By Walter Broeckx
The kicking of Arsenal players that we have seen happening over the last weeks is starting to show some results. If we look at the injury league table we now have 11 players out.
Now one of them is Diaby so I will not count him as I will not count Oxlade-Chamberlain also. Because they have been out for a long time. Even though Oxlade-Chamberlain could start normal training again in one week.
But still that leaves us with 9 players who are out and who till recently were available. Worst situation is the left back position. We have two excellent left backs in Gibbs and Monreal. But alas the first one got injured against Newcastle.
And to make things worse Monreal was sick and still is not certain to have recovered enough to play a match. And to make it completely ridiculous the number 3 option at left back is Vermaelen and he also was sick and it is still very doubtful if he could make it.
Now if one of them (Vermaelen or Monreal) has recovered we should be fine at left back. Monreal my favourite option but Vermaelen has shown in the last years that when needed he can fill in over there as well. What could be another option is to move Sagna to left back and then we could put Jenkinson at right back.
Or of course we could keep Sagna at right back and play Flamini at left back. Now I know that Flamini played at left back in the year 2005-2006 more than a few times when the left back position was somehow bewitched and all and everyone playing left back got injured. Defensively this would be a good enough option as he can defend good enough. But of course we then would miss the width we have when you have a natural left footed player over there doing the overlaps.
Time will tell us if any of them makes it back from illness or not. Lets hope at least one of Vermaelen or Monreal does.
In midfield we have also a few doubtful players. Jack Wilshere is mentioned on Arsenal.com and in the press conference as being doubtful. He was heavily involved in some kicking with Poorbert being a close bystander but not intervening.
Also Rosicky has had a knock in Newcastle. Not a surprise if you saw all the unpunished kicking from Tioté in that match.
Up front we will probably be without Giroud. No real surprise if you saw the foul on him by Williamson. Oh, he got the ball was the general opinion… but going in like that in a frontal tackle is always a foul, never mind playing the ball or not. As it could cause an injury…and with Giroud being out injured you understand why it is a foul. Or should have been given a foul but well it was Poorbert in charge so no surprises from him.
And also Theo has a little bit of a shoulder problem. And he will face a lat fitness test on the last day of the year.
So we now have a bit of a dilemma on our hands. If the 4/5 doubtful players are passed fit and can play we should be fine for the Cardiff match. But then again playing a player already carrying a knock can cause further injury. And we do have another important match to play next Saturday. A match no Arsenal supporter want to lose. Not even if it would be for the Tollington league cup.
Not playing them against Cardiff and keeping them on the bench or rest them for that match on Saturday might be an option but then we have to make sure we don’t forget to win our match against Cardiff. And as we are top of the league I think the Cardiff match is more important at first. So the question will be: do we risk some players or not and might get a backlash next Saturday?
A difficult choice to make for any manager. My priority would be the league. So play whoever is fit enough against Cardiff and then see who is left to play the totts next Saturday. Even with the risk of being seriously handicapped for that match.
I have said it a few times before this season that the refs should be stricter and stop other teams from kicking us off the park. The last weeks against Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle we have seen too many dangerous attacks on our players going unpunished. I have warned before that this will cause injury to some players and not it is becoming visible. And I have said before that one of these days we will see another lunatic attack on one of our players resulting in another terrible and possible career threatening injury.
So my plea is to the refs out there: do what you should do and stop the kicking we see on the field (not just in Arsenal matches by the way – Eto’o on Henderson is also a fine example or Adam on Paulinho…). But the fact that the FA will not look at it again brings shivers to my spine. They don’t care that players get injured. Bread and circuses the Romans wanted before the Empire was lost to the Goths. It seems that the FA and the PL now wants blood and bones…maybe also before their empire comes crumbling down?
The Anniversary Files now contain over 2500 entries
- Arsenal v Leicester: comparing the form, and the goalscorers
- Arsenal v Leicester: how will the ref handle Leicester’s mulitple tackling?
- What sort of referee is Darren England? The statistics reveal some odd facts.
- Premier League 2022/23 – Matchweek 2 Refereeing matters
- Are we all really sure that no other club behaves like Barcelona?