Friday, March 29, 2013

Arsenal & injuries meet again

So Abou Diaby has been ruled out for 9 months (that's enough time to deliver a baby) due to tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. I think we all feel bad for him and wish him a speedy recovery. It's quite a shame that a 26-year midfielder with such a towering physique has only been able to play 177 times for Arsenal since joining the club in January 2006. He was often likened to Patrick Vieira because of his ability on the ball in addition to his tough presence - but now those comparisons seem like a distant memory.

Speaking of memories, another Arsenal injury brings up one. I wrote an article (click here to read it. It's about groundhog day and Arsenal's seasons) on April 26th 2011. Well, correct me if I'm wrong but absolutely nothing has changed since then. You can compare everything that was written on that post and you'll notice that Arsenal's plight might actually have gotten worse.

Of Arsenal's current squad, here are the injuries (again): Gibbs (illness), Walcott (pelvic injury), Wilshere (who was already out for a huge chunk of the past year - ankle injury) and now Diaby. When these common injuries happen one or two seasons in a row, you can blame it on luck. When it happens for over 6-7 seasons, then you've got to start questioning the physical strength of Arsenal's players. I strongly believe (like I did back in April 2011) that Arsenal's regular injuries are down to 3 things:

1 - Their training regime. I have no idea how they train or what exercises they do, but by the looks of it, they aren't doing enough to make their players resistant to injuries. The simple fact that most of their players who had been injured often at their club (Fabregas, RVP...etc) went on to leave and found themselves fit for long periods of time, just goes to show that those players, with new and better training regimes, just got better stronger physically. Arsenal are doing it wrong.

2 - The overuse of the same players. Arsenal's squad is so thin that they keep depending on the same players over and over again. Whereas other clubs rest their key men in competitions like the FA Cup or League Cup and play second string individuals, Arsenal still put out their best squad (which is a respectable thing to do) all the time, but to be a top club they should have enough players to rest the main men too and depend on other players. By the mid-point of the season, the majority of their players struggle with fatigue.

3 - Keeping the ball on the ground. They don't play in Spain, Italy or France, where teams have more time on the ball. The Premier League is so fast (and sometimes incapable of understanding the use of tactics) that keeping the ball on the ground incites one thing - tackles. Looking back at all those players who broke their legs at Arsenal over the past few seasons (Eduardo, Diaby, Ramsey), all of them were victims of dangerous play and it's not a coincidence. You keep the ball on the ground (especially with your back to goal), you're basically inviting teams in England to tackle and hurt you.

Arsenal fans are obviously going to disagree with this, but the results and outcomes speak for themselves. There's no justification for so many injuries every season. It's not luck. It's not unfortunate. They've got to stop playing the blame game and find the source of the problems. As for Diaby, I do think that the list below of his injuries (that's a crazy list) could lead to a possible early retirement. Let's hope not. No player deserves that.

1 comment:

  1. Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.