Date: 19th March 2007 at 11:13am
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The frustration of Arsenal fans is evident from all corners of the world, the exit from 3 cup competitions in 10 days too much to bear for some Gooners and the latest defeat at Goodison park with seconds left was the final straw.

The goal shy Gunners capitulating in their first season at Ashburton Grove, just what the Spuddies wanted.

Time to get worried?

Not just yet.

The current form of the Arsenal is extremely frustrating, indeed I’m not sure my vocal chords will hold out for much longer, but many a Gooner, now desperate for a run of consecutive victories, have now heard the criticism of the Spurs fans so often that they are starting to believe it.

I offer you ‘injuries’.

A lame excuse some may say……….nah ah, FACT.

Stability is an important factor in football, the need to feel a bond on the pitch is just as great as technical ability. It’s vital, at the highest level in football that each player knows what his brother is going to do without asking, or indeed looking. The double winners of 2002 and the invincibles of 2004 had, for most of the time, a constant starting line up, with only a few injuries.

We seem to be leaking goals for fun from set pieces of late, and Mr Stillman provided the statistic that if you have more than four set pieces around the Arsenal goal, history predicts you are likely to score.

Hardly surprising when your two best central defenders (Toure & Gallas) have played less than 10 times together in the centre of defence. Is it surprising when your right back has only started 14 Premiership games and your first choice left back 17?

Since the turn of the year the mighty Gunners have increasingly found it difficult finding the back of the net. Coincidence that our two top goal scorers Theirry Henry have been injured for almost the entire time? Perhaps. But when you consider that out of 29 league games we have played this season Henry has started 16 (and he has been injured for the majority of those) whilst the deadly Robin van Persie has only started 17 then it might be easy to see why we lack in goals.

The young players we have are undoubtedly going to go on and do great things, but the lack of Premiership experience & stability have cost us dear this season.

While it would be blinkered of me to suggest that once these players return that we will, without a doubt, go on to win the league with a full squad of fit players, the same could also be said about people who are genuinely worried about whether or not we can compete at the highest level when the best players (and lets face it, that’s not opinion, that’s fact) have spent the majority of the season on the sidelines.

 

40 Replies to “Fit Players Are The Key”

  • So what you’re really saying is that the squad players aren’t good enough?…………..Who’s faults that then. Also why do we consistently get so many injuries, some of it can be put down to bad luck but certainly not all of it.

  • I didn’t understand the rationale yesterday of playing 3 players out of position at the back in order to cover the LB position. Clearly though the big problem is not putting chances away and that is all down to injuries.

  • Show me a team who’s back up players are just as good as their first team players!!!!!!! Putting one or two in at a time is fine, but replacing an entire team will just not work. So what do you think is causing the injuries?

  • The key thing Wenger has to think about is balance. Having an entire squad full of stars just doesnt work, just ask Real Madrid. He needs good young players coming through who will be about to reach their peaks as older players such as Gilberto, Henry, Gallas and such retire. These players are excellent prospects and the talent is unquestionable, but they are far from the finished products. They are more than capable of filling in (one or two players excluded) but when these players have to have a susstained run in the team due to inury, it is obvious that it will have an adverse effect on the team. How can it not?????

  • Imagine where Man Utd season would be without Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Neville & Giggs, or Chelsea without Drogba, Lampard, Terry, and Essien, or Spurs without, Berbatov 🙂

  • Chelsea have lost one player for a long period and it is apparently the reason they’re not going to win the title. The reason nobody realises the injury list is because Wenger never offers it as an excuse. If United had been without Saha, Rooney and Solskjaer this weekend, who would have been upfront? Alan Smith on his own. If Chelsea would have lost Drogba, Shevchenko and Kalou, who would their strike force have been? Robben on his own.

  • Some of Wenger’s team selections are strange. Why play Gilberto in defence when we could have had a back four consisting of Hoyte Toure, Gallas and Flamini. Gilberto and Diaby in midfield would give additional cover in front of this defence (sounds familiar – Paddy and the fellah with pony tail!!) with Cesc and Rosicky/Hleb creating for the 2 front runners who are really our weakest link. If Flamini won’t play at left back then he should be on his bike!

    I agree that other teams would be in the **** without there 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice strikers.

    Wev’e just got to tough it out and hope Arsene reads some of the blogs!

  • Man utd did have injury problems this weekend & still won against bolton easily…………………..Everyone always uses real madrid as an example of how buying big names doesn’t work, however they always neglect to mention the likes of Juventus who were regularly winning their league or now Inter Milan, Barcelona or chelski. Also people are overlooking the fact that real madrid were successful with big names & I seem to remember a classic goal by zidane winning them the champions league……………Chelski have been without a fair few players this season, Terry, both coles, bridge, ballack etc etc & they are still second in the league & still going for 4 trophies with a realistic chance of winning 3, so you wouldn’t call that a bad season. Arsenal are not improving, but some fans seem to blindly follow whatever Wenger says. “The team is better than last season”, oh it must be true cos Arsene said it. Who are we really missing through injury that would make a difference?? Henry, probably but then we didn’t do any better last season. Rvp?? He has never scored 20+ goals a season so people are just guessing that he would, with nothing to back it up. Other than those two who are we really missing???………………..Rocky, I blame Wenger & the coaching staff for the constant injuries over the past two years, it would seem a very strange coincidence that half our team at one point or another has gone down with groin or hamstring injuries!!

  • Wenger is saying we lost yesterday through lack of maturity?? Well sorry but I don’t buy it. Seven of the starting 11 were 25 or over & all but Hoyte in defence were over 25 with tons of experience. Wenger is getting the team selection wrong time after time & then blaming the one or two kids for each defeat!! A few years ago, Wenger said he couldn’t risk youngsters because they cost you points then just a couple of years later he bases his whole team on youth?? Gallas & Henry have both said that playing nice football means nothing if you keep losing & they are right!! Andy Gray, for once in his miserable exsistance got something right yesterday when he questioned what these constant defeats would actually do long term to the youngsters?? Some may grow from it, but others like Manninger in the past won’t be able to cope with it!!

  • There is no need to panic what-so-ever.

    We’ve had injury nightmares down to two reasons, bad luck and the world cup. When everyone is fit, we are unstoppable and score bundles. This season is a shame, but we got to the carling cup final and probably champs league place for next season.. which is a hell of a lot better than those punks across the road. Im really looking forward to next season, and Wenger’s right, we dont need anybody, we’ll be fitter, stronger and more hungry next season and everyone better watch out… because the gunners are gunning for everything

  • We’re not improving? Barring a complete colapse, we will finish the season with more points than last season, we got furthr in both FA and League cups than we did last season, the only competition we have done worse in is the CL. That is an improvment, you cant argue, its there in black and white. We’ve moved to a new home which is never easy, and we’ve done this with massive injuries. Come the end of the season van Persie will have missed 5 months through injury yet still has scored 13 goals, I can only speculate whether or ot he would reach the 20+ mark, but he would have more of a chance then without playing, no? Henry has frequently scored us 25+ goals, and despite not being fit at all this season he’s still got 10 in the league, how many points would a fully fit Henry gained us? And finally, and stable back four, playing week in week out, will have had a better chance at defending set pieces. With regards to the injuries, to blame Wenger for injuries is very speculative, but not implausable I guess.

  • R7- come on now, you always seem like an intelligent guy. We managed to get to the cc final, so yes an improvement on last season by 1 game, we went one round further in the fa cup but went out 3 rounds earlier of the cl. Will we get more than 67 points in the league with games against spurs, newcastle & liverpool away & chelski & bolton at home?? It will certainly be touch & go on that one………………With regards injuries, who’s to say we won’t have the same problems next year?? We need a better squad.

  • You’re right AG, United and Chelsea have had injuries this season. Chelsea miss J.Cole, they missed Cech and Terry when they were out. Look at their form when Cech and Terry were out! United haven’t had a serious injury to a key player this season. As for the whole buying stars thing, it works short-term, so it’s only sustainable if you’re filthy rich. When you have a team full of mega stars you end up with a bunch of arrogant so n so’s who think they have a divine right to win every game, and as a result of that their inupt reduces. Arsenal are not improving? Are you insane? We’re 14 points better off now than at this stage last season, that sounds like improvment to me. Gallas has been out most of the season, Henry has been out or playing injured most of the season, Baptista has had his fair share of injuries, Rosicky too. Van Persie has played 25 games and got 16 goals, that’s a goal every other game. He was 4 goals short of the 20 you mentioned when he got injured, I think we can safely say he would have helped alot if he was still fit. To say Arsene is to ‘blame’ for this season is a bit out of order, he has made this club what it is today. He is putting together a team that has so much potential it’s frightening. It COULD be more sucessful than teh Liverpool team of the 80’s and the United team of the 90’s. Great teams are not built over night.

  • We do need a better squad AG, and we will do next season, even if it’s only through youngsters like Denilson, Diaby, Walcott and Djourou making massive improvments.

  • Ashburton gooner…. we dont need a better squad…. perhaps maybe one addition, but other than that we have a fantastic team, and the only thing thats let us down is Henry and Van Persie. we’ve always conceeded goals from set pieces, but because we scored 4 or 5 down the other end, no1 notcied or complained. Once we get Henry, RVP, Walcott back and Baptista has a few more months adapting watch us take off….

    will everyone calm down, its not a crisis… least we aint spurs and having the season of their lives and still 7th and got knocked out the semi final by our kids……..

  • Rvp had scored 13 goals in 25 starts & 6 sub appearances!! So he was 7 short of that 20 mark. I don’t agree about the potential of the team, I see a couple of outstanding youngsters in Diaby & Denilson (I won’t include cesc because he has been a first team regular for a long time now, so we already expect it from him). Other than those two I don’t see anything outstanding at all. Hoyte, Walcott, Adebayor, Aliadiere, Senderos & Co have all looked average at best & certainly not one of those has ever looked like going on to be a world class.

  • do you watch the same games AG? Adebayor is class.. he’s 21 and works his arse off…. he has the potential to be great. Walcott has come on at times and changed the game. he is 18 for heavens sake! just chill and watch. Wenger knows!

  • Rocky you asked why we get so many injuries. Well the freak injuries like RVP broken toe can happen to any team but the strains that we have had tons of this season I beleive are for 2 reasons. The first and probably smaller reason is the way we train. wenger trains his players like sprinters and I heard rosicky saying that he was surprised at how intense the training was with so many games.
    secondly, and most importantly, this season we have struggled on the pitch and are rarely able to cruise through a game, like in the past (2004) where at least a third of our games were virtually wrapped up by half time. this season we are playing at 100% of effort (beleive it or not) for the full 90 mins trying to get a draw a win or even trying desparately to hold a slender single goal advantage. Compare this with Man U or chelsea who are usually 2 goals in front with 30 minutes to play. combine this with the 2 games a week factor and heavy training and you can see the immense strain that the players bodies are under. its also a snowball effect. If you have a tough game on a wednesday and play again on the saturday, the players may be feeling the effects just slightly on the saturday from the previous game. any slight tightness of a muscle followed by another tough 90 minutes will lead to an injury. So really what I am saying is when teams are playing well and being able to relax in second halves of games, they pick up fewer injuries to key players.

  • Blaming Wenger on the injuries is ridiculous. We lacked a coherent pre season this year due to 13 players going to the world cup. Next season will be different. RVP would have got 20 this season injury free and he broke a bone in his foot. I don’t remember seeing Wenger tackle him! Freak accident. Henrys injury has been carried for months(flying half way round the world for friendlies doesnt help). Walcott brought the injury from Southampton, Gallas was flogged to death by Chelsea (and went to the world cup final). Eboue got smashed up by Morton Gamst. I know you like a moan AG, but at least try be plausible. Fabregas and Toure do the same training sessions as everyone else and haven’t missed a game barring suspensions.

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