Going into the Fulham match Arsenal had 8 players unavailable: Silvestre, Eduardo, Rosicky, Diaby, Fabgregas, Senderos, Bischoff and Vela. No other club had disruption on that scale.
Here’s the run down (figures from the Guardian on Saturday morning 23 August)
Aston Villa – doubtful 0 injured 2
Blackburn – doubtful 0, injured 0
Bolton Notlob – doubtful 1, injured 0
CSKA Fulham – doubtful 1, injured 2
Everton – Doubtful 2, injured 5
Fulham – doubtful 0, injured 3.
Hull – doubtful 1, injured 0.
Liverpool Weetabix – doubtful 2, injured 2, Olympics 2
Middlesborough – Doubtful 0, injured 0
Man City – Doubtful 1, injured 4
Manchester Bankrupt – Doubtful 1, injured 5
Newcastle – Doubtful 1, injured 3
Portsmouth – Doubtful 0, injured 5
Stoke – Doubtful 1, injured 0
Sunderland, Doubtful 1 injured 3
Tottenham, Doubtful 3, injured 1
West Ham – Doubtful 2, injured 5
West Brom – Doubtful 1 injured 0
Wigan – Doubtful 1 injured 1
Some injuries are of course just bad luck, but there is a tendency here – clubs that have a huge number of internationals and are already playing in Europe suffer early on. Clubs with neither have fewer injuries. Of course the rule is not absolute, but it is a guide.
Now you can think that Arsenal players will continue to suffer this very high level of injury, and so we need to buy more and more players, or you can think that over time the number of injuries will settle down closer to the average for the league.
If a manager buys too many players he gets players who get thoroughly annoyed and leave (Diarra is a perfect example). Because agents want players to leave they will encourage them, even when there are signs that waiting for a while will result in more games. If a manager doesn’t buy enough players then he gets the criticism that you can currently see on any blog today.
If Wenger had bought 2 more midfielders already maybe we would have beaten Fulham (although the problems were not just Denilson – they were also the problems of Van Persie, Gallas, Theo, and even at times Sagna.) But if he had bought those problems what would happen if, in 2 months, others are back.
I’m not really expecting to convince anyone through this, but rather to say, there is a logic in Wenger’s work – I don’t believe he is as mad as some bloggers think.
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