By Bulldog Drummond
There’s an interesting headline in the Guardian this morning ahead of tonight’s game in the Europa League. It reads “Laurent Koscielny to face Qarabag on Arsenal return amid injury crisis”
So since we normally run an injury review ahead of each game I thought naturally that we should do the same now, taking our figures as ever from Physioroom. Just to check the injury crisis…
|Position||Number of injuries||Club|
|2||8||West Ham United|
|3 – 4||7||Liverpool!|
|3 – 4||7||Tottenham Hots|
|5 – 6||6||Newcastle United|
|5 – 6||6||Manchester United|
|7 – 8||5||Southampton|
|7 – 8||5||Huddersfield Town|
|9 – 13||4||Arsenal|
|9 – 13||4||Bournemouth|
|9 – 13||4||Cardiff City|
|9 – 13||4||Leicester City|
|9 – 13||4||Watford|
So we are between 9th and 13th in the table, which means that all the clubs down to 13th (ie the top 65% of the clubs in the league) have an injury crisis. In short, the Premier League has an injury crisis!
Now you may be wondering why Untold so regularly quotes the Guardian and Telegraph on these matters. The point is these are both newspapers and websites that express themselves to be at the heart of serious news reporting. The Guardian in particular has a big thing about getting stuff right.
Except with football where although its facts are generally correct its headlines and implications are as often as not, when it comes to Arsenal, horribly wrong. One might even say biased. You may recall the notorious “Arsenal had only two players who scored in double figures last season” which started this all off. Turned out only five PL teams had two players who scored in double figures. We were in the elite not in the shockingly awful.
But because the Guardian regularly refuse to give us the full details of Arsenal’s position compared with everyone else’s a lot of people reading the headline will just think – here we go again: bad training systems, terrible pitch, inept manager etc etc. It is part of the negative negative negative thing that they do.
As it is Arsenal sits mid-table with regards to injuries. So let’s see who we have got…
|Player||What’s wrong?||When back?||News||Tonight?|
|S Mustafi||Hamstring||Dec 13||Late Fitness Test|
|R Holding||ACL Knee Injury||No Return Date||Out for the season||No|
|D Welbeck||Ankle Injury||No Return Date||Two successsful operations||No|
|K Mavropanos||Groin Strain||December 22||“Expected to return to full training in December.”||No|
Is this a crisis, I ask again. Three men out of 25 are out. And we have probably the biggest collection of under 21s available as serious contenders to play, out of any team in the Premier League. (I say “probably” because looking at the team selections of other teams they are not using as many youngseters as Arsenal, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have some gems lurking there. I don’t study them enough to know for sure).
Within their article the Guardian restructures the argument a little saying
“Arsenal have a defensive crisis on their hands as they approach Sunday’s trip to Southampton, with Rob Holding out for the season, Konstantinos Mavropanos still out with a groin injury, Shkodran Mustafi struggling with a hamstring problem and Sokratis Papastathopoulos suspended. That could mean Koscielny will be asked to play twice in four days.”
Yes it could do, but it could also mean Kos will play half a match tonight just to stabilise the team and then all being well, could play against Southampton. Or we could have Mustafi and Sokratis for Southampton – that’s a simple solution.
The other news the paper comes up with quotes Mr Emery as saying
“We can use another player … someone like Nacho Monreal, who is also with us and in his career he played in this position. We are going to decide but the first is to think about the match tomorrow because we need to receive information on how he can feel…”
As for Özil Mr Emery said, “I don’t know. He is in the group, there are 18 players in the squad for this match and I am going to decide if he plays … from the beginning or during the match in the 90 minutes.”
So now we have some members of the squad from this and other bits picked up en route (noted with a question mark).
Cech, Martinez (on the basis that we must have two keepers)
Koscielny, Monreal, Jenkinson? Kolasinac?
Maitland-Niles? Elneny? Guendouzi? Smith Rowe? Ozil
That’s 13 and I haven’t started counting the young players who have been making such a contribution of late in the League cup and in the Europa. We might also consider Zech Medley, Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock… that takes us to 16. One more name Tyreece John-Jules. 17. I’m almost there.
Of course that list is not accurate, but it’s the best I can do for this morning.
And here’s another thing that knocked me off my chair: Tony Adams has been named as the new president of the Rugby Football League. Well I never.
Finally, we’ve got a new site in which we predict the results of forthcoming matches (on the grounds that predicting the results of matches that have happened is not very exciting). Please do have a look
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.