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June 2021

We’re surviving so far but will Arsenal yet succumb to the international injury crisis?

By Dr Billy “the dog” McGuire, Untold’s occasional expert medic.

In a recent interview, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane suggested that if a player is “worried about the physical side of any sport, then play chess”.

Backing him up the England U-17 coach Steve Cooper said his lads are not softies and can bring in physicality to their game, adding, “We ask them to play without fear, whether that is with the ball or out of possession.  I think there’s a lot of protection around players these days. It’s a game of football, but that’s the way English teams have been known for over the years. If we were to lose a little bit of that, I don’t think that will be good for us.”

Combined with the ludicrously low number of qualified coaches in the region, such commentaries are probably as good an indicator as you’ll find anywhere as to why the national teams from the British Isles don’t win too many things.  And it sets the scene nicely for a review of who has been crippled in the latest round of internationals.

Indeed the whole thing reminds us of the comment that handing over one’s players to an international manager is like giving your perfect car to a second hand car dealer who drives it all over the place, smashes it up and brings it back broken and then tells you to fix it so he can do it again next time.

And indeed the carnage has started, although seemingly not in relation to Arsenal as yet, with Marouane Fellaini ruled out for at least three weeks with knee ligament damage.  Now it appears that Fellaini was already injured and hadn’t been able to train properly with the Belgium squad at the start of the international break because of that injury.  Nice one.

Of course any sane manager with a sense of responsibility would have rested Fellaini but Fifa encourages its members to act beyond the bounds of insanity.  And why not?  Most of the time the analogy with the car dealer is right.  Hand the car back, tell the garage to get it fixed ready for the next bash.  The clubs could unite and stand up against the cretins of Fifa, but they always fail to unite and rebel.  The clubs hold all the cards: they could act if they wanted.

But of course it is not the only Belgium issue.  Kevin De Bruyne said he was “furious” with the pitch Belgium played on against Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying he feared he would get injured – according to FourFourTwo.  Bad pitches and reckless managers creating wrecks, what other forms of insanity do you want?

Well, apparently Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante suffered a hamstring injury on international duty giving rise to the headline “First Morata, now Kante!  Chelsea fans fume at injury blow ahead of Manchester United clash.”

Meanwhile, while Arsenal’s new fitness team is now in place, we see the headline “Liverpool sack head physio Andy Renshaw as medical shake-up continues”.  Maybe there is a revolution up north in the offing after all.

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Wales manager Chris Coleman has said he will not allow the fallout over Wales’ draw in Dublin earlier this year hinder their preparations for Monday’s “all or nothing” clash with Ireland.  That game delivered an injury to Seamus Coleman of Everton, from which he has not yet recovered.

There’s much talk of brain injuries too, and an interesting headline in the Telegraph ahead of an article about brain damage from heading the ball saying, “The FA was told of dementia links 22 years ago.”  If that is true they are culpable and the families of all who suffered should sue them.

Mind you we should not expect progress.  Roy Keane did an interview in which he described brain injuries as “knocks.”

But what of Arsenal I hear you cry!   Well, we are informed that Lucas Perez suffered a thigh injury while on loan to Deportivo.   Mundo Deportivo tells the world that Lucas has suffered a ‘significant contusion in the left quadricep, which has caused a haematoma in the crural muscle’.   (And here’s a thought.  NHS word processors change “haematoma” into “tomato”.  I just thought you would like to know in case you ever get one.)

Mind you the headline for the Lucas injury that reads”Forward suffers complicated sounding injury, which Arsenal won’t be thrilled to hear about,” is probably overplaying it a bit.

Anyone else in trouble?  Well yes, at least for Watford there is, if this headline is to be believed…

“Premier League football star Isaac Success arrested after ‘angrily demanding his money back from four hookers’ in hotel romp’.”

The mind boggles.

Oh yes and Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has suffered a fractured hand after attempting to stop a training ground brawl between captain Jamaal Lascelles and Mo Diame.  The things these football chappies get up to!More boggling.Elsewhere we are told the Pogba’s injury has resulted in Man U looking to hire a specialist coach to look into things.

Back with where we started there is only one Arsenal player (thankfully) playing for England under 17s, the forward  Emile Smith Rowe.  Let’s hope he survives.

There might be bigger worries however for Man City with three players in the up and at ’em team, and four from Chelsea.  Tottenham have two.  How many will return in one piece we shall see in due course.  Second hand car dealers is about right.

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9 comments to We’re surviving so far but will Arsenal yet succumb to the international injury crisis?

  • Nitram

    “”In a recent interview, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane suggested that if a player is “worried about the physical side of any sport, then play chess”.””

    But that’s easy to say when you’re the guy doing the kicking rather than the one on the end of it isn’t it. The fact that it was Keanes game to be destructive rather undermines his love of ‘destruction’ don’t you think ?

    “‘I think there’s a lot of protection around players these days. It’s a game of football, but that’s the way English teams have been known for over the years. If we were to lose a little bit of that, I don’t think that will be good for us.’

    Combined with the ludicrously low number of qualified coaches in the region, such commentaries are probably as good an indicator as you’ll find anywhere as to why the national teams from the British Isles don’t win too many things.”

    Just what I was alluding to in the last thread.

  • Steve Vallins

    Regarding coaches and lack of , back 1988 I took a FA Preliminary Coaching Badge from what I remember it took place over 12 Sunday’s 9am till 4pm 18 started 6 dropped out and 6 passed and I was one of them
    The next stop along the coaching ladder was a 2 week residential at Bisham Abbey for your Intermediate Badge approx cost £600 to £800 from what l can remember
    The Full Badge was again residential and the cost even more expensive so one reason for the lack of coaches in this country is cost most other countries the cost is subsidised and because of that the ratio of coaches to players is much better compared to our country

  • Josif

    About the pitch in Bosnia…

    After Bilino Polje got suspended after an incident after the game against Greece, we decided to host Belgium at Grbavica stadium. Our main stadium Kosevo is not exactly the lucky omen for us as it is wider which would suit teams like Belgium better so we picked Grbavica instead.

    My first fear was we would lose Kolasinac to injury. He had one moment when he looked in pain in the first half but fortunately, he was fine to continue the game. I hope he will be rested in Estonia as we have no chance to qualify and he is essential player to Arsenal this season.

    The pitch was awful. No, it was beyond awful. Mud everywhere, rain pouring all day long and it was a real test to keep players away from injuries. Belgium lost two players – Fellaini and Mertens.

    Chelsea lost Kante while Batshuayi, Hazard and Courtois survived Grbavica. Vertonghen made a shocking mistake to gift as our second goal but scored the third one for Belgium.

    International football needs at least a decent recalibration of the qualifications. Too many games of low quality.

    Xhaka plays a huge game for Switzerland in Portugal. The Swiss team have won all nine games but if they lose to Portugal, they’ll have to go to play-offs. Hopefully Xhaka will survive that game without injuries.

  • Nitram

    Steve Vallins


    I know the numbers are terrible, simply from some of the articles that Untold has published over the years.

    I remember one in depth article that went into great detail regarding numbers of coaches versus population, versus numbers playing the game, as well as the relative cost of badges.

    I also know from close hand how expensive the courses are as my own Brother did the course, but like so many he too dropped out.

    He said there was discrimination, both negative a positive.

    His words were I believe “It was a joke”.

    I am sat here right now listening to these so called experts yet again blaming the amount of ‘foreigners’ in the Premier League.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Chris


    by the way…Iceland is probably going to Russia. They just beat Turkey.

    And I’d say if someone has the figures a table with population/licensed players/certified coaches would show them not far from the top…

    But then who needs facts when any idiot can say : I can see it with my own eyes, too many foreignes in the PL, so that must be the reason….
    Guess h’es saying the sun revolves around the earth like his eyes are telling him.

  • Chris

    Well looks Mustafi is put for a while. som muscular problem right tigh.
    Should have not brought up the subject before the break was overs …. ;=(

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    So Issac Success had a sex romp in a hotel? Hmmm. Does he know that sex romp is detrimental to a footballer’s level of form which if it’s top will start dropping to a low level and thus becomes anti-top form to him making it to collapse like a pack of cards.

    Talking about bad pitch been used in playing football matches, more espescially a World Cup qualifying match and other important matches too, it is easily noticeable on TV screen last Saturday evening the bad Uyo Stadium pitch in Akwa Ibiom State of South Eastern Nigeria which looked to be rain socked before the World Cup match between Nigeria and Zambia took place there that Saturday. Which if the players hadn’t taken extra care, they would have fallen to many injuries on that rain socked and mud patchy looking pitch as they were playing. The injuries recorded that Saturday on the Nigerian side, were Ogenyi Onasi who got injured in the 2nd half and was replaced and Wilfred Ndidi that pulled a hamstring at the tail end of the match to leave Leicester City suffered a casualty in that match.

    Can any one say why Ahmed Musa, the prolific Nigerian Super Eagles top goals scorer has not been played in any of the Nigeria qualifiers for both the 2019 Afcon and the 2018 World Cup since he got married to the Akwa Ibom Christian girl? Who is it or are those who has/have issued an order to Gernot Rohr, the Nigerian Super Eagles coach not to be playing him because he divorced his home town Kano Muslim wife to marry a South Eastern Nigerian girl? I am not insinuating anything. But Ahmed Musa, a Nigeria unity forger by his marring a Christian girl from the South East of Nigeria is still a very good Nigeria senior national team player to be ignored on the bench just like that when the Super Eagles are playing.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    We’ve not survived so far o! I don’t want to see anything bad happening to the Gunners, no so soon as they’ve recovered from their slow start to the season and are now mounting serious challenge in all the competitions they are competiting in to win them.

    Koscielny is Achilles and Chambers is said to be muscularly injured. While Debuchy is reportedly out of sight. And now Mustafi is reported to have suffered a reoccurrence of muscular thigh injury for Germany and Arsenal in the Germany World Cup qualifying match against Azerbaijan. this injury could sideline him for a long spell according to media reports. 4 senior Arsenal first team defenders are now out injured out of the 8 Arsenal have on board. Thus, leaving Le Prof with a tough back three selection decision to make for our away PL match to Watford late on Saturday. Hmmm.

    Holding Mertesacker Monreal
    Bellerin Ramsey Xhaka Kolasinac
    Iwobi Lacazette Sanchez.

    Ospina Coquelin Elneny Maitland-Niles Welbeck Ozil Giroud.

    Despite injury to Mustafi,:Arsenal still have a strong starting XI and a strong bench from their first team squad choose from and play them in this our Watford game and put them to sword on Saturday at the Vicarage Road. So, when the Gunners go there, let them do the job accordingly by collecting all points at stake in the game. By not having Mustafi in the Arsenal lineup for this match won’t be an excuse on any ground for the Gunners to drop any points whatsoever in this match. I’ve decided not to include Walcott in my 18 man Gunners squad for this match because of our important away Europa League match against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday the 19th next week in which Wilshere and him will be expected to start the match. And Le Prof should be introducing Ozil and Welbeck as 2nd half substitutes away to Watford and Everton in the PL to allow the duo to first get over their likely match rustiness gently game by game to enabled them get fully match lubricated before starting them in our home PL match at the Ems against Swansea City. On no any account, save for any unavoidable reasons should Le Prof decides to start any of the two against Red Star Belgrade at away in our EL Cup match and at the Ems against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup match. Their injury recoveries recently gained should be excused Cup game playing time to settle in properly.

  • WalterBroeckx

    We still got Per so don’t worry 😉 I think he should be able to play Saturday and then the next Thursday. Don’t know about Sunday then but why not?