Southampton v Arsenal: something must be wrong with the injury tables.

By Bulldog Drummond

Now this is all very curious indeed.   According to the Independent, as we saw this week, Arsenal have more injuries than the rest of the league put together and are way out in front of everyone else, largely because of the introduction of the 56 week year and counting injuries of players out on loan.

But physioroom has us in 13th position in the injury table.  Surely that can’t be right…

1 Sunderland 10
2 Hull City 9
3 Southampton 9
4 Crystal Palace 9
5 West Ham United 7
6 Swansea City 7
7 Watford 6
8 Tottenham Hotspur 5
9 Stoke City 4
10 Everton 4
11 Liverpool 4
12 Burnley 4
13 Arsenal 3

Now the three that physioroom recognise as being out of the game are

Player Injury   Return  
M Debuchy Hamstring Injury   January 31, 2017  
S Cazorla Plantaris Injury   No Return Date  
P Mertesacker Knee Injury   January 31, 2017

However seems to suggest that neither Per nor Debuchy are injured – which presumably means that they are simply not match fit yet – a distinction which those who study these tables at Untold are starting to say often causes disputes about numbers as different clubs evaluate such matters in different ways.  It seems that it is often the explanation for Swansea and Chelsea being shown on the charts with zero injuries – they are counting players as not injured (but not yet ready for the match) much earlier than Arsenal.

Any way there is a fairly general consensus concerning Southampton:

Player Injury   Return Issues
J Rodriguez Ankle Injury   No Return Date Slight Doubt
J Ward-Prowse Chest Injury   No Return Date Slight Doubt
V van Dijk Ankle Injury   No Return Date Major Doubt
S Boufal Knee Injury   January 31, 2017  
C Austin Shoulder Injury   April 1, 2017  
A McCarthy Hamstring Injury   No Return Date Major Doubt
M Targett Hamstring Injury   March 18, 2017  
J Hesketh Ankle Injury   January 31, 2017 Major Doubt
J Pied ACL Knee Injury   June 1, 2017

I have not been able to find any consistent links between “slight doubt” and whether being picked in the squad for a match, but when we get a combination of “no return date” with “slight doubt” then I am even more confused than usual.  It becomes hard to put the injuries in any sort of date order, so I’ve left them as they appear on physioroom.  Make of them what you can.

However Arsenal themselves are reporting that Santi Cazorla is the only member of our squad not fit enough to take part in full training. But Granit Xhaka banned for four games and Mohamed Elneny is playing for Egypt.   So it is fairly likely (if not dead certain) that we will have Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey in the centre.

The alternatives would be Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Alex Iwobi.  The first two are still learning their trade and the last is not a specialist in defensive work, so I think we can say for sure it is the Coquelin/Ramsey axis.

Mr Wenger also looked to explain why there has been a move towards late goals in games, in his press conference…

“The trend is linked with fitness and style of play, but the Burnley result was linked with resilience and mental desire. The focus on what you want to do is not enough, so everything has to be right and it all has to click.

“It’s true that there’s a relentless attitude in the team, of strength and belief. Maybe the fact that we know we can score great goals means we keep going. Against Burnley we found the resources to score another goal, and for us it was a massive game because we knew we had an opportunity [to go second].

“What’s very important is the players who come on off the bench. We say that a lot, that we are a whole squad, we are not just 11 players. Maybe that’s been justified more than ever this season because the players who have come on have made a huge contribution every time and we have a quality bench as well. Their attitude is right.”

In relation to Granit Xhaka’s hounding by the media we have seen all this before with Patrick Vieira who got repeated sendings off in his early years and had the media baying for blood, with regular comments about his nationality, how this wasn’t the English way, and how Mr Wenger didn’t understand how we play the game here.  (This being the country of Nobby Stiles and all).

Indeed it was out of Patrick’s couple of reds within a couple of matches that the myth that Arsenal had more players sent off than anyone else came about.   It has now of course been replaced by the myth that Arsenal get more players injured than anyone else.  When the media finally let go of Xhaka we will probably have the news that Arsenal have more players abducted by aliens than anyone else.

Speaking on this topic (red cards not aliens) Mr Wenger said, “Tackling is not the first quality of Xhaka, but he looks more dangerous than he is. That’s why he maybe has to stay on his feet more or improve the quality of his tackling, because you want the right commitment and you want the right level of winning the ball

“He has to realise what has changed in the last five or six years. Tackling from the front is severely punished now, much more than before. Unfortunately for us it’s a severe blow because we don’t have Mohamed Elneny at the moment, and now we don’t have Xhaka on top of that.

There will of course be more on the game anon, but for the moment, here is a note of thanks: Jacamo recently supplied a Weekend Offender t-shirt to Untold Arsenal – which we all rather like and have been fighting over ever since (apart from those of us who went out and bought some).  Here’s a link to their range.


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12 Replies to “Southampton v Arsenal: something must be wrong with the injury tables.”

  1. Yes, I’ve seen Alex Iwobi tackling and won the ball on some occasions. And that has made me to think and believe he could be converted to a DM. This my believe has led me to once or twice post my comments on the subject on this site that Le Prof should try to convert him to a DM and see if it’ll work better for him there than playing him at the wings and behind the striker as playmaker. But of course the conversion has to be gradually done at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground to perfect the conversion before he could become a specialist in that position and not just suddenly be done in a competitive game.

    He looked jaded in our last home PL match against Burnley and that has made me not to have him in my own 18 man match day squad for our away FA Cup match against Southampton so as to give him a one game rest to recover his strength back despite that am not Le Prof who is his manager that can decide that.

  2. Bulldog

    If I am not mistaken, Chamberlain can also play in the middle and has played there a few times for Arsenal although Wenger prefers to play him on the wings. That makes 3 players we can call up to play there while we await Elneny, Xhaka and Cazorla.

  3. So the EFL is a trophy now because Arsenal is not in it. And the FA cup is not a Trophy after The Arsenal does not win it last year. What changes so quick and fast!!!

  4. Off Topic. For those of you expecting a report on the U23 game against Chelsea – the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch at the Arsenal training ground so the game is to be re-arranged.

  5. Well I have seen pictures of Debuchy and Mertesacker training today ahead of the Southampton clash. It seems to me the only injured player is Cazorla. But in a 56 week calendar year, what do I know?

    I’ve seen uproar on the blogs at the mention of one of the 2 young lads coming into midfield. While it’s always wise to take it one game at a time, surely the Tuesday match 3 days later should play on the mind. I expect Southampton to be dead legged in the final 30 minutes so substitutions will be key. However, if AW doesn’t rotate, expect Arsenal to be dead legged on Tuesday too. I expect Watford who play their FA Cup match on Sunday to rotate heavily too ahead of the game at the Emirates.

    Final thought- Ox can play as a CM as I recall he did at a much younger age away at the San Siro. Iwobi cannot as he lacks the defensive nous as yet. The other kids JRA and AMN do not have the experience at this level so as Bulldog says Coq-Rambo appears dead certain.

  6. I think I heard that Ox was out with a stress fracture… But haven’t tried to check if it’s fake news or not.

    I’m not sure that Iwobi is disciplined enough to play as a DM.
    Although he’s OK on the Left wing, when he plays on the right wing he does seem to wander all over the pitch more than he should do, which limits the attack on that side sometimes and can leave the RB a bit exposed.
    But maybe in a DM or B2B role he’d be given more careful instruction position-wise…

  7. Hi ‘Sola, Iwobi at DM is a big No No! The lad can’t tackle/defend to save his life, so I am not sure where you saw him tackle. He gets lucky to ‘steal’ the ball from the opposition once in a while but I feel dispossessing the opponent consistently, is one of his weaknesses. It is an area I will like him to improve seeing as he is a strong enough boy.

    As for the game tomorrow, I feel we can’t afford to play with our strongest squad because we have Watford and Chelsea coming right after, in quick succession. So, I fully expect a changed squad with experienced players and appearances for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jeff and Holding, either from start or coming on. Welbeck and Lucas will need to take their chances in this game. It is going to be a battle to eliminate Southampton, but we just have to make it happen.

  8. One minute they tell us we are soft no hard center, then we get Coq and Xahka and now they complain about it not being the English way bla bla…

    Still, Arsenal midfielders could do less tackling in midfield and just cordon off the players early in opposition half. If one slips through then the back four is there to deal with them.

    Liverpool flopped their busy schedule, let’s not do the same. But we’ve got a biggish squad now and players must step up.

  9. Andy Mack
    Chambers is out with a stress fracture of the foot. Could you be confusing Chambers with Chamberlain?

  10. Arsene stated that Jeff, Iwobi, and MN were his alternate options in CM, but like some of you I think The Ox is another option, to be honest I think he is a better option as remember him performing well there when used there even if only briefly, and with Theo and Welbz back we are well stacked out wide…

    Arsene had always said The Ox would end up central (although probably meant No.10) so could this be a little slight of hand?

  11. MickHazel, yes that’s probably what I misheard. As I mentioned, I didn’t go checking.

    I think we’ve a few players that can cover the B2B role but the DM role is more difficult to cover. AW likes that Xhaka is usually a very good passer which we miss in deep MF a bit when Santi isn’t around (Although Coquelin is much better than he’s given credit for), but Xhaka isn’t a DM.

    I’d like to see Monreal or Debuchy in the DM role when FC isn’t available (assuming Gibbs or HB is fit for the FB position) as they’re both good tacklers with a good pass and make lots of interceptions as well. But I’ll go with whatever the manager does as I’m a supporter!

  12. Well, we do have Christian Bielik who is a DM, converted to CB for the U-21s. Not as first choice but if we ever had the need to change, he will be my pick instead of moving Monreal or Debuchy there.

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