Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 32

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 32

By Dale Higginbottom

Blackpool away was always going to be a tricky game. Played at a point in the season when their players had played considerably fewer games when taking into account Carling and FA cups, Champions League and International fixtures. With United winning the day before it was essential to claim all three points and this would’ve been made a lot easier with a reduced injury list. Was it reduced? Let’s have a look.

Blackpool Vs Arsenal

Arsenal (8 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Fabianski (10), Szczesny (3), Almunia (18)
  • Defence – Vermaelen (28), Djourou (4), Sagna (2)
  • Midfield – Song (4), Denilson (7)
  • Attack – No injuries reported

Additional issues: Frimpong returned to fitness, playing midweek for the reserves. He’s now in the squad from the Dallas Cup so he finally makes it off our injury list.. Ramsey and Gibbs returned to the squad, both coming on in the second half. Walcott was a doubt before the game but started on the bench and also came on as a second half substitute.

Tottenham Vs Stoke

Tottenham (7 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported.
  • Defence – King (25), Woodgate (5), Hutton (1)
  • Midfield – Palacios (4), Pienaar (2), Lennon (4), Kranjcar (3)

Additional issues: Gallas started on the bench, coming on in thee 89th minute. Corluka was a doubt but played the whole game.

Man Utd Vs Fulham

Man Utd (4 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Lindegaard (3)
  • Defence – Rafael (5)
  • Midfield – Hargreaves (31), Fletcher (3)
  • Attack – No injuries reported.

Additional issues: Brown and O’Shea returned to the squad after injuries, O’Shea played the whole game, and Brown was an unused substitute.

Chelsea Vs Wigan

Chelsea (1 injury)

  • Goalkeeper, midfield, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Bosingwa (10)

Additional issues: Both Alex and Benayoun returned to the Chelsea squad, both coming on in the second half.

Liverpool Vs Man City

Liverpool (5 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Kelly (4), Agger (15), Johnson (5), Kyrgiakos (2)
  • Midfield – Gerrard (7)

Additional issues: Aurelio and Shelvey returned to the squad, the former starting and playing the whole game, the latter was an unused substitute.

Man City (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Given (5)
  • Defence – Boateng (8), Richards (9)
  • Midfield, attack – No injuries reported.

Additional issues: Tevez picked up an early injury and was forced off after just 16 minutes.

Eight injuries again, that’s something to really be worried about, particularly after I reported last week that we perform pretty poorly when we have to deal with more than 7 players missing.

With arguably 4 of our first choice back 5 unavailable, Song missing and down to goalkeeper number 4, it’s a particularly great effort that we got this tough away win in the bag.

United and Spurs both came through to claim three points in their games. Spurs have further injury issues and Champions League exploits could still end up hurting their final push for fourth in the league. United on the other hand appear to be getting players back and only recorded four injuries this game. Whether or not the fixture congestion in the next two weeks will have any further impact on injuries and results remains to be seen.

In stark contrast to our list is Chelsea’s. It looked, prior to the game that absolutely no-one would be reported as injured but it seems that Bosingwa was unavailable through illness. John Terry didn’t play but he was rested for the Champions League game.

It was a fantastic win for Liverpool on Monday night. City lost Tevez to injury early in the first half and as we’ve noted throughout this season, they can’t play without him so Liverpool finished them off with relative ease. Liverpool are our next opponents so this result is a little bit of a concern, but with Gerrard out for the season I think we’ll be pretty confident of winning the midfield battle, both in the middle and on the wings.

Ok, now with the crocked list still quite long and just seven games left of the season, what would be a realistic expectation for this current list of players for the remaining games? We’re likely to still pick up more injuries in the run-in and hopefully these can be minimal but can we expect to see anyone else return in that time?

Fabianski – Out for season

Szczesny – Back in training this week and was in-line for a return by 1st May but reports this week say this could be sooner

Almunia – Injury period unknown, reported as “major doubt”

Vermaelen – Out for season

Djourou – Also back in training this week, was expected to return by 1st May but again, could return sooner

Sagna – Small knee injury, likely to return against Liverpool

Song – Small knee injury, also likely to return against Liverpool

Denilson – Toe injury that is not thought to be a major concern, should return to the squad within the next week or two.

The goalkeeping situation is a big concern at the moment since Almunia’s last minute withdrawal on Sunday however, with Szczesny close to return it may not be a big deal so long as Crazy Jens can see out the next couple of games.

By the weekend we could be back to an injury list of just 5 (Fabianski, Szczesny, Almunia, Vermaelen and Djourou) or maybe better. A week between fixtures is really helping with longer rest periods, fewer match minutes and greater tactical focus. United now have four games in eleven days, the last two of which are league fixtures. Newcastle away shortly after the cup semi-final could be dropped points and a massive boost ahead of our game in-hand against the Tiny Totts and the home game against United.

Maybe we’ll also benefit from the fact that we’ve been through a spell where players have rested having been sidelined through injury. A returning Walcott will help a tiring Nasri or Arshavin who’ve both played most of the season and Fabregas and Diaby can lift some of the pressure and workload off the shoulders of Wilshere and Song.

What is for certain is that the next two weeks will shape our season and at the moment it’s still looking quite promising and only the the World’s Greatest Pessimist would completely rule us out at this stage.

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

Stan Kroneke and the takeover

8 Replies to “Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 32”

  1. Just one big correction – ManU have to week 2 games in a week for the till 2nd week of May bcoz they have uefa champions league semifinals which is last week of april and 1st week of May. To be precise, they hav 7 games in next 21 days.

  2. The big returnee for me is Szcznesy. If we get him back I’ll be a lot more confident for the run-in

  3. Interesting news on the BBC. They have reported that Vermaelen is set to play in a couple of reserve friendlies before the end of the season. It might be a bit too soon for him to play in the first team but should we get a defensive crisis (fingers crossed we won’t) then he might be there to be called upon.

  4. Thanks for another great job Dale. And lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that Vermaelen if needed could still make it for a few games? I had heard those rumours also that he suddenly had been training without any more pain and things started to look better after all.
    But I didn’t wanted to mention this not to raise false hope. But now that the BBC is reporting it, there could be some truth in it. Let’s hope so.

  5. Was it really that many on the weekend??? Jesus we almost had 11 out for Blackpool! Not sure how that would have fit into those calibrations of yours Dale, but it certainly puts the performance and result into perspective.

    Fantastic reading as per usual. I am really loving these injury analyses as we head into the ‘business end’ (rubbish phrase) of the season. Massive game this weekend, I’ll be looking towards VP.

  6. ^ Scratch that stupid comment of mine above.

    If ‘liver at home’ is a massive game then surely ‘tots away’ is also a massive game. But then again, after those two mmmmmmmassive games we have just 5 games left (including the small task of ‘dumping Man_Re at home’). So surely all 5 of them will be ‘massive’ in their own intsy, wintsy, tiny little way. Therefore, any use of ‘massiveness’ in regards to any particular game is…well, stupid I think. Apologies.

Comments are closed.