Poor old Arsene Wenger. Another season; another injury crisis at Arsenal.
Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey are the latest to find themselves on the treatment table at the Emirates Stadium, as both hobbled off during the 2-1 win over Leicester City on Tuesday night.
Long injury list
They join Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is out of action for the next fortnight, whilst Mikel Arteta and Mathie Debuchy aren’t expected back until April. As for About Diary, your guess is as good as mine.
So, are the Gunners the unluckiest team in the world when it comes to injuries? Or, more realistically, is it something else.
Looking at the Sanchez situation in particular, in’s clear that the club have not handled it well. Wenger said back around Christmas time that the Chilean needed a rest - he went on to play 706 minutes out of 720 for the Gunners before suffering a hamstring injury.
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And then against the Foxes last night, the forward suffers a knock on his knee in the first-half. What’s the response from Wenger?
"I was ready to take him off at half-time but he said, 'no it's OK, I can go on.' When I watched him play I thought, 'No, that hasn't [got better].' Sometimes when you run it off it's just a kick but he became worse and I didn't see him in the second half,” he said in his post-match press conference, according to ESPN.
It took an additional 23 minutes of the second-half for Wenger to work out that Sanchez would have to be replaced. With the greatest respect to Leicester, was there really any need to keep their star player on the pitch injured when holding a lead.
Wenger concluded his press conference by saying: "When you get tackles like we get, sometimes when the players are a bit tired it's difficult to get out of it.”
That sounds like a suggestion that Arsenal players get targeted. More than Chelsea, or Manchester City, or Manchester United? What is the Frenchman basing this on - does he have his own dossier of facts and stats to prove it?
If Sanchez was the first, then there would be little reason to worry. But the constant problems with injuries, every single year tells you everything you really need to know.
Ramsey suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem after just nine minutes on the pitch - it wouldn’t be the first time he’s been rushed back when not ready. Last season, after a great start to the season, he suffered a thigh problem and was out for months. After returning early, the Welshman suffered a further setback.
Theo Walcott has suffered recurring problems with his ankle, knee and groin over the past few years, whilst Diary’s record of injuries is even worse. The only surprise is that Kieron Dyer isn’t in the Arsenal squad these days.
You’d love to know what goes on during a medical at Arsenal. Is it not somebody’s job to find out if a player is susceptible to injury? Of course, the odd player might slip through the net, but not as many as Arsenal have seen in recent seasons.
Presuming that Arsenal, a huge Premier League club operating at the elite level, are doing their job in this department, that can only lead to questions over Wenger’s use of players. He is slow to react when it comes to making substitutions and too quick to bring players back into the fold when they return.
Sending an injured player back out to play because he says he is fine is bordering on insanity. No player comes off if he can still get back on the pitch. The decision must be taken out of his hands.
The situation with Sanchez is just another example of Arsene Wenger failing to deal with an injury situation at Arsenal and ultimately making it worse.
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