West Ham Untidy v Arsenal in the world of post-fact football

By Bulldog Drummond

Yes this is the world of post-fact football.  A world in which facts are just irrelevant, unnecessary and so last-century, because now we have OPINIONS.

As all football journalists now openly acknowledge, facts get in the way of the free flow of beautiful prose.   Facts are too complicated for football supporters to take in.  For fans live in world devoid of facts and are taught by their leaders that facts are unnecessary (listen to a Boris Johnson speech for example).

Facts require journalists to work because they are pesky little things that are of irrelevance to the wider world.  And above all people simply don’t want facts.

Except well yes, the odd fact does slip in.  Like the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang always has a wonderful winning smile when scoring, or when celebrating signing a contract.  I hope he has trademarked that smile, and has some good post-career advertising campaigns lined up!

But to be serious, let’s move on to today in the Guardian ahead of the WHAM game.  Here we have talk of Arsenal’s feel good factor (a non-fact if ever there was one).  But wait, there is more, because it is vital to drop into any pre-match preview (I know that is tautology but so is “self-isolate” when it comes down to it) the notion that although Arsenal beat WHAM last time around WHAM were “mightily unfortunate to “lose to Alexandre Lacazette’s goal”.

Which presumably means that if they had lost to a Bobby Gould goal that wouldn’t have been unfortunate.

On a more positive note they tell us “Aubameyang looks to have been further energised by the fluidity Willian has brought to Arsenal’s attack and that relationship should receive further opportunities to flourish here.”

That’s an opinion.

So shall we try a few facts?  Yes I hear you cry (metaphorically of course for these are the days of lock down).   Here’s the injury league table

Last update: 17/09/20 16:09:46

  • Chelsea: 9 players injured
  • Arsenal: 8 players injured
  • Crystal Palace: 7 players injured
  • Newcastle United: 6 players injured
  • 12 clubs on 5, 4, 3, or 2 players injured
  • West Ham and three others on 1 player injured

So what on earth is going on at Arsenal?  It must be that bloody Wenger with his crazy training techniques, over-training them, putting down the wrong grass, telling the players to stretch the wrong muscles, getting them to run too much and too fast…

[Mr Bulldog Drummond has been taken away to a darkened room for a while, while I, Poodle Drummond, his son, will take over the column for the foreseeable future…]

Although to be serious for a second, it is odd that we have so many injuries so early in the season. Still at least Chelsea are never knowingly outdone on this score.

Here’s the table of the knocked over as all taken from Physioroom.com

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Status
Shkodran Mustafi Thigh Injury Aug 25: “Positive progress, is now off crutches with good mobility. Aiming to return to full training in October.” 31/10/2020 Ruled Out
Pablo Mari Villar Ankle/Foot Injury Aug 25: “Progressing well and has now stepped up rehab. Started running inside, alongside gym and pool work. Aiming to return to full training in September.” 26/09/2020 Ruled Out
Sokratis Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Sept 11: “Sustained mild strain to right calf in training. Aiming to integrate back into full training within the next week.” 19/09/2020 50%
Granit Xhaka Ankle/Foot Injury Ankle Injury 19/09/2020; being assessed 75%
David Luiz Moreira Marinho Upper Back/Neck Injury Sept 11: “Neck spasm. Currently being assessed and undergoing treatment with good response.” No Return Date Ruled Out
Emile Smith Rowe Shoulder Injury Sept 11: “Protective sling will be removed by the end of next week and aiming to integrate back into training soon afterwards.” No Return Date Ruled Out
Gabriel Martinelli Knee Injury Aug 25: “Due back in the UK on Aug 31. Will step up his rehab with the aim of a return to full training by the end of the calendar year.” No Return Date Ruled Out
Calum Chambers Knee Injury Aug 25: “Will continue with running outside and light ball work. Aiming to be back in full training as soon as possible this calendar year.” No Return Date Ruled Out

So do we have anyone left?  Hopefully we have Aubameyang who will play in the back line, midfield, forward line and be captain.  He could also take over as linesman if need be.

And the ultimate irony is that the one and only player who is in trouble with an injury at West Ham is… Jack Wilshere who has an ankle sprain.

Let’s finish off for now with West Ham so far this season

Date Match Result Score Competition
08 Sep Southend United v West Ham United W 1-3 Football League Trophy
12 Sep West Ham United v Newcastle United L 0-2 Premier League
15 Sep West Ham United v Charlton Athletic W 3-0 League Cup

So, powerful victories over Southend and Charlton in the Trophy and League Cup, but oh dear, bit of a slip against Newcastle Un.

We’ll look at this further, anon.

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