The players return: who’s fit and who’s out for Wednesday

By Dr Billy “The Dog” McGraw.   Physician to anyone who wants an opinion.

Where are we on the injury front?  I must admit it is getting a bit confusing all round, as I found in a debate yesterday where two of us struggled to complete the full set of details on who is in and who isn’t.  So here’s the best chart I can do so far…

Long term injuries

  • Mesut Ozil
  • Mathieu Debuchy
  • Olivier Giroud – although poised to come back sooner than we thought.  December?

Medium term

  • Laurent Koscielny (situation unclear)
  • David Ospina (situation unclear)

Koscielny’s injury is a self-reporting one – he says his Achilles is hurting but he’s not in a position for the medics to say this date or that date for a recovery time.

What Laurent appears to have is Achilles tendonitis = which is an inflammation and is typically short-lived.   But it can turn into something worse, (Achilles tendonosis) if not handled properly.  However it shouldn’t go that way, as long as he’s careful.

It is what we doctors call an “overuse” disorder, caused by a repetitive activity involving the Achilles tendon – which of course is what footballers get.  Ongoing stress on the tendon means the body can’t repair the tissue, the structure of the tendon is then altered, and there is pain, which is nature’s way of telling you to stop running around and sit down.

So Laurent could be back any time – he just has to wait until it stops hurting.

Ospina’s situation is not clear, but he will not be playing against Anderlecht it seems.  Which means Martinez in goal, and maybe Ryan Huddart of the under 21s on the bench.

Short term

  • Yaya Sanogo – should be ready any time soon.
  • Isaac Hayden – an ankle injury, but not details available.

Recovering and just on ready

  • Theo Walcott – everything depends on how his body reacts after a long lay off, and the most likely use of Theo for a while is going to be coming on as a sub in a game where he is not going to be targeted for a kicking.

Theo played 45 minutes for the Under-21s against Blackburn – his first game in nine months after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.  His view was “I got through fine. I need to be patient with myself. It is important to recover. I need to be patient. The manager will choose to play me when he wants – the injury needs to be managed as well.”

  • Serge Gnabry – the situation is the same as for Theo, except that as a younger player he can try to do too much too quickly and hurt himself.  Youngsters showing that they are the players that the team has been missing all this time, can do themselves more harm because of that lack of psychological adjustment.

Both players need to be brought in according to their mental and physical condition.

  • Abou Diaby also played 67 minutes in the under 21 game, where he has been slowly building up his strength.  It is hard to know when he will be ready for a return to the first team.

Back and ready

  • Aaron Ramsey
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Nacho Monreal
  • Tomas Rosicky


  • Jack Wilshere.  It looked like a self-destructive lunge against Hull that sent him straight down the tunnel, but it seems he’s ok, so could well play against Anderlecht – and certainly for next weekend.


  • Hector Bellerin – what a superb player to have coming through from the youth team.  Absolutely magnificent potential.  What he needs is games, and with this injury run on-going I guess he is going to get them.

Overall this means we are without

  • Mesut Ozil
  • Mathieu Debuchy
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Laurent Koscielny
  • David Ospina
  • Yaya Sanogo
  • Isaac Hayden

With the bottom four on the list due back any time soon.

There’s an index of articles on the home page




43 Replies to “The players return: who’s fit and who’s out for Wednesday”

  1. Billy saved me from writing an article. 😉

    So as we talk about medical things I think it is important to say something positive. For the first time in years probably.

    We all know the ‘he will be out for 3-4 weeks’ talk from Wenger. And then our reaction would be: oh it will then probably be 2 months and might even turn in to 3 months.

    On 27 September we lost two players with a muscular injury and to my big surprise both have been included already against Hull and Ramsey even playing half an hour.

    I think this is the first time in as long as I can remember that players came back before or right on time with how it was first mentioned.

    Whenever it takes longer to come back from injury some people blame this on Wenger. I think it is down to first of all the player and his healing ability which is also different from person to person. Then to the medical staff for treating it wrong/badly. And I don’t think Wenger has a lot to do with it. If a player is passed fit by the doctor he can use them or the medical staff has to say how he can use them and in what way.

    But now two players have come back earlier or right on time if you want (Ramsey is earlier if I remember correct) so I would take this chance to give credit for whoever managed to get them back so quickly.

  2. Michael, maybe if she did people could put her an Arsenal shirt on and take away her ticket or press card and send her to the stadium so she can spend a night in a Brussels “cachot”. 😉

  3. Slightly off topic.

    Can you explain how Costa can still play with a ‘hamstring’ injury.

    To my mind this is total fabrication.

  4. Why don’t she travel? or because she managed to ask our stubborn manager the valid question of who is to blame for our failure to win matches? Come on you have got to be kidding right there!

  5. Its certainly been a bad year for injuries. We know the tactics teams use against us, aided by the PGMOL is a large part to blame for some of these injuries. This year, the WC has not helped eitherr
    However, I have often wondered if something else going on. Sports injuries are not my field- but I know someone well who is pretty well versed on this subject so I had a quick word. All complete conjecture I will admit. Lets say we had training methods designed to especially enhance stamina and fitness, and perhaps fast playing surfaces….of which we knew could risk a limited number of injuries …a calculated risk reward scenario, not as some are describing as dinosaur medics.
    But, this, along with the tactics of other teams and the leniency of the PGMOL eventually pushed the level of injuries into the unacceptable. Possible fixes- somehow change what can be successful tactics used against us, change the PGMOL…or change what we have control of ie training methods, body mass, muscle density, flexibility, recovery, perhaps even training surfaces. Maybe bring in a new fitness guru to help out. The best scenario- always change what you can control- which rules out other teams, and for now, the PGMOL. But the problem is, players bodies have over time adjusted, structured and aligned to previous methods, changing even the slightest things in such finely trained athletes can cause problems and injuries. Is it possible Wenger decided to bite the bullet, make these changes, knowing there would be short term pain? Is it possible this is why he has packed the squad with attacking MFs- the main recipients of these injuries?
    I know this doesnt explain all the injuries- new players like Debuchy for starters, but there have been changes afoot behind the scenes in tactics, systems…and perhaps fitness regimes. Have a very strong feeling this team is going to evolve hugely this season, might not always look too clever for now, but wait and see!

  6. Hardly gentlemanly to call a woman a bitch. She asked a valid question and Wenger got a bit huffy. Nothing wrong with that. If Wenger wants to outwit his critics he can do so by winning games and Anderlecht look fairly soft even though we are away. The team usually show their mettle after a disappointing result. A good win and we can get on track again in the league too though any team that get thumped 8-0 will have something to prove and Sunderland have rarely collapsed at home to us. But if we can win these two upcoming fixtures it could give us the confidence to go on a winning streak.

  7. @Mandy. I’m with you, I feel the ref’s have a huge part to play in the amount of injuries we suffer.

  8. What’s with the attacks on the BBC reporter this morning? Grow up, she doesn’t deserve that sort of treatment for doing her job in the post match interview.

  9. @miachel why is she a bitch? She asked perfectly honest questions and wenger obviously couldn’t handle them. Nothing wrong with the questioning

  10. Who else has seen the long version of the MOTD interview? Wenger: ‘We concede too many goals’ Reporter: ‘Do you understand the calls for a DM and CB?’ Wenger: ‘I understand everything’ Then later… Wenger: ‘It wasn’t due to a lack of DM and CB’ Reporter: ‘But you said you concede too many goals.’ Wenger: ‘Other teams have bought many defenders and still concede goals’. So there you have it. Other teams have problems too, so why bother with ours. Apart from that, some good analysis by Kev and some good comments. Don’t know if falling out of the top 4 would see Wenger go, unless the lack of CL made it feel pointless to him. If he wanted to carry on he could just make up the profit deficit by selling a couple of our ‘star names’. Kroenke would be happy with AFC becoming a midtable club that make a profit that way. Fans not turning up would make a big difference as TV doesn’t want empty stadiums on their cameras and the issues that have led to that would be highlighted by the media. It’s not realistic to think that will happen however as AFC have such an enormous ‘catchment area’ (global) so can fill up that stadium with people there for the ‘matchday experience’, on pitch performance and result secondary – just for as many, support for Wenger has become decoupled from performances and results. They continue to support him for partly non-footballing reasons e.g. he’s been there a long time, it would remind them that time is passing if he went, he’s a different type of bloke to other managers etc. Once you bring in these sorts of reasons, there are then no circumstances under which they’d think he should go. – 

  11. Wenger handled the questions as well as could be expected after a disappointing result. They were leading questions with a huge negative slant. He didn’t appreciate the questions whereas she kept at it like a spoiled little girl with no respect. If she was “just doing her job” she should show respect for someone else who was also ‘just doing his job’. I am sure that Arsene Wenger’s terms of employment do not include being attacked by a journalist with some sort of agenda.

  12. Thanks for the update Doc!!

    Looking forward to a super game by the boys tomorrow evening!!!

    @bob mac
    October 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

    He has a PigRope as opposed to a hamstring I guess 😉

  13. We are waiting for the boss press conference later today to know the details of which Gunners will be available for this Anderlecht game. And it could be good news whichever. Martinez won’t fail to perform well for the Gunners. He shouldn’t. But our 2 defensive midfielders must cover our defense line properly. So that our suspect CBs are not exposed to expose Martinez. I suggest the boss should start Flamini and Ajayi as our new DMs for this game. While Sanchez, Cazola, Oxlade and Campbell should start as our new creative and attacking midfielders for the purpose of this match. Welbeck is our main striker of course. If Akpom is fit and in form, he should be used as cover for Welbeck. My start: Martinez… Bellerin… Mertesacker… Chambers… Gibbs. Flamini… Ajayi. Sanchez… Cazola… Oxlade… Campbell. Welbeck. 4-2 3-1 is my favoured formation for this game with Sanchez running from midfield to join Welbeck in the attack. My bench: Huddart… Ramsey… Akpom… Monreal… Wilshere… Coquelin… Podolski. The boss should please not start the Gunners that have just been healed from injuries. They may not yet be at full fit to start this game and could struggle to cope with pace and the intensity of the match. Besides, we want to collect all the 3 points to boost our standing on the CL table. The boss should please start the Gunners that are fully fit an in form to give us all the 3 points at stake.

  14. Her questions betrayed either a negative agenda or a poor understanding of football

    We scored 2 good goals. That we conceded 2 goals was the problem. The first goal was a problem because an extremely obvious foul was not called. The second goal was conceded because of mistakes due to lack of concentration. Mertesacker was poorly positioned for the cross. How having a different holding midfielder or another central defender would have made a difference is totally unclear. The reporter is simply following a script. She assumes much.

  15. Off topic…but what the hell 🙂

    October 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    She could have also asked another question instead of the same one several times (worded differently), e.g. What are you thoughts on Hulls’ first goal and the build up to it??…but I guess thats not within the perimeters of their (her employers’ agenda)!

  16. Apo,we were only 7 point off the leader at the end of last season and we could all see that the problems that are likely to haunt us, other than the usual injury problems, were defence and lack of a quality DM. We’re always so close. For Liverpool other than last season they are not usually that close. For Man Utd other than last season they are either winning it or top 2 or 3. Spurs and Everton etc are hit and miss and Chelsea and Man City are obvious contenders but we are always just so close. It’s infuriating. 

  17. We would do ourselves a tremendous favour by letting go of the people who poison our spirit. ― Steve Maraboli .

    ( Or in the case of UA , Tony and Walter ‘protecting’ our sanity by constantly blocking the poison called the AAAA !)

  18. Everyone who thinks Wenger was asked some ‘ loaded questions’ by a biased reporter with an agenda, should perhaps give a listen to questions reporters asked the media darling , Harry Redknapp.

    In both cases questions were fair and in both cases the managers didn’t handle themselves as well as they could’ve.

    Frustration from not getting a desired result and perhaps a bit of entitlement on the part of Wenger and Redknapp that comes from seniority and success.

    Now , you can’t have it both ways. Complaining on one hand that ‘lazy’ reporters don’t ask hard but fair question, and then promptly complain when they do.

    Now let’s just hope they ask equally hard questions of PGMOL and the FA.

  19. Very funny, Dr Billy “The Dog” McGraw, about this thing of Tendonosis, tendonisis! But, I had hoped to see Isaac Hayden over the weekend, poor chap!Young Martinez is showy, a bit, but will turn out to be a very good goalee. I would also like to see Bellerin play tomorrow, Chambers in defence and Monreal back to the beach.The real change I would like to see is a Ramires-like player coming into midfield. And The Ox fits that profile, if he plays in that role for a bit, Arsenal will start to keep clean sheets, win games.

  20. I don’t think goalkeeping will be the reason we win or lose. Martinez is turning into a solid keeper.

  21. @GoingGoingGooner
    October 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t think Martinez was the problem in the Reading game either…

  22. “If you’re going to be a smartass first you have to be smart, otherwise you’re just being an ass”

    Too smart for AB then.
    Back to the Groaning Board. Once again.

  23. I miss OldTurdy.

    It made such an effort at polite conversation and “debate”, asking, you know, questions that need to be asked. Such a shame that it stank of sh*t. But I suppose that when you are a self-declared expert in Finance, Football, Physiotherapy (sports) and PR that you can’t have it all.

  24. Tough guy Finsbury picking on some old boy calling him names my word how proud your kids must be

  25. There it is. The dark tetrad exposing itself. How easy was that? Too easy.

    @brickfields “act like a man” etc.
    @myself “you’re mad” etc. and now in addition “tough guy”. Lucky me.

    The poor troll above has obviously forgotten the episode (I don’t think it has! 😉 ) where it’s poor bullied “colleague” excreted an unhealthy amount of name calling upon these pages. Hence the honorif title OldTurdy. What a nasty old soul I am, eh? Coming onto people’s blogs and not abusing them. Terrible.

    Back to the Groaning Board.

  26. Could it really be that Old Turdy has at last escaped from trolling his own email account and has returned as AB (absolute bullshitter)?

  27. @apo
    Don’t be cruel

    For it’s sake, I hope not. Twas a valiat effort to protect the good name of the Old Turdmeister, but alas in vain.

  28. Main Entry: 1bitch
    Pronunciation: \ˈbich\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English bicche, from Old English bicce
    Date: before 12th century
    1 : the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals 2 a : a lewd or immoral woman b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse 3 : something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant 4 : complaint

    Courtesy by Merriam-Webster dictionary

  29. @ At 57 , I think I’m just peaking and acting my age !Just wait in 20 or 30 years time when senility sets in . Then I’d be awesome and firing crap from both ends !
    But then again you AAAA types have always been doing that for ages !

    Happy Diwali to all the Hindu and Sikh Arsenal faithful ! May this festival of lights be a joyous and blissful one .

    And you trolls better chill out or I ‘ll really show you a festivals of lights by knocking your blocks off !

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