in about equal. I don’t know if Gnabry is as fast but by God he is tougher than Theo, can take a hard tackle, is very pacey and tricky on the ball and has excellent positioning off it. The Ox’s problem is his shooting, but he has been doing better lately. He is also a physically stronger and heavier version of Theo. Both Gnabry and the Ox have similar physiques, and both are tough customers in a pinch so I’m not overworried. IF Miyachi and Podolski can be available as well, then we have sufficient options to continue our winning ways.
    I also feel that AW will pull another rabbit out of his hat and find someone who will strengthen us in January, like he has done so many times before. If not, then we’ll continue to pull together with the best defense and midfield in the EPL driving us on.

  • Jax

    Gnarbry is (potentially) faster than Theo and had the option to become a pro sprinter, although it’s not obvious in his play so far, but there’s no reason why he could not develope into a pacey goal scoring forward like Theo.

  • Mandy Dodd

    They are all quick off the mark , and to add to that, ryo exceptionally quick as well, but theo seems quicker with the ball, at least to me, and he is certainly more of a goal threat. He will be missed no doubt but let’s see how these boys do, a great chance for them.
    The worry is that theo was seen as a potential cover for giroud, unfortunately these guys are many things but not cover for giroud. We shall see what wenger does, I do not envy his decision but I have a sneaking suspicion he has renewed respect for bendtner and may want to rescue his career, that would be a gamble but quite typical of the man. Bendtner with his head right and fit is the nearest to giroud, and potentially,as good. Of course if true, this may not be wengers most popular decision.

  • Pete

    Per Jax, I believe Gnabry was a German age group champion sprinter, but could be wrong? Also heard that Anelka and Henry were similarly quick in France so a decent comparison!

  • ozed

    The main area where we will miss Theo is in the goals department. i still think he is our most clinical player in converting shots on goal or one on ones.

  • Mike T

    Probably the quickest footballer player I have ever seen was Darren Cambell (The Olympic Sprinter) when he played non league at Weymouth. He wasn’t too good at football but God could he run.
    In footballing terms they say the first yard is in your mind and even then the quickest players over 100 metres aren’t as a matter of course those that are the quickest over 10, 20 or maybe even 30 metres which is more important I footballing terms
    I feel for Walcott it a terrible injury and I hope for his sake he recovers to the player he was something which is far from a given.
    I know some will put forward the poor tackles as a reason but what I don’t get is just why Arsenal year on year have so many injuries compared to other teams. Is there something happening or perhaps not happening in terms of the medical back up or is it just coincidence?

  • Mandy Dodd

    That is a very good question Mike T why do we get so many serious injuries, especially of this nature. My guess and it is only that, we doctor some unyielding playing and training pitches to suit the way we play ….and play the price. Maybe we have more rigorous training, maybe medics, lack of ref protection, rotational fouling, small technical players, squad depth,who knows
    The majority of our players seem to get long term serious injuries at least once in their Arsenal career, many have one injury after another.
    I am far for a critic of the club, but I hope they do look into this, and make comparisons with other teams.who do not seem to suffer in the way our players do…at a least at that is the general and fairly widespread perception. If things can be done to improve this injury situation, which has gone on for years, I hope they take all measures possible

  • Asman

    Have to agree with mike, arsenal gets more injuries than other teams do het year in year out. I feel it is time to toughen the guys more and maybe give the some hints of how to injure the one who wants to get you injured before you are injured. Sometimes I think the are too soft and allow some tackles

  • robl

    @ MikeT, we have smaller, faster players now, compared to the Invincibles – our game has moved on, however the UK refs are way behind the European refs in coping with this and protecting more skilled but fragile players. Barcelona would never be subjected to the “man’s game” we are led to believe that the English game is.

  • nicky

    Players like Gnabry and Chamberlain will replace Walcott but in a different way. Neither is as quick on the field but both are physically stronger.
    Walcott requires space in which to operate, otherwise he finds it difficult to get past a defender who stands his ground.
    The other two use bulk and guile to their advantage.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not sure if it is etiquette to plug another blog….but an excellent tactical analysis of our season so far on arseblog, see tactical review.
    http://arseblog.com
    Some interesting thoughts in this on amongst other issues, Giroud, which if correct leads me to further believe Bendtner, a similar player will be the chosen one as OG backup as opposed to a new signing if indeed the bomber will soon be back…..but we shall see….

  • bob

    “Ferguson tends to restrict his United watching to Old Trafford but mounting crisis talk following Sunday’s home FA Cup defeat to Swansea allied to a more than underwhelming Premier League campaign drew him to Wearside [Sunderland]. With a hat pulled down over his eyes, the old knight peered down on Moyes from the directors box, looking suspiciously like a potentially most annoying back-seat driver.”
    Mandy,
    Would you say that Fergie may yet “be summoned” to save the day?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Would not be at all surprised Bob, Moyes now moaning about refs…think he could be under pressure from the money men, failure to hit the top four would devalue the club buy many hundreds of millions. And the library has become a Moyesoleum
    Recently we have seen bookings, penalties, sending offs against Utd players, if Fergie returns that all stops overnight. If that happens, the refs will be in a quandary in some games…..oilers or Fergie?

  • bob

    Mandy,
    Really liking the Moyesoleum! The (typically very pro-Manure) Guardian is having article after article now on the isolation of the one chosen (their snarky label). If the Don is actually going to Sunderland to assess the state of the realm. As his poor run at the helm reflects directly on he who appointed him, perhaps Moyes shouldn’t go into any restaurant without a trusted companion and ensuring that his back is to the wall. 🙂

  • bob

    Sorry: meant “Surely the Don is…” ( – not If the Don)

  • arse_or_brain

    interesting to hear on the radio a sports doctor saying modern pitches are so good now there is no give in them and this leads to more muscle injuries because of wear and tare, as our pitch has long been the best in the league is this another possible reason for our glut of injuries year on year or am i just clutching at straws

  • Pete

    I have banged on about this subject so much over the years that I have even managed to bore myself… but to reprise earlier posts and articles (not necessarily on Untold), but the statistics for us having more/longer injuries than any other club are as overwhelming as are the hostile refereeing numbers.

    To cut a long story short, below are what I believe to be possible reasons for our situation:

    1. Poor medical care: the injury situation got out of control around the time that the previous doctor and physio left.

    2. The Emirates pitch contains artificial fibres which will reduce yield. Have you ever seen a divot at our home stadium? Again, the advent of the new stadium is approximately coincident with the start of our deterioration with injuries.

    3. Less physically robust players than in days gone by.

    4. Lack of protection from referees.

    5. An intricate style of play that invites late tackles.

    6. Overtraining. There is a reason why we are usually stronger than the opposition in the last 15 minutes of games (I haven’t checked recently but look at goals for and against in the last 15 minutes of games and it is overwhelmingly in our favour). But there is a cost to this higher level of fitness – more injuries. I heard once that the stats (through someone involved in GPS tracking) show that our training sessions are the most intense in the country.

    7. Smaller squad size than our rivals meaning fewer rests, more injuries and therefore fewer rests and so on in a vicious circle.

    I think all of these have an impact to a greater or lesser degree but suspect that the overtraining is possibly the most significant.

  • Mike T

    Pete

    Very Interesting and thought provoking response.

    My inclination is that 6 and 7 are hugely significant.
    A few months ago a Dutch coach suggested as much and made particular reference to RVP.

    The make of the pitch is interesting but surely opposition players, not used to such pitches, would be more likely to be injured at TE?

    Another of course could be that whilst AW, when first came on the scheme, was a path leader but could it be his methods are now becoming a little dated?

  • Pete

    Mike T – Thanks for response.

    Not sure re opposition players – I don’t think anyone has ever looked at their incidence of injury at the Ems – but would be interesting. On the other hand we play on it up to 30 times a season so I would guess there must be some cumulative effect?

    Re AW being ahead/behind the curve. I would certainly think that other clubs have, at the least, narrowed the gap but we do employ significant numbers of people who are allegedly expert in exercise physiology? We have also pumped a vast amount of money into the new medical facilities at Colney!

    One area I find interesting is the perception that certain (European) teams seem to be even fitter than us (Dortmund and Barca spring to mind). If we are at the physiological limit then how can this be? Don’t really want to cast aspersions, but there have certainly been stories in Spain around rogue doctors (remember all that evidence being destroyed?).

  • Stuart

    Mike T,
    Good convo but I’d like to pick up on the bit about AW techniques being outdated.

    This one often comes up but to be honest, particularly amongst the AW out brigade, the reality of the situation is like Pete says in that we have expert contractors in for each intricate area of training and they themselves are up to date in the latest industry techniques infact I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they are pioneering many techniques. AW is very hands on whilst overseeing the operation on a whole managing each process and analysing the stats / kpi’s. The fact that each player has their own training plan tailored for them by a specialist explains how detailed and modern the process is really.

  • Pete

    Just taking this on a little bit, the distances players run in games – often at very high intensity (i.e. speed) – have increased dramatically over the last 10,20,30 years or so. If you doubt this look at a video of an old game and see how much slower it is! Nowadays, the hardest working players (typically the central midfielders although the full backs also put in a big shift) will run 11-12km during a game. Top level players back in the day (70s or 80s – someone will clarify I’m sure) may have 5km.

    This is due to better training, better diet, healthier lifestyle etc – but, even so, this improvement is huge compared to other sports and top footballers are approaching limits whereby incremental improvements are harder and harder to achieve.

    I have run half marathons (~20k) and 10ks (slowly…) and I find it astounding that someone can run that far, that fast over a 90 minute period, albeit with a 15 minute break!

    And players play just as many games as ever: the League season is now 38 games as compared to 42 and cup replays have been restricted – but now the Champions League is 13 games, plus qualifiers, if you get to the final. More international qualifiers too due to larger groups. Although at least we are unlikely to ever match our 70 game season in 1979/80!

  • Mike T

    As you sort of guessed beside Chelsea I also have an affinity non league with Weymouth ( sorry Tony) Common u Terras

    The really interesting thing is that at non league level hamstring injuries or ACL damage etc is rare and that is despite inferior facilities, little or no medical backup, no dieticians etc and of course the brutal physical nature of the game at non league is a world apart from the EPL
    Taking on board your comments Stuart perhaps its the exact reverse of AW approach being outdated but could it be he and the experts are now pushing your players too far?
    Irrespective if you track Arsenal injuries as I said earlier this season isn’t a blip you regularly have 5 or 6 players or more out whereas we, Chelsea, rarely (at the moment we uncharacteristically have 4 out ) have more than 2 or 3 and yes Arsenals facilities are up there so are ours but from my limited knowledge of the facilities seem to think our medical department is heavily focused on recovery and rehabilitation .
    As a total aside its odd that since Spurs opened their sparkly new training facility their injury list also seems to be growing at pace.

  • Mike T

    Just a quick post script to my last post

    Last season we, Chelsea, played 69 competitive games. The number of games being played at season end meant training was limited to the likes of warm downs yet, despite this I think I am right in saying that the only player that was unfit when we played our last game of the season, the EL final, was Eden Hazard

  • Pete

    Mike,

    What you write stacks up. I seriously doubt that Weymouth players run as far as premier league players. So, although they are less fit, they are not human peak capacity.

    With Chelsea, I would suggest that:

    1. Training may be more focused on season-long durability.
    2. The squad is larger than Arsenal’s with more rotation.
    3. The style of play is probably more pragmatic (not meant provocatively!)
    4. The Stamford Bridge pitch does not have artificial fibres (as far as I am aware?).

    As for Arsenal players, I tracked availability a couple of seasons ago and the AVERAGE avaibility for the 1st team squad was under 70%. So typically 7 or 8 players out at any one time. Things are not as bad this season!

  • Stuart

    Mike,

    I think you are right. The players are like finely tuned machines who have to perform at 100% for the whole game and there is little opportunity to think about the next game except in Cup circumstances where you are already qualified but even then, the players have something to prove to move themselves up the team sheet. Al though I’m no expert in these matters although all this talk of red zone etc does lead me to think there will be a high number of health complications for these players later in life – that’s if they make it that far of course.

  • Mick

    Here is the injury league from http://injuryleague.com/2014/01/arsenal-extend-lead-top-injury-league-image/?
    We are running away with it!!

  • Mike Collins

    Having seen my first Arsenal game in 1954 I still regard Manchester United as an ex second division club. Those who still criticise the Management and Board of AFC should remember that apart from Everton Supporters all other teams are fly by night upstarts. we have never had to watch lower division football.

  • Mike T

    Mike

    Not sure you are right

    I thought Everton have been relegated twice 1930 &1950 and I believe Arsenal played in the second division when first elected to the old FL and were relegated in 1913.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Arsenal has been in the top division since 1919.

    A quick look at the other clubs and I think the longest run after that is from Everton as they have been in the top division since 1954. Next is Liverpool since 1962.

  • Mike T

    Walter

    By my reckoning that means that of the current teams in England’s top division Arsenal are the only club that have not earned their place through promotion?

    Mike T stands back and waits for the abuse!

  • Pete

    Mike – I am afraid you are correct! Although Tony has written extensively on the precise circumstances arising at that time and will be able to give chapter and verse.

  • Tjekem

    Here is a really great article looking at the possible causes of our high incidence of injuries.

    http://www.arsenalreport.com/editorial/misfortune-myth-or-neglect-arsenals-injury-problems-investigated/

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    No we are the only team that has been promoted by election that has never lost their place.

    Other teams like Chelsea and Tottenham have been elected to the league without promotion on the field. But they couldn’t hold their place. Arsenal could do that for around 95 years and it seems we don’t have to be afraid to see it come to an end this season. 😉

  • Mike T

    Walter
    Not sure what you mean about Chelsea not being able to hold their place

    Chelsea were formed in 1905 and were elected to Div 2 of the football league. At no time have Chelsea ever been relegated to the third tier of English Football.
    I don’t know enough about Arsenal history but isn’t that the exact same position as Arsenal? Founded in 1886 and joined the FL without promotion in

  • WalterBroeckx

    So elected, just like Arsenal. Elected by the other teams

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for that link tjekem, very interesting and thoroughly researched.
    Now, we seem to play with less possession, and generally have high quality, experienced players, wonder if that will reduce the injuries? Think also recently, and since that article, wenger has introduced a lot more strength training with the help of fitness experts from the rugby world.
    Can well believe the post Gary Lewin thing, he was an experienced man and a bit loss, a bit like Utd losing fergie….and it was always going to take Lewin mk 2 a while to get on top of things.
    Agree also with the amout of tackles, on this site it falls under rotational fouling…..and lack of ref protection , another issue.
    Finally, a point raised by many on here, the material of our playing and training pitches, part synthetic, hard, weather proof, helps our passing game, but far less give than a normal pure grass surface. Wonder if the club need to look into this?

  • Tjekem

    No problem Mandy Dodd.

    I have seen some suggestion tat the Desso GrassMaster system which is at The Ems might be a contributing factor. However, the article did not provide enough real data to satisfy me. A large number of clubs in the UK use the system and their injuries are lower than ours.

    Desso GrassMaster is not an artificial pitch or anything approaching it. It consists of numerous long strands of a plastic material injected vertically into the ground thus enabling the grass roots to grow into and through them and in doing so it gives the root system a far greater mechanical strength, thus holding the pitch together. This is done because the soil will normally be replaced with a very high >90% sand content for drainage purposes and on its own there would be no mechanical strength. It can be equated to reinforced concrete having steel rebar running through it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    From my own experience by running on football pitches for a long period in my life and still running I have seen lots of different pitches. From sandy, muddy pitches to top class grass fields. And may I say that I had the pleasure of playing on the Emirates pitch myself for a few hours so I can tell the difference. I love when I can say that last sentence. 😉

    Grass is not grass is one thing I know. Sometimes you come on to a grass pitch that is very hard (and bad for the knees and ankles) and sometimes you step on a pitch and it feels like you are walking on a very soft material. I remember last summer in particular doing a match of a team of the second level in Belgium and from the moment you stepped on the grass it was as if you somehow floated above the surface. It felt light and it made you feel lighter.

    Now the Emirates pitch was (it was May after the season) in perfect condition and the grass was cut very short but not a sandy spot could be seen. It was green, green and green.

    Now I didn’t had any problems after the matches on the Emirates pitch apart from my back but that is always the case after every match no matter the circumstances. Tony had some back problems but he is clearly too old to run around on football pitches at his age. 😉
    One of our players needed surgery on his knee after the matches but it was a problem he already had before the match and just got worse when playing.

    To be honest I didn’t find or see any particular problem with the pitch while playing on it or afterwards. I also have heard that other clubs have used the same technology for their pitches but don’t know which clubs. But would be interesting to see if they also have higher injury levels compared to others.

  • Tjekem

    Walter,
    Here is a list of pitches in the world that currently use the same grass system that we use. Note the number of top English teams that use it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desso_GrassMaster

  • Pete

    @Tjekem – Thanks for this.

    @Walter – How much yield did you feel on the pitch? How hard was it compared to an ordinary grass pitch? I still argue that the lack of divots shows that something is not quite right and studs would be more likely to catch in the turf.

    Regarding knee injuries, I recall playing in a 5-a-side tournament at the old David Beckham centre (it’s still there but I think rebranded) near the Millenium Dome (O2) on 3G (maybe 4G) plastic grass – and not one but TWO players in our squad of 6 suffered serious knee injuries, one a full ACL rupture. Hey ho.