Poor old Welbz.
If what is to be believed from the The Telegraph yesterday, it could mean a month on the sidelines for a player who it’s fair to say, has had the most unlucky time with injuries since signing. It’s almost as if joining Arsenal condemned a fit player to some kind of injury curse.
It looked quite an innocuous tweak when you watch it again. A challenge with Luiz in which he takes a tumble – only for him to walk off – which I’m pretty sure back in the day used to mean the player is fine. Even today, with the technology and knowledge that physios have, when a player isn’t stretchered off you always have a hope it’s a precaution. But clearly if this worry of the club comes true you can’t put a lot of stock in seeing a player walk off.
But as I was reading the news yesterday it just highlighted the fragility of the situation we face as a club again. Welbeck, Ramsey, Koscielny, all players who have shown they can be key and can perform in an Arsenal side, all seem to be permanently hanging on the verge of the injury worry. It’s such a shame that these players can’t get through even half a season without problems, such is the value they’ve shown at times.
Welbeck’ absence means less of the high and more intense pressing and as much of a talent with the ball at his feet that Iwobi has been, his ability to high press as well as Welbeck and Alexis, means we’ll probably not get to see what a rapid high press front line we could be in store for until coming up towards November.
It’s also why you can understand why we sadly can’t put too many eggs in the ‘Welbeck stays fit’ basket, because it’s clear he’s not a man we can rely on to give us a full season.
People talk about our massive squad but those same people are probably also not appreciating that there are probably half a dozen players who – minimum – who you’d have to say are 20 – 25 games a season type players. You can’t rely on not having back ups when you know Ramsey’s hamstrings could twang at any minute, or Wilshere’s ankles could pop in training, or Koscielny’s Achilles could explode with one stretch too much. Which is why we have to stockpile.
Even after the awesome performance Ramsey had in central midfield on Sunday I saw far too many “if he can stay fit” type messages. Unfortunately his history suggests that it’s only a matter of time before we might have a problem.
So we’re left hoping. Crossing everything. Praying that the injury prone players can somehow defy probability and give us an extended time in the team. I would like nothing more to be talking about the impact Ramsey is having in January. I would be delighted to see a returning Welbeck continuously bundling scrappy goals over the line. And to have a Wilshere/Koscielny who have been managed physically so well so that they are available for key games will be a dream.
But it’s just hope at the moment. They say that’s what kills ya.
There’s not really a lot anybody can do about situations like Welbeck’s and what happened at the weekend. Injuries are sadly a part of football and good players get injured. End of.
But what I am hoping – and the signs were good after seeing the starting line up for the Cologne game – is that Arsène manages his team well. Midweek games should be exclusively reserved for rotated players whether at home or away. Tomorrow against Doncaster you’d expect that and we’ll find out more today at some stage as to who is available. But one would hope that the players I’ve listed above, as well as a few others that need to be preserved, are all done so for some of the trickier away games too. After West Brom we play BATE away and I just hope that for a game like that Arsène adopts the same approach as the Cologne game – rotation, rotation, rotation. This may sound ridiculous to some, but I’d even have Debuchy playing in a game like that because let’s face it, he’s the next in line (or should be) if Bellerin goes down with something.
So why not rotate players as midweek players? It could mean they are more match sharp in case of injury to first teamers and whilst there wouldn’t be a seamless changeover between Bellerin and Debuchy in case of injury – wouldn’t you rather be safe in the knowledge he’s at least played half a dozen games in midweek and could come in match fit for a short period of time?
I know I would.
Anyway, I’m banging the drum a little harder than usual today, so I’ll stop my racket before somebody next door calls the police for noise disturbance.
Catch you all tomorrow.