A very good day for Arsenal, a disappointment for Tiny Totts, excellent Armistice commemoration, extraordinary injury revelation

By Tony Attwood

I really do want to start with my thoughts about the Armistice commemoration at the Ems yesterday.  I have stood for so many moments of silence to show sympathy, understanding and thanks, that in the end the silence can (for me) start to lose its meaning.  Not always, of course: when I stood at the war memorial with my mother just before she died, that was incredibly moving, because then everyone in her small town who was there very much wanted to be there.  But at football matches where if you wanted to see the game you had to be there, the meaning has worn away.

But not yesterday.   The reading of the poem, followed by the full playing of the whole of the Last Post was beautiful, poignant, meaningful… and I write as one among many who grew up hearing of family members whom I would never know, who gave their lives so I could have my life in a free country.

It was observed in perfect silence – as of course it should be – on London’s most tribal day of the year.  A day on which police helicopters circled (though thankfully this time, not during the commemoration), and on which there were many, many more police around the ground than we normally see.  As I walked round the Ems to my entrance whole gangs of very fit stewards were to be seen running fast towards the north bridge.  I don’t know why, I kept going in the opposite direction, but it didn’t feel good.

But inside for the commemoration the silence was perfect.  I think, no matter what else, this should be a tribute to all north London supporters.   Arsenal-Tottenham might be the ultimate football rivalry in England, but everyone, everyone there really knew what matters.

As for the game, Arsenal entered it with seemingly most of the squad injured – or at least that is how it felt in reading the papers.  Eight of our players were out – and not just eight, but some of the most important players in the squad.  Tottenham had just four men out, and some of them were thought to be ready to return.

And then to heap problems on problems, we gradually realised something was seriously wrong with Santi Cazorla, and he went off at half time.  Tottenham were effectively playing ten men through the first half.  (And in case the media are blaming Wenger for this, from the description I’ve heard of what was wrong with Santi, it is one of those things that has to be reported by the individual, before tests are done. Unless the player says what he feels, the manager won’t know until you see him play).

So everything was stacking up in Tottenham’s favour.  Arsenal had just come back from an utter humiliation in Europe (according to the papers and TV) or a bad defeat (according to those who manage to avoid being drama queens in every sentence written or spoken).   Ten men, low morale, half the squad injured, Wenger at fault for not buying more.  We were easy picking for the Tinies.

But even then they couldn’t beat us.   They played better than Arsenal for much of the game, but we still, through sheer doggedness, kept going.  One of the my new neighbours in the stadium this season was very unimpressed by the arrival of Gibbs, and for once in the ensuing debate I got it right, I said it was a good move to bring him on, use Flamini for the power, and put Arteta alongside Coquelin, and Gibbs replacing Campbell, I thought, did well throughout his short appearance, including of course the vital goal.

So, ten men, multiple leading players injured, a tough time in Europe – and of course Tottenham on the up, showing no signs of their supposedly heavy schedule (not that much different from ours) – and they still couldn’t take Arsenal out.   Two games played so far between the two sides, 1 win for Arsenal, and 1 draw.  Tottenham will be lucky if they get a better chance to beat us than this.

On the way home to Northants I heard no mention of the injury crisis, on the radio.  And checking the figures we can see why.

In fact we had never actually been top of that table – although you wouldn’t know this from the media hype so clearly picked up by their lapdogs the bloggettas.  Here’s the current situation.  We have two more injuries than Man U and Man C – and we know that by the next match three, if not more of our players will be back – and with fewer players playing lunatic pointless interlull games, we might be slipping further down the league.

1 Liverpool 9
2 Newcastle United 9
3 Arsenal 7
4 Everton 7
5 Bournemouth 6
6 Manchester City 5
7 Manchester United 5
8 West Ham United 5
9 Aston Villa 4
10 Crystal Palace 4
11 Southampton 4
12 Tottenham Hotspur 4
13 Stoke City 3
14 Sunderland 3
15 Chelsea 2
16 Norwich City 2
17 Watford 2
18 Leicester City 1
19 West Bromwich Albion 1
20 Swansea City 0

But there was more new information that came out yesterday.  On Radio 5 as I drove to London I heard Damien Comolli being interviewed.   He was the guy who joined Arsenal in 1996 and was the European scout credited with the discovery of  Kolo Touré and Gaël Clichy.

He then became technical director of AS Saint-Étienne before taking what turned out to be a poor career move and becoming director of football at the Tiny Totts, where he had overall responsibility for the medical, academy, scouting and club secretarial departments.  He was the replacement for Frank Arnesen who you may recall was later yet another man to be illegally approached by Chelsea.

So he is a man of wide experience and when asked about Arsenal’s perennial transfer crisis, he expressed shock, and said quite clearly that this was not right.   The problem, he said, is totally different.  The problem is mostly a British player injury crisis, and within that primarily an English player injury crisis.  (If I might explain, that last point is logical.  90% of the British population is English, 7% Scottish, 2% Welsh, 1% Northern Irish.  So a British problem is generally primarily an English problem).

I can’t quote Mr Comolli’s exact words of course, as I was driving, but it was something along the lines that no country, not one country, ever goes into international matches and tournaments with as many of its first choice squad missing, as the British nations.  Other countries have injuries – but it is the English players that get the injuries the most.

Now I haven’t heard this put before, but as soon as I got home last night I started taking a look, and indeed missed Match of the Day I was so busy checking figures.  I am a long way from getting a true comparison of figures but just look at this list below.  It is our first team squad.

I have marked in column three the players who are UK citizens by birth and in column four whether they are part of the current injury “crisis”.

We have six UK nationals by birth in our first team squad and we have seven players injured.  Five of those seven are UK nationals.   23 players of whom 30% are injured.  Six UK nationals of whom 83% are injured.

Squad member Position Status Injured
2. Mathieu Debuchy Defender
3. Kieran Gibbs Defender UK
4. Per Mertesacker Defender
5. Gabriel Paulista Defender
6. Laurent Koscielny Defender
7. Tomas Rosicky Midfielder Yes
8. Mikel Arteta Midfielder
10. Jack Wilshere Midfielder UK Yes
11. Mesut Özil Midfielder
12. Olivier Giroud Forward
13. David Ospina Goalkeeper
14. Theo Walcott Forward UK Yes
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Midfielder UK
16. Aaron Ramsey Midfielder UK Yes
17. Alexis Sánchez Forward
18. Nacho Monreal Defender
19. Santiago Cazorla Midfielder
20. Mathieu Flamini Midfielder
23. Danny Welbeck Forward UK Yes
24.  Hector Bellerin Defence Yes
28. Joel Campbell Forward
33. Petr Cech Goalkeeper
34. Francis Coquelin Midfielder

So according to Damien Comolli the Arsenal figures in terms of English players is not unusual.  He didn’t try to suggest why it is true, he just pointed it out that it is true.  It would be good to do some more checking, but my first quick looks suggest there is something in what he says in terms of players in other Premier League teams.

If this is true, the cause is going to be difficult to track down.  Is it the education the youngsters get, the way they play at school, the expectations around them, being driven by parents, the English diet from birth, or some genetic factor that passes on through the generations?  Another area for Untold to research, a bit like our work (now regularly cited everywhere) on why England does so badly at internationals (it is the lack of coaches when measured against the number of players).

And indeed I wonder if there might be a link here – the lack of coaching affects the way the youngsters play and their propensity to be injured.  We know that in many countries young players, when given a ball, practice ball skills.  In England the tradition is “jumpers for goalposts” and play a game even if it is just three a side.

Anyway, all of that is for future articles, and it probably is down to Untold to sort out the research, because I would be surprised if the media picked this up until we have the answers and have been hammering away at it for a couple of years.

So for now, here’s the league table as usual with the net spend on transfers over the past five years.

POS CLUB P W D L F A GD Pts 5yr cost
1 No democracy please 12 8 2 2 26 9 17 26 £322m
2 Arsenal 12 8 2 2 22 9 13 26 £99m
3 Leicester City 12 7 4 1 25 20 5 25 £46m
4 Manchester United 12 7 3 2 17 8 9 24 £300m
5 The Tiny Totts 12 5 6 1 20 10 10 21 -£36m
6 State Aid United 12 6 3 3 23 16 7 21 £93m
7 Southampton 12 5 5 2 19 13 6 20 £32m
8 Crystal Palace 12 6 1 5 14 12 2 19 £163m
9 Everton 12 4 5 3 20 16 4 17 £20m
10 The title is ours by rights 12 4 5 3 13 14 -1 17 £163m
11 Watford 12 4 4 4 11 12 -1 16 £7m
12 Rugby City 12 4 4 4 10 12 -2 16 £46m
13 West Bromwich Albion 12 4 2 6 10 16 -6 14 £51m
14 Swansea City 12 3 4 5 12 16 -4 13 £13m
15 Norwich City 12 3 3 6 16 23 -7 12 £43m
16 Please help us PGMO 12 3 2 7 16 23 -7 11 £224m
17 Newcastle United 12 2 4 6 13 22 -9 10 £68m
18 I do like to be beside… 12 2 2 8 12 25 -13 8 £27m
19 Very Fat Sam & Co 12 1 3 8 13 26 -13 6 £59m
20 Remi to the Rescue 12 1 2 9 10 20 -10 5 £33m

PS: I know changing names is childish.  I just like being childish sometimes. All suggestions for other name changes very welcome.  Meanwhile the table still shows little link between transfer spending and position in the league.

PPS: I was thinking of adding a link to another web site at the end of each posting.  If you write a blog and think some Untold readers might be interested in it, email Tony.Attwood@aisa.org and give me the URL and I’ll see if I can give you a mention.

PPPS: The Untold Banner is still looking great…  I still get a warm glow from seeing it, each time I take my seat.


Anniversaries (full list for today appears on the home page)

  • 9 November 2002: Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0 to move one point behind Newcastle after two defeats in October.  The Guardian said of Patrick Vieira: a “demonstration of tackling, control, awareness and movement that was exceptional even by his standards.”
  • 9 November 2014: Swansea 2 Arsenal 1.  Ten players (five from each side) were yellow carded during the game which Swansea won 2-1.  The Arsenal cards went to Ramsey, Mertesacker, Chambers, Alexis and Gibbs.  Alexis scored the Arsenal goal.


38 Replies to “A very good day for Arsenal, a disappointment for Tiny Totts, excellent Armistice commemoration, extraordinary injury revelation”

  1. My main concern is that Alexis, who is already looking jaded, flies halfway across the world and will have to put in 2 x 90 minute shifts. These are not meaningless friendlies as some suggest but qualifiers to determine the various South American groups for the next World Cup. So games will be tough and competitive.
    Also Kos and Ollie will be playing for France – we can ill afford to lose both players.
    But the rest of the squad will get some much needed rest and Ramsey and Ox seem to be on their way back.
    Fingers crossed

  2. interesting regarding the Brits. They would have been identified at a young age, pampered in some ways, playing mainly on pristine pitches, in complete contrast to …say a South American from a flavella playing on the streets, or a beach, or other such stereotypes. You would think playing on streets , uneven pitches, rough surfaces would lead to more injuries than the Brit kids from the academies, or does this background, perhaps diet, learned techniques, hunger somehow make them tougher?
    Agree on concerns over Alexis…..Wenger needs to assess him carefully.

  3. @Tony – as a born and bred communicator as you are I’m surprised that you should allow your ‘childishness’ to get in the way of getting facts across to a reading audience. By using your own made up pseudonyms for clubs you blur the understanding that the reader gets (especially new readers) of what is a very important set of statistics.
    Consider yourself admonished – but with a smile.

  4. When Arsenal are at home, favourites to win, and only 3 points needed to top the table, then supporters should beware. Over the past 100 years
    this is scenario fraught with danger.
    Defeat is poised to be clutched from the jaws of victory.
    And yesterday it nearly turned out that way.
    After 20 minutes or so, fatigue from the mid-week foray into Europe began to permeate the team. Play was sloppy and eventually a schoolboy defensive error gifted a goal to Spurs.
    The points were finally shared after an equalizing goal scored by substitute Gibbs, a fullback.
    Have we learnt anything from yesterday? Yes we have.
    In my opinion we cannot cope with a EPL and CL game every week, with 9 or 10 key players absent
    On the subs bench yesterday, we were reduced to one forward, rookie Alex Iwobi. That is inviting trouble.
    Hopefully, in the near future some of our wounded will return, although the onset of winter is not an ideal time for rehabilitation.
    We simply have to find a way to manage our injuries list in a better fashion. Do we sign new players in the January Window? Are our training methods at fault?
    Does our fast, close passing attack invite fouling to combat it?
    Answers must be found lest we founder again in our search for glory. 😉

  5. A lot of it is because English referees are far too tolerant of violent play. This applies at all levels.

  6. My brother has the Danish coaching badge and every kid runs onto the field for the coaching carrying their own ball. That, for me, is where the difference starts and analysis starts of the injury list of ”English” players. Throw in diet. Throw in cultural values.

    Thinking about Bayern I saw Gerd Mueller in Copenhagen over forty years ago create a goal by shifting his bodyweight from one thigh to the other, the defenders deceived, the goal opening up, all done in his mind, carried out to perfection in the penalty box, Mueller super-cool, Zen.

    To play two games against Bayern, win one, lose one, two goal difference in aggregate, some humiliation.

    As for yesterday, sheer dogged determined cussedness kept them in the game, that and the sublime genius of Ozil, his cross to Gibbs.

  7. Agree Nicky,very hard to cope with that level of injuries…to key players, and subsequent over playing of some that clearly need a rest.
    Whilst they give opportunities to others…like Bellerin last season, this level of injuries, whatever the causes is disruptive to say the least, this team were certainly not themselves for large parts of yesterday, but, as has been said, a fit, up for it team playing and pressing with huge intensity, with a fair wind sent via Mike Riley still couldnt beatus….and lets face it, could easily have won.
    wouldbe surprisedif there is much going on in Jan for the usual reasons,perhaps a young prospect, ora loan player if we really need one. wenger is going to have to be careful with his assessment of Theo and Danny over the season, Giroud is an excellent player with a great attitude, but one susceptible to fatigue over time. with Theo, Danny and OG, we have enough, but OG will not be able to do it all himself on three fronts for the rest of the season, so lets hope reports of Theo and Danny not being out for too much longer are accurate.

  8. I totally agree with Nicky.We must manage our injuries better.It is the same old,same old.If we keep most of our players fit we will be in the mix at the end.I felt yesterday was a huge result for us.This was a match we would have lost last year.Two weeks off, get some of the players back and go again.We do not have the hardest of matches in the next 5 weeks.What is the problem with Walcott?.What is his injury.It seems to have gone quiet on that front.
    M.O.T.D last night.Jonathan Pearce a total spud.I have never heard such a one sided commentary.Very poor.

  9. A really rather super Post, thank you.

    Dulce et Decorum est, pro patria mori

    You are right about how moving the remembrance ceremony for the fallen war dead can be, and I was also very moved.

    The game yesterday was disappointing to put it mildly, and also puzzling. When we were bad and went 0:1 down we were dreadful, and when we woke up and equalised 1:1 we were great, and could have won. Puzzling -yes, but that is football, I guess.

    The latin phrase above? ‘How sweet and right it is to die for your country’ an anti-war poem written by Wilfrid Owen, a soldier killed in the last week of WW1, and reminded me to keep my perspective in that the possibility of losing a game of football – even to Spurs – would be just a game.

  10. The injuries to such key players like Theo, Ox, Rambo etc does make it difficult to keep the momentum of our run going.

    Although I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data, it seems that the injury league table of http://www.physioroom.com shows that we are not particularly worse in that respect from many other clubs, with Newcastle suffering the greatest number of injuries to their players.

    What becomes very frustrating for us fans, and no doubt the manager, is that injuries seem to be a recurring perennial nightmare for Arsenal.

  11. Incidentally, I rather enjoyed the gentle humour in appropriately re-naming some of the names of our competitor clubs. 😀

  12. Morning everyone and a nice article Tony.

    That is a game we would have lost in the past. I thought the changes were smart and the Plan B we lacked in the past came to our salvation.

    I always smile at the hypocrisy. We are frequently told that the sign of a good team is the abaility to grind out results. You cant always play well, so you have to find a way of not losing games. This is an accusation that has often been levelled at Arsenal. Yesterday the boys proved that they have the desire and the ability to grind out a result that for a while looked unlikely. Thats what very good teams do.

    Spurs played well and deserve credit for that, although we were pretty poor for an hour. The fact Spurs could not capitalise against a below par Arsenal has not been mentioned. Nor has the tactical changes Arsene Wenger made which allowed us to dominate the last 15 minutes of the game. In fact, Giroud had a couple of great chances to take all 3 points.

    However, yet again you end up wondering what the Fantasy Football Managers (pundits/fans/commentators) are driven by. The hypocrisy where we are concerned is incredible. When Chelsea or Man Utd dont play well but ‘grind out’ results, the FFM always tell us how that is the sign of a great team.

    Well that doesnt seem to apply if its Arsenal….!

    I wonder, how did other teams get on over the Weekend?

    1. Man City failed to win at bottom club Aston Villa and in fact, couldnt even score.

    2. Liverpool lost at home to Crystal Palace.

    3. The specialist in arrogance lost – again.

    But which team gets the negative headlines in the media and is slaughtered by the Fantasy Football Managers on MOTD? Arsenal.

    Slaughtered for what exactly?

    – Having key players injured
    – Coming back off a heavy defeat in Germany
    – Managing to secure a point against a team unbeaten since the first game of the season
    – Doing something they said is the sign of a title winning team
    – Remaining joint top of the Premier League

    ….Its a funny old game the media play with us.

  13. ProudKev – You know very well that we should be winning every single game, no matter who the opposition or whatever the circumstances…

    The Invincibles drew a huge 12 games that season… Even more shockingly, they drew at home to Birmingham, Fulham and Portsmouth (and Man U). Absolute disgrace. Sell the lot of them.

  14. The media kept harping on about the Bayern result rather than the position Arsenal are in. That doesn’t matter when Arsenal play like they did. Atkinson did his best to rob us of charisma & skill by giving fouls to break up our play but despite this we played well. How Coquelin didn’t end up injured is a miracle. He was tackled by a couple of leg breakers but limped back into play. Arsenals sporting play – putting the ball out when a spud was down showed class. I still remember the spuds playing on when two of our boys clashed & got injured.

    Arsenal are still class when it comes to the beautiful game.

  15. Looking around seems like spurs are replacing Chelsea in the affections of the WOB. We do have some rather odd, perhaps media driven fans

  16. A couple of points:
    1) A win and loss against Bayern Munich is a good overall result, regardless of the away drubbing. The commentators on BT sport didn’t seem to have any perspective of this.
    If Arsenal had ground out two draws and come away with 2 points we would already be out of the competition.
    1 Win + 1 Loss > 2 Draws

    2) I agree that MOTD failed to draw the important conclusion yesterday despite Jenas claiming that this was the Spuds most assured performance of the season:
    Tottenham playing well = Arsenal playing badly

  17. HenryB, youre right to remind everyone to have a perspective after a game on RS, yet dont forget the words that WO wrote before using that Latin phrase…

    “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori. “.

    There is a great force now against Owen and Sassoon these days which is a great shame to see.Both poets in todays climates might well be seen as a nuisance and pushed to the periphery (imo).Poetry
    is pretty much on the periphery anyway.
    Looking back its increasingly amazing to see how brave certain publishers were at the time to print works by Sassoon,Owen,Gurney(although Gurneys odd as he actually enjoyed his part in the war, but he was mentally ill) and others.
    WW1 and 2 were both avoidable,(certainly no WW1 then def.no WW2) and thats a lot of dead people, not just soldiers.World wars are a catastroph for humanity, with lasting affects.What a sad waste, just for fear in some peoples minds.The human mind, what a lot of problems it causes.

  18. If I have calculated correctly, in the four league matches between the last international break and the present one we are undefeated and have accumulated 10 out of the possible 12 points – not a bad return despite many injuries and despite the consistent tilting of the playing surface by the PGMO incompetents. Well done the team.

    Re the Rememberance Commemoration – it was indeed a solemn and respectful occasion – just as it should be – the organisation and leadership provided by AFC and the service personnel set the scene for a dignified occasion & any would be plonkers in the fan base from either club were drawn fully into the occasion. Well done Arsenal.

    Tony – a question – for the players remaining at Arsenal over the international break – do they train as normal, or do they have a reduced work load over all or part of the period to try to recuperate tired limbs/move further from the red zone?

  19. Regarding the remembrance ceremony – it reminded me that we are, in fact, originally the works team of the Royal Arsenal (hence the name of course), so quite appropriate that the Royal Artillery were involved. I would be the last person to glorify war (given the grim fate of both my grandfathers in WW2), but it seems right to remember our history at times such as these.

  20. I want to recommend a very interesting article by a FourFourTwo analyst that posits that Arsenal had strong problems against the Spurs because of a lack of density in midfield, since Alexis and Campbell effectively left Coquelin and Cazorla to their own devices against 5 Tottenham players (Özil is given more leeway in the article due to his work in the creation of chances, with 7 on his tally). That means the 4-2-3-1 essentially became a 4-2-4, according to that theory, which is just untenable (and also a big reason why Ramsey is such a huge cog for us, with his efforts in midfield second to none). The writer even underlines something that several Untold commenters have remarked upon, which is that Alexis´ play lacks his overwhelming quality these days, probably because of fatigue. Add that to Cazorla´s struggles, and no wonder the team performed unevenly. Here´s the link: https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/michael-cox-arsenal-failed-grip-122345751.html

    As for Comolli´s observation, it does seem that this year most of the Arsenal players who are sidelined because of injury are British, and that several of them are those for whom the injury-prone tag could apply, but as you said, Tony, it remains to be seen whether that would hold up after checking for other teams and a larger period of time. What I can tell you though is that, when it comes to the possible causes, the UK is not an exception in terms of the popularity of the “jumpers-for-goalposts-and-game” approach. That´s the daily bread-and-butter for millions of kids in South America, Central America, France, Africa… No, other things come to mind.

  21. Less off-topic here than current elsewhere?

    The head of the German FA has resigned (that corruption problem); and Moyes was sacked in Spain.

    Back to regular programming.

  22. Interesting thoughts on injuries to UK players:

    England would’ve had better results with a fit Chambo Walcott and Wilshere at the last WC. Bearing in mind the cause of Chambo’s original knee injury these three attacking players that Hodgson had integrated into his squad prior to the tournament (Ox’s goal in Brazil te summer before etc.) we noted at the time that these three players were lost to impact injuries in wilsheres case to a clear hack not even called a foul (and relative to other teams we see too many of those at AFC).

    Therefore with not much doubt the first place to look is at the pgMOB when attempting to answer the question: why have England only reached one tournament final since 1966, which was a home tournament?

    Footballer’s aren’t like Rugby players and if you want to chuck every generation into the bin after just a few short years, well, then you’re not going to have a team that has the skill and nous to compete against the best.

    Crocked players can hobble on like K.Davis who was once a flair player before he got clogged off the park as a young pro, or like Rooney who whilst being protected he suffered from being rushed back through injury to underperform in tournaments when a stronger manager would’ve simply selected a fit player – Erikssson the worst example of management I have ever witnessed, he rushed back M.Owen too early and ended his career but the trolls and unemployed physics remain silent on this record for some reason.
    unfortunately if you have unstoppable players and play them whilst injured (the media hype machine is also to blame here: Rooney as good as Messi and Ronaldo, really?) it’s fair to say that is not the action of a responsible ooach.

    Other considerations:
    Lack of a winter break or forcing clubs to play twice within 48 hours
    A lack of aid for teams playing midweek fixtures e.g.: Bayern played their league game before the last CL round on the Friday.

  23. If we want to take the pressure off players in terms of games played we can only do one (or more) of three things.
    1. Get players to sign contracts which say that they will reject international call-ups.
    2. Change the rules re players eligible to play in domestic cups or remove pressure on managers to name anything other than reserve (3rd/4th string) teams.
    3. Reduce size of EPL from 20 to 18 or even 16 teams.
    All of which would be seen as favouring the ‘big’ clubs – so they are unlikely to happen.

  24. Irrefutable Henry “hack” Winter commentating on the hack on the weekend that took out west ham’s player of the season:

    “Referees need to protect creative players”

    Wrong yet again dear Henry. It’s the referees job to protect ALL the players on the pitch. That’s their job. To stop “hacking”. Otherwise people wouldn’t have bothered with having referees in the first place. To be clear:

    The pgMOB officials whatever it is they are doing on the pitch they are often not refereeing the Football but, crucially in their own words, they are “managing” a spectacle. A product not a sport with their own particular interpretation of the rules which they keep to themselves.

    pgMOB Rules Football. It’s a different code. Shame they don’t publish the shifting rules.

    The problem, which Henry is struggling to articulate, the problem is the pgMOB.

    Payet was fantastic to watch on the opening day in N5, one of the signings of the season. A real blow for the hammers and their fans.

  25. The BBC is running a story about people possibly stopping their trust of sport. Corruption, doping and what not. Not a single mention of corrupt officiating.

  26. Would I be wrong to assume that Wenger was trying to create a two team squad this season, one for the Premier League and one for the Champions League and the Cups?

    No doubt the experiment has not worked out yet ( a work in progress), and failed due to the number of injuries suffered by key players. However, it would be interesting to see if the other major teams in Europe are doing/looking into this.

  27. Like your names of other teams. A couple of suggestions:
    Crystal Palace: For Crys’ Sake
    Aston Villa: Remi On Guard

  28. excuse me if I am being daft here but Ox was carrying an injury after the Everton game and so I was surprised to see him start at Wednesday. He pulled up fairly quickly and Walcott went on without (by all reports) being properly warmed up. Injuries in those circumstances are not unusual. So perhaps the lesson we should learn is that when we have a squad with several players injured we should prioritize MORE and leave the first teamers out of the league cup altogether – Theo’s injury (which is not it seems a short term one) was entirely avoidable

  29. Damien Comolli’s comments about English players and injuries affecting them in international tournaments are not new; I attended a Q & A with Gary Lewin a few years ago and he was asked about why England get more injuries than other countries in build-ups to tournaments, and his answer was too many matches and a lack of a winter break, citing statistics that players who play in leagues without a winter break are 4 times more likely to pick up overuse injuries in particular than the players who play and get a winter break!

    It was always ironic when people accused Owen Hargreaves of being injury prone when at Manchester United, and yet when he was a Bayern Munich player, and went to tournaments with England, all the medical staff with the national team always stated that he was the fittest player in the squad! Coincidence that there is a winter break in the Bundesliga?!

  30. There could definitely be a connectedness between injury and British-ness. But what about non-British players who have played from a young age in England? From the list above Rosicky (40 injuries since 2006 physioroom.com) is the only injured player who hasn’t played in England as a teenager. Bellerin came to England at 16 and is injured (4 injuries since December, not sure about his injury history in the youth squad). Besides those injured, the Coq and Gibbs are the only remaining players in the team who have played in England as teenagers and are not injured. Although, we know that Gibbs has a history with injury. How about that? Is it a question of Britishness or could we consider the hypothesis that the younger you are when you start playing football in England, the more injury prone you will become? Research required.

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