By Walter Broeckx
(written before the latest injury update just published on arsenal.com)
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:
|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.