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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 14
By Dale Higginbottom
In the cold sobriety of an equally cold Monday after a two-day football hangover I can’t help but feel still a little unsure and unstable as I write this. The first home defeat to the Tiny Totts in well, a while, is hard to take but I still, for some reason, feel optimistic.
The commemorative mugs, DVDs, tea-towels and whatever else are already being churned out on the Tiny Totts Merchandise production line so they’ll be cashing in on this result very soon. It’s a double shame for us really, we lose to the Tinies and there’s the disappointment and lost points but then their Merch team goes into overdrive and as a result our poor performance helps their finances. It just makes the bitter defeat pill even harder to swallow.
Anyway, we must get back to business and as usual, here’s our weekly round-up of injuries.
Arsenal Vs Tottenham
Arsenal (5 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – Almunia (8)
- Defence – Vermaelen (11)
- Midfield – Frimpong (13), Ramsey (14), Diaby (7)
- Attack – No injuries reported
Additional issues: Wilshere was a doubt but was fit enough to make the bench and was an unused substitute.
Tottenham (7 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
- Defence – Dawson (11), King (8)
- Midfield – O’Hara (14), Huddlestone (3), Kranjcar (1)
- Attack – Keane (4), dos Santos (3)
Additional issues: Woodgate, not in the 25-man squad, is not included in this list despite being injured. Defoe made a return from his long-term injury to play the second half, replacing Lennon who after also returned after an injury.
Man Utd Vs Wigan
Man Utd (5 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
- Defence – Smalling (1)
- Midfield – Valencia (10), Anderson (8), Hargreaves (13)
- Attack – Owen (6)
Additional issues: Rafael and Ferdinand were doubts but both played 90 minutes. Giggs and Rooney made the bench after their injuries and Rooney made a second half appearance and Giggs was an unused substitute.
Fulham Vs Man City
Man City (5 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
- Defence – Lescott (2), Richards (3), Boateng (6)
- Midfield – M. Johnson (14)
- Attack – Tchuimeni-Nimely (11)
Additional issues: Barry, Tevez and Hart were all doubts before the game but all three started. Adebayor was reported to have a knock but was on the bench and an unused substitute.
Liverpool Vs West Ham
Liverpool (4 injuries)
- Goalkeeper, attack – No issues reported
- Defence – Agger (8),
- Midfield – Cole (4), Gerrard (1), Spearing (1)
Additional issues: Johnson and Aurelio returned from injury, Johnson Played 90 minutes and Aurelio cam on as a second half substitute. Skrtel and Kuyt were also reported as doubts but both played 90 minutes.
Birmingham Vs Chelsea
Chelsea (4 injuries)
- Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
- Defence – Terry (3)
- Midfield – Lampard (11), Benayoun (9), Zhirkov (1)
Additional issues: Alex returned but reports say that he was not playing at 100% despite playing the full 90 minutes.
Ok, so we lost a game to our rivals. All that means is that St Totteringham’s day will have to be a week later than we thought. It does seem that our home form has taken a dip of late but the intensity of the next few games will bring our players back up to full fitness and motivation and give some of our recently benched players (RvP, Walcott, Bendtner) a game and improve their fitness and confidence.
We can’t really put our result down to injuries as we can see that Spurs have actually taken the lead on that front but at least now we’re on a bit more of a level footing when compared with the others.
Liverpool, City and United all had good wins this week and so closed the gap a little at the top. United seem to be in an improving injury position compared to the past weeks. They’ve overcome the dodgy spell with their virus-ridden squad and the return of Rooney might help them to step up a level. City had no concerns this week and have clawed back some ground on the leaders that they lost in recent weeks. Liverpool coped well enough without Gerrard but I doubt that this can be maintained throughout his absence given the frequency of games in the Premier League and the little European cup.
Chelsea did us a massive favour, again following suit with a defeat after we have also lost. They really should have won that game given the chances but when you have a weak midfield and the first team are not firing, you look to the bench. However, when you see a bench of Turnbull, Bosingwa, Van Aanholt, Bruma, McEachran, Sturridge and Kakuta, it doesn’t strike you with much hope, does it Chelsea fans?
I find it interesting to compare Liverpool and Chelsea here. They have very similar injury profiles yet the so-called team to beat, Chelsea, cannot cope with these few absentees. I wonder how they might cope up at St James’ Park next week against a Newcastle team that will want to prove something after their 5-1 defeat to Bolton.
As we had the discomfort of international games in mid-week I thought it was time for another quick round up of injuries picked up as a direct result of international games.
Again, as was the case last time, we have not had any additional injuries from this latest international break, which is always a bonus. We’re so used to getting injuries as a result of FIFA’s pointless internationals that it almost comes as a shock to have the same players available after the break as we did before.
Arsenal (Total 23)
Vermaelen (11), Fabregas (1), Walcott (4), Bendtner (7)
Chelsea (Total 1)
Liverpool (Total 13)
Agger (7), Kuyt (5), Gerrard (1)
Man City (Total 8)
Boateng (6), Lescott (1), Richards (1)
Man Utd (Total 12)
Ferdinand (5), Anderson (4), Park Ji-Sung (2), Smalling (1)
Tottenham (Total 22)
Dawson (11), Defoe (10), Kranjcar (1)
We have a slight lead in this small study but there is a massive gathering of international injuries in North-London. The injuries from the international break just before gameweek 4 are where the numbers add up. Vermaelen for us and Defoe and Dawson for the Tiny Totts are big losses and continue to be in the case of the two defenders.
I think the problems of this international break were not a case of injuries but, like Walter said in his previous article, a case of fitness and planning. The break must have meant that it was difficult for players to switch back to club football for an early Saturday game. Arsenal’s strategic strength is in it’s teamwork and intelligence and if players are told to think and play differently whilst with their compatriots, I can see it being sometimes difficult to switch that off and get back to the gorgeous, flowing football that we’re used to at Arsenal.
Thankfully there is a bit of a break from these pointless games so we can’t get any more of these injuries for a while and Wenger will now be able to prepare properly for the coming games.
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