By 1970’s Gooner
Three horrific injuries in the last five years.
A string of injuries bedeviling the whole squad throughout this season.
Djourou, van Persie and Ramsey out for the long term.
Clichy, Gibbs, Gallas, Diaby, Nasri, Rosicky, Denilson, Arshavin, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott and Bendtner. All have been out for some time when you take into account the period taken to get back to match fitness as well.
The second most fouled team in the league…
There must be a reason for all this and since I do not believe in bad or good luck or coincidences here are five very plausible reasons why Arsenal players suffer so many injuries.
1. Arsenal’s style of play
Arsene Wenger’s style play as we all know is all about possession, quick passing and continuous movement. This inevitably means that opponents either get sucked into rush tackles or deliberately foul to disturb the rhythm and momentum of the attacks.
They also get frustrated and probably feel humiliated being passed to death without getting a sniff of the ball.
We all played or are playing football at various levels and we don’t like it, do we, when this happens. Some take their frustration out on the opponents, who else?
2. Small and non physical players Vs past Wenger teams
Vieira, Petit, Silva, Henry, Adams, Keon, Winterburn, Dixon, Bould, Parlour, to name but a few. Need I say more?
This current Arsenal side is characterized by a plethora of relatively smaller, lightly built players who are highly skilled and technically gifted.
Arshavin, Fabregas, van Persie, Nasri, Rosicky, Denilson, Eduardo, Walcott, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere….
Compare these players to the list of past Arsenal masters above and you will see what I mean.
The current crop will, more often than not, get roughed up as they cannot use their built and physical power to defend themselves on the pitch.
It is no coincidence that ever since Wenger put emphasis on these type of players that Arsenal have been winning awards for fair play or for receiving minimal cautions!
It wasn’t like this when Vieira and co were around.
Add to the above the fact there is hardly a British player in Arsenal’s starting eleven these days.
And the ones that have remained in the squad are taught to play football the right way…(the only British players in Arsenal’s current squad are Walcott, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere and now Campell).
3. Young and inexperienced squad who get roughed about
One of Arsene Wenger’s explanations of that dreadful defeat at Stamford Bridge was that “our average age was 23 and theirs 29”
Yes indeed and this means that invariably Arsenal’s starting eleven is lacking in experience and game nous. They try to play proper, genuine and what I would call innocent football.
In their pursuit of perfection and desire to play the beautiful game they forget about protecting themselves. But the opponents don’t….
4. Overuse of players makes them more prone to injuries
Wenger usually refuses to invest in new players preferring to rely on the home grown talent coming through the academies.
Commendable though this is it also means that when injuries do happen it will be a young and relatively inexperienced player that will fill in.
It also means that the existing first team players may not get enough rest through rotation. And too much use of anything, be it machinery, cars or football players results in faults, erosion, injuries…
Denilson (back problems), Clichy (back problems), Gallas (back problems), Diaby (knee), Rosicky (hamstring), Arshavin (hamstring), Eduardo (hamstring) ….
5. Opponents adopt the physical approach
Yes I left it last and it is indeed a strong reason for all these injuries.
Opponents especially those out of the top four (or five now?) will decide that in order to get anything out of the game they have to adopt a strong physical approach, "rough them foreigners up and let them know who’s boss".
They have seen it get results in the past and they will always feel they have a chance against a team like Arsenal.
They get a helping hand from referees however.
They do not give enough protection to teams like Arsenal allowing hard tackles to go unpunished and keeping the yellow and red cards firmly in their pockets.
Unless really something horrible happens...