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October 2016
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Is the injury crisis slowly going away?

By Walter Broeckx

(written before the latest injury update just published on

If we take a look at the current injury situation as we can find it on the website injury league we can see that Arsenal for the moment have 6 players out with injuries. The full table with their expected return date looks like this:

Name Injury Expected return
Alexis Sanchez Hamstring 3 days
Tomas Rosicky Knee injury 3 weeks
Danny Welbeck Knee injury 4 weeks
Jack Wilshere Calf/shin injury 5 weeks
Francis Coquelin MCL Knee ligament injury 7 weeks
Santi Cazorla Knee injury 8 weeks


Now apart from the fact that 5 of these 6 players are full internationals for their country and that gives an indication that they are valuable players the situation isn’t as bad as it looked a few weeks ago.

Alexis Sanchez might play against Sunderland if Wenger wants to give him match time. Or will he hold him back a little bit and bring him slowly. I can imagine that Alexis himself only wants one thing: play, play and play.

The good thing about his injury is that it hasn’t cost us much points wise, we managed to qualify for the CL even without him. In a way it has shown that the current squad can even manage to play and win without him. And for him it means that he finally has got a good rest and should be ready now to play for the rest of the season.

Of course we missed him at times because against parked busses he is one of those players that can bring something extra with his amazing dribbles and skills to go past a few players and create havoc in the penalty area of the opponents.

A player that according to some images has also returned to the group training is Rosicky. But his return date is still set at 3 weeks. I can imagine that after being out for so long it will take his older body a bit more time to recover and to get to full match fitness. A pity as I would have loved to see him play against Sunderland in the FA cup as he could be an option to give Özil some rest.

It seems (if we can believe the injury league website) that from then on we will have one player back each week. Welbeck next on their list. Another attacking option added to the list if he is back. He might give Giroud a little bit more breathing space from the end of January. And he might be useful to play against Barcelona. Using the pace of Welbeck, Alexis and Walcott against Barcelona? Sure would be an interesting line up that may force Barcelona to be a little bit careful as they might be open for a few fast counters with them on the pitch and with Özil as the pass master behind them…

Then we have to keep our fingers crossed that Jack Wilshere will be back. And hope he doesn’t get kicked to pieces again under the guidance of our non-looking referees. Just imagine that maybe for once the FA will ask the PGMO that their refs will be extra alert on banning dangerous tackles as it might injure the players of the English team. Welbeck and Wilshere both being kicked out of the field by bad tackles in the last two seasons being prime examples.

And after that we are entering late February we can await the return of two of the most valuable players in the team this season. Coquelin and Santi Cazorla both could be back at the end of February. Now I am aware of the rumours that Coquelin is “running” again. And if that would be the case (6 weeks after his injury which seems possible) it could be that he might be back earlier than the 7 weeks prognosis. Of course running is one thing, twisting and turning and tackling is something else.

One of the best things however is Santi Cazorla. At first people said he would be out for the rest of the season after needing surgery but now seeing that he might be back at end of February or the start of March seems great news. Santi is one of those players who has had only a few injuries. In fact his injury record is amazing. Amazing in the sense that he has only been injured 1 (once) before his current injury when at Arsenal. 1 injury to his foot/ankle in 2013. And he has been sick in the season 2014. And that is it.

So he does seems to have a very strong body for such a little player who has to fight against those big players week in week out. The kicking didn’t seem to affect him a lot till a few months ago when he knackered his knee.

So the good thing about the Arsenal injury crisis that we heard about in November seems not to have affected us too much in our league form (being top of the league after such a ‘crisis’ looks rather fine to me), some players have stepped it up (Campbell) and taken big step forwards, and the injured players had a good rest and had time to let their body recover from the strains that they are under with playing matches for club and country at a too high rhythm.

So most of the players that are out injured will add extra bodies to the squad and will bring something extra to the team when it becomes money time in the PL. In a way this crisis may bring more good at the end of the season than it did us harm in the middle of the season.

22 comments to Is the injury crisis slowly going away?

  • Usama Zaka

    Currently Liverpool are the team with the most injuries – 12. With Ibe and Toure the latest ones with hamstring issues.

    And Liverpool being the darling of the English media are nowhere talked in the news about their training methods, pitches, Klopp’s training regime or medical staff like they do with Arsenal.

  • ithi

    Apparently Alexis is not back for Sunderland. Hopefully back for Liverpool! though.

  • Mark

    I kinda see your point but at the same time I can’t because we have a shocking run of fixtures coming up before any of these players return we could quite easily be out of most competitions by the time they start coming back!

  • Tom

    Unfortunately almost all of our injuries are of the hamstring and knee kind, and pinpointing the return date from either is more tricky than some others.

    There’s no bulletproof method of testing one’s hamstring in training or physio’s office to guarantee there will be no recurring problem soon after.

    Costa was declared fit from his hamstring problem last season and reagrivated it ten minutes into his reintroduction into the Chelsea line up.

    The in game conditions and effort required to perform at certain level can’t be duplicated in training, and that’s why it’s always better to try to avoid these pesky hamstring pulls whenever possible.

    Some people said Sanchez and Arsenal weren’t really going to suffer from his injury because he needed rest anyways and that kinda took it out of Arsene Wenger’s hand when it came to deciding to rest him or not.

    This was of course one of the more silly statements one could make if you know how tricky hamstring pulls can get.

    Also, people who said we couldn’t afford to rest him , were proved dead wrong since his absence didn’t result in our slide town the league’s tables either.

    Fingers crossed, Sanchez will be given enough time( more rather than less) even if it means he misses a few more games.

  • Tom

    Usama Zaka
    There’s no doubt that the recent slew Od hamstring problems at Liverpool is down to Klop’ training methods and style of play.

    Taking over a club mid season and introducing a more taxing fitness regime was always going to be risky and Klopp is paying the price.

    Whether his style of high press is going to be feasible in the PL remains to be seen, but the ground work for it needs to be laid in preseason and not mid term.

  • nicky

    Walter, I only wish I could share the extreme optimism which permeates this latest post of yours.
    If the anticipated return dates of our injured are correct, in my view the signing of new blood during the January Window is of vital importance if we are to continue the charge towards the EPL title.
    Two points need special mention.
    1. Using the pace of Alexis, Welbeck and Walcott against Barcelona is fine on paper but the first leg is on the 23rd of February, about 6 weeks away. All three need to be at 100% pace by then. Two are still injured and Walcott has not yet fully recovered.
    2. I fear for the return of Wilshere. The way he plays, coupled with the blatant refusal of referees to protect our ball players, will result in further injuries, sooner rather than later.
    I have always felt that our success in all competitions this season will depend on (a)a
    less than average injury list, and (b) the strengthening of certain positions on the field
    Up to now I see no reason to feel optimism about (a).

  • fabrechenko

    It’s quite amazing that we’re still maintaining our drive even without adding a single outfield player in the last transfer window, coupled with the major injuries to our key players.

  • Ali

    I once told a liverpool fan that klopp’s high pressing is not so suitable in epl congested fixtures
    with 12 players out and five games to go this january
    expect a whole matchday squad injured by feb
    i guess we all know how tricky hamstring injuries are

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Arteta played 45 minutes for the U21s earlier in the week as part of his recovery programme, I’m sure that the same approach will be taken with Rosicky and most of the other returnees when they are ready. Running first then first team training then U21 game time before re-integrating into the first team squad.
    Alexis will probably take a different approach – a hearty breakfast, quick run across the Atlantic, pedal powered plane across America, swim the Pacific and then space hopper across Asia and Europe before pasta at the training ground before the game!

  • Mandy Dodd

    just as I never believe a transfer until it is on the official site, unfortunately, history has taught me to never quite believe a player is back until I see him on the pitch, but hopefully, these dates will prove correct or thereabouts and things do ease up on the injury front.
    But, well played those who have covered and altered formations to cover, those are some seriously good, and important players, yet we still sit top.

    Seems our Dutch fitness guru friend is concentrating his contempt on Liverpool at the moment….

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, I’m pretty certain one of Klopps players said that because of the busy period over Xmas/NY they’d done very little training, it had pretty much been all recuperation days. Certainly little different from anything they’d done under Brenda Rogers.

  • Gord


    That is quite the warmup you have for Alexis.


    And very fitting.

    Getting prodded by Tom, I find:

    > Conclusion: Time to walk pain-free and previous hamstring injury are predictors of time to return to competition and recurrence, respectively, and should be included in a clinical assessment to aid in prognosis.

    This is a study of Aussie rugby players, and the newest reference in the paper is 2006. So, not that old a paper.

  • Gord

    Lawro was out predicting things again. His prediction for Gunners in the FA Cup are:

    Birmingham 2-1
    West Ham 1-2 Wolves
    Arsenal 2-0
    Ipswich 2-0

    Which has all the Gunners winning, except for Carl at West Ham. Martinez might be fit to play for goal for Wolves as I understand things.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Well that Spanish train still runs between,
    Guadalquivir and old Seville,
    And at dead of night the whistle blows,
    And people fear she’s running still…
    And far away in some recess
    The Lord and the Devil are now playing chess,
    The Devil still cheats and wins more souls,
    And as for the Lord, well, he’s just doing his best…
    – Chris de Burgh (Spanish Train, 1975)

    I’d like to think that Good always wins but…

  • GoingGoingGooner

    ooops wrong article

  • Tom

    January 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm
    “Tom, I’m pretty certain one of Klopps players said that because of the busy period over Xmas/NY they’d done very little training, it had pretty much been all recuperation days. Certainly little different from anything they’d done under Brenda Rogers.”

    @ Andy Mack

    I watched all Liverpool games under Klopp and there are some obvious differences between Rodgers’ Liverpool and the one under Klopp.

    Players do more running by pressing higher up the pitch and by closing people down, more sprints.

    The stats clearly support these observations.
    Liverpool run under Klopp on average 6 kilometers more per game than under Rodgers, and the number of sprints went up from 474 per game under Rodgers, to 548 under Klopp.

    If an average PL club runs about 80 kilometers per game , an increase of 6 kilometers, or 7.5% is quite noticeable.
    But it’s the increase in sprints that’s the biggest difference maker , since it’s the deceleration which puts the enormous strain on players’ hamstrings.

    The increase of 15% in sprints without the proper base of having the adequate pre season , is simply astonishing.

    The topic of player fitness isn’t really as complicated as some would make you believe.

    When Klopp took over at Liverpool, his squad was already short of five starters who had been out with various injuries, from short term( Firmino, Benteke), to season long( Danny Ings).

    Then he has increased the teams’ work load on what was already a depleted squad of players, right before the most taxing period of the PL season – something, he was very unfamiliar with.

    This was very predictable.

  • Going Going, yes the wrong article but I still enjoyed it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Andrew C – January 7, 2016 at 6:53 pm – Your take on Alexis ‘ fitness regime may not be outrageous at all . I have heard a rumour that a tweet meant for AW was sent wrongly to a reporter by Tim Peake , the British astronaut , who apparently has a habit of mis -dialing from space ( ) .

    Anyway , in his tweet , he professes his astonishment in finding out that the speeding object he saw from orbit moving over the Atacama desert , was none other than Alexis Sanchez ,making his way back to England from Chile , after recovering from his injury .
    The problem was he was running southwards , until he was intercepted by the Elite Chilean Alien Border Patrol , who then redirected him in the right direction.

    AW , was livid when he heard this and has ordered him to complete rest till needed.
    To be comtinued …..

  • Barry L

    My guess is most of the injured will be back by the time of the Manure away game at the end of Feb.
    We have three tough games coming up – Liverfool and Stoke away, and Chelski at home – we need minimum 5 points from these games.
    The big issue we have is Ozil, Giroud and Ramsey are showing clear signs of tiredness having played non-stop for some weeks, and they all need at least one game rest in the next 2-3 weeks. Otherwise they will get hamstring or groin injuries and join the injured list.
    I would rest Ozil and Giroud from Sunderland game and play Walcott and Campbell up front.
    In those two away games I would play Calum Chambers and Flamini in front of the back 4, which would give Ramsey a chance of a break. I would also play Gabriel in both the away games.
    Anyone we sign in January window will be welcome, but unlikely to make any real impact for 2-3 weeks at least.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Tom, some interesting stuff.
    As for kms run, I have read that Harry Kane regularly does 11/12- and recently got up to 13.
    Any ideas how they are keeping him fit….and indeed most of that team fit?
    I predict they will run out of steam, as they seem to at the end of games…but compared with the other top teams injuries this year, Poch and staff are either miracle workers, or….better not even say it on here…

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, yes different game but according to the players very low level training over the busy period which is when the recent batch of injuries happened. So in game could be the reason (probably) but it’s unlikely training is the reason for these injuries. Obviously the previous ones and the next batch could be more involved with training.
    I read somewhere that Klopp likes to do double sessions but hasn’t done any yet (since being here), so that’s one to watch out for as well…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Could some of the injuries be attributed to non football related straining during the Christmas / New Year period , where they is much stress and strain in cutting ,putting up and decorating Christmas trees ; last minute dashing around to buy presents while fighting out with the like mined shoppers , looking for choice turkeys etc. And in the crowded streets during the new year countdown.
    Not to mentioned the office / club parties themselves , where I have heard that many facial injuries are incurred under the mistletoe and when copping an unwanted feel or two ! And lets not even start on the potential injuries that come with the over enthusiastic imbibing of spirits !

    The injuries incurred also by the Santas must be considered – here again , the copping a feel angle should be highlighted . Kids , wives , WAGS, Santarinas , Elves and other of Santa’s little helpers could regale us with
    their experiences !

    And I believe in western countries , the custom of returning of unappreciated Christmas gifts to the stores in exchange for other ‘more practical’ items has resulted in many injuries too.

    So when the players report back , keep an weary eye on the nature of the injury. The Arsenal players injuries , I’m glad to inform you ,are of the usual nature – being kicked / choked /trampled / elbowed /poked/ prodded by the opposition , as well as getting shoved into tv pits and advertising hoardings .

    You know , same old , same old !