Arsenal and the return of the injury list



By Bulldog Drummond

We have been doing quite well on the injury front until recently but now the number of men down has shot up to six.  Nelson, Partey, Elneny, and Zinchenko are all out of contention, meaning that of the injured the only two who we might hope to see at this weekend’s game are Odegaard and Ramsdale, and even there we can’t be absolutely sure.

But Arsenal are not the only team with injury problems in the Premier League.  We have six men down at the moment but higher numbers are recorded by

  • Liverpool: 10
  • Chelsea: 7
  • Newcastle United: 7

while Everton and Manchester United also have six men out, as we do.  Of those six at Manchester United, Luke Shaw and Wan-Bissaka might be ok for the game but the rest are out.

What we do have however are back-ups, and that surely must include Emile Smith Rowe who can take over from Odegaard if he is not available.

Football.London with their usual raging anti-Arsenal hysterics manage to find a negative even with Arsenal top of the league and Manchester United sitting in fifth, six points behind.   They tell us “Arsenal have failed to win at Old Trafford in the presence of fans since 2006, suggesting that the odds are against them.”

Note the input of “in the presence of fans” – anything to get a negative.  And the way Manchester United fans have behaved on some occasions, I’d say not having fans there would probably give Manchester United a benefit.

Unless I have lost someone along the way, I think our squad (the “25”) now looks like this – omitting anyone born on or after 1 January 2001 who will not be included in the 25, but can play.

Goalkeepers (2)

Aaron Ramsdale and Matt Turner

Defenders (7)

Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holdiing, Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiuasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko

Midfield (7)

Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mo Elneny, Granit Xhaka,

Forwards (3)

Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson

Now by my reckoning, that now tells me we now have 19 players in the 25-man squad.   Although to be fair we should add that omitted from the 25 but able to play are William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Marquinhos, and Gabriel Martinelli all of whom are under age.

I also should add that what normally happens at this point is that emails appear telling me who I have missed out.

What I am more certain about is that if we win we will be top of the league.  If we draw or lose we will be either top or second,  So still not a bad position, although a defeat will then have the negativists out claiming that it was our own fault for having too thin a squad.

In terms of picking the team there is a report that Paul Merson has said that Arsenal should not use Fabio Vieira in this match, but should use Emile Smith Rowe if Odegaard is not available.

I’m not sure this is the right approach, although I do know for sure that Merse knows a lot more about players and their potential than I do.

However Vieira is a player who two years ago scored in his first ever Champions League game, and indeed played 54 games for Porto in the last two seasons scoring eight goals in total.  Of course the Portuguese league is not the same as the Premier League, but those figures show he is no slouch.

Vieira was also player of the tournament in the European Under 21 Championships in 2021 and really upped his game last season after that tournament.  He also had two assist hat-tricks in the league as well as scoring six goals.

Plus he has played 21 times for the Portuguese under 21s – again not the same as Premier League football, but it shows he is not a novice.  If he is fit, I’d say he could make quite a contribution.



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