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October 2016
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Norwich v Arsenal: Arsenal to field only nine players because of injury crisis

 By Bulldog Drummond
Yes it certainly is tough days for Arsenal with everyone including have the managerial staff, most of the ball boys and girls and quite a few of those people who stand in the gangways so you can’t get to and from your seat easily, all injured.
I know this to be true, because despite the fact of Untold re-publishing the chart of injuries regularly, the media still point out our number of players out, and forget about the rest of the universe.  In fact some have renamed our team Arsenal Injury Crisis.
But imagine for a moment that we had no injuries.  What might our team look like?
Here’s one version…
Alexis, Özil, Ramsey
Cazorla, Coquelin
Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin
Which suggests we have an injury crisis of one.
Of course the boss might have changed a few things around, and he might today, but we certainly could put out that team, today with the exception of Coquelin, for whom Flamini will come in.  On the beach we might have
Ospina, Macey, Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Campbell, Ox-Chamberlain, Iwobi
But it is always important to have a crisis if humanly possible, even if it involves taking the number of the normal first XI who are injured and multiply it by infinity.
Of course Mr Wenger could play Ramsey next to Flamini and put Cazorla on the right, but I suspect he’ll go for the minimal amount of changes possible.  Indeed the boss said,

“He [Ramsey] gives us a balance because we have Özil who is an offensive player, we have Sánchez, we have Giroud or Walcott and Cazorla so to balance a bit defensively, I use Ramsey on the right,” said Wenger. “That’s where I will certainly continue to use him, unless the game demands to attack.”

On the question of trying the Ramsey and Cazorla partnership Mr Wenger said, “Defensively, certainly, it’s a very adventurous one. He is more an offensive player. He is not a tactical defensive player. He is not afraid to tackle but he likes to go in the box and he has a good timing of runs and he wants the ball and he wants to go forward. If you take that out of him, and you say ‘Look, you have to sit now, and sit there and wait,’ you kill his strengths.

“I have seen that the turn of our results last season was when I went for a bit more stability and put Coquelin in there. Now I am a bit cautious on that front and I do not want to unbalance the team.”

The boss also talked about playing Calum Chambers alongside Santi Caz for the last part of the game on Tuesday, saying, “we are happy because he can do it.”   Certainly the club paid a lot for Chambers, and clearly Mr Wenger saw him as having a vital role in the future of the club – which includes an ability to play in a number of positions.   I suspect Flamini in the role for now, with Chambers as back up.

As for finding Coquelin II in January transfer window, he said, “It’s nearly impossible to find in January a top, top player,” he said.

Anyway, with Arsenal in reality having only two of the regulars of this season out injured, Norwich are in pretty much the same position with Jarvis and Tettey out.

Here’s the league table at the start of today’s games…

1 Manchester City 14 9 2 3 30 14 16 29
2 Leicester City 14 8 5 1 29 21 8 29
3 Manchester United 14 8 4 2 20 10 10 28
4 Arsenal 13 8 2 3 23 11 12 26
5 Tottenham Hotspur 13 6 6 1 24 11 13 24
6 Crystal Palace 14 7 1 6 19 14 5 22
7 Everton 14 5 6 3 27 19 8 21
8 West Ham United 13 6 3 4 24 20 4 21
9 Southampton 14 5 5 4 20 17 3 20
10 Liverpool 13 5 5 3 17 15 2 20
11 Watford 14 5 4 5 15 16 -1 19
12 Stoke City 14 5 4 5 11 14 -3 19
13 West Bromwich Albion 13 5 2 6 12 17 -5 17
14 Swansea City 13 3 5 5 14 18 -4 14
15 Chelsea 13 4 2 7 17 23 -6 14
16 Norwich City 13 3 3 7 16 24 -8 12
17 Sunderland 14 3 3 8 16 26 -10 12
18 Bournemouth 14 2 4 8 17 30 -13 10
19 Newcastle United 14 2 4 8 14 30 -16 10
20 Aston Villa 14 1 2 11 12 27 -15 5

 Norwich are vying with Chelsea for the coveted 15th position.

Non-sequita of the week (from the Independent)

Alex Neil: The Norwich City boss will know how tough a test this will be, but he’ll be hoping to get a result as they are only three points clear of the relegation zone. He’ll be boosted by the fact Arsenal lost to West Brom last week, so will know his team are capable of getting a result.

How does knowing that Arsenal were beaten by WBA mean that Norwich are capable of beating Arsenal?

Best not go there, so let’s move on.

Arsenal have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight matches against Norwich.  Now that is more like it.

The key to it all at the moment of course is the fact that we have key players everywhere on the pitch.  Koscielny is brilliant, Cech is solid and calm, Alexis is unlike any player I’ve seen before in a long, long time of watching football, Santi Cazorla, despite last week’s slip is sublime, and Mesut Özil… well what else can I say?   Seven assists and two goals in his last eight games.

Actually the Independent excelled itself and went even further than the non-sequita above, when talking about Mesut Özil in the paper yesterday.  “Expect to see him add to that when a Norwich side in poor form head to the capital.”

Now this should make an interesting game, what with Arsenal having taken a plane to Norfolk and Norwich in a horse and cart (or whatever the transport is in Norfolk these days) to go to London.   Presumably the score at the Ems and at Carrow Road will be 0-1 match abandoned when the home team fails to kick off after the first goal goes in (what with them not being there).

There will be more news of a slightly more sensible nature in the next piece shortly…

More anniversaries

29 November 1896: Joseph Powell died after breaking his arm in a match at Kettering, as a result of tetanus and blood poisoning.  After his death Arsenal played a friendly against Aston Villa on 7 December 1896. The proceeds of the match, £137 8s 6d (about £12000 in today’s money) were given to his widow who was pregnant with their second child.

29 November 1902:  On this day Arsenal organised an archery competition and raised about £1,200.  To put his into perspective, the total income from the 1901-02 season was £5600 largely because the board sold set about 80,000 at 6d each.    The police advised the club that they were organising a lottery, which was illegal, and  Arsenal’s manager, Harry Bradshaw, was charged, found guilty, and fined £5.   Woolwich Arsenal, though kept the proceeds from the “tournament”.

The Untold Books

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copyplease click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.

Forthcoming titles:

  • Danny Karbassiyoon – what’s it like?  By Danny Karbassiyoon
  • Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970.  By John Sowman.  Introduction by Bob Wilson.


11 comments to Norwich v Arsenal: Arsenal to field only nine players because of injury crisis

  • serge

    We have injured players.
    It’s not crisis, but some of them are key members of the squad and comparisons with other Premiership teams is completely irrelevant.
    Why on earth are you in denial?

  • Clockendrider

    We play against the other teams in the premiership. How is it not relevant to have a long list of players unavailable?

  • Arsenal injury challenges but certainly not crisis. If with the players fit and available we fail to beat Norwich silly then we should not blame injury. Good history. Up Gunners.

  • serge


    The comparisons are irrelevant.
    At any time of the season we will have X number of players injured no matter what the situation at other clubs is and it has no bearing on whether we have a crisis or just a situation, so why does Tony keep banging on about this?
    I must be missing something.

  • OlegYch

    serge, the point of the comparison is that no one says other teams have ‘injury crisis’ even if they are in worse situation
    somehow it is always Arsenal that the media like to proclaim to be in crisis

  • Ooops I, just joined the match and Sanchez injured Who else!? Danm

  • serge


    As if it even matters.
    God Almighty who cares what the media call it.
    Two more injuries today, so what will they call that: a catastrophe, a disaster, tsunami?

  • Norman14

    On Channel PIGMOB Sports this morning, the chosen wise ones from the media, (led on by a little turd) were discussing the depth of despair at Sports Direct United.

    Talking about Toon’s “Head Coach” Steve McLaren, the learned ones said that he is an excellen coach and should stick to coaching. They even offered a way out for the Berk with a Brolly by saying that he would make an excellent number 2 – with a good Manager appointed above him.

    Unfortunately, that is not the model that Mike Sports Direct works with – he works with a Head Coach!

    The media don’t care – they just say what they want!

  • Menace

    Serge – you must be missing a brain cell or two. Injuries are directly due to PGMO not protecting Arsenal players.

  • Menace, please don’t be rude to our readers. Some of them are quite nice people.

  • Menace

    Well Tony he did state ‘I must be missing something’ so I just obliged with some caustic assistance, particularly seeing that he feels you are banging on about injuries.