It’s Christmas Time, a season for unwrapping presents, making gingerbread houses, and a time for Wenger’s squad of gingerbread people to start getting decimated.
It’s almost a yearly tradition now. Once the festive period comes and the games start coming thick and fast, Arsenal’s squad starts getting injured. And it’s not just a couple of fringe players or non-performers; it’s a whole band of first team regulars. And key ones at that.
Last year it was reported that Arsenal had suffered 25 injuries up until late December. Koscielny, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil and Arteta were all missing games around Christmas. A year before that, it was Giroud, Gibbs, Ozil, Ramsey, Sanogo, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the perennially injured Diaby, who weren’t in action in the period around Boxing Day. In 2011 Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs were all victims to long term injuries, but at least the physios kept Robin Van Persie fit. It seems that whenever Wenger needs to have more players in his rotation, the opposite happens, and half his squad is sidelined. The effect of the injuries have on odds of winning the Premiership can be found at Premier League betting.
At the moment of writing there are seven injured first team players, Alexis Sanchez, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Jake Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. Of course we are being a little generous here by considering Rosicky as a first team player, but none the less these are all key members in their positions and any manager would have problems assembling a title challenging eleven from those remaining fit (especially now when the whispers that this can actually be the year when the Gunners finally win back the league title have become much louder.)
Out of the afore mentioned seven, Alexis and Arteta are closest to making their returns, with Arsene Wenger claiming before the match with Southampton that they were expected to be the first to make their comebacks from injury. This is good news for supporters since Alexis has been instrumental for Arsenal whenever he’s played, and Arteta is always a stable presence. But it must come as a worry to fans that the last game the duo played was over a month ago. They’ll definitely need some time to return to full match fitness.
Next in line for a return is the duo of knee injury recoverees, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck. Rosicky has been out since he got injured while on international duty in the Czech Republic’s 2-1 loss against Iceland. Following the surgery on his knee his agent optimistically declared that Tomas will be back in two months time, but evidently that hasn’t been the case and his client has been on the sidelines for seven months now. And even though now he is only a depth option for Arsene’s midfield, his experience could be invaluable in a season like this one.
Welbeck’s injury has been a really problematic one for Arsenal as well, with his time on the sidelines constantly being prolonged. At the moment, if you are feeling optimistic, you can hope that he’ll come back to full training in January. However, you would have a better chance to win season tickets to the Emirates with Casinoshorts.com or name all UK casino sites than to accurately predict his date of return.
Those were the more “positive” injury updates, and what’s coming next is all doom and gloom. Jack Wilshere, according to Wenger will not be back before February, but considering his history with ankle injuries he will probably be out for longer. And that’s bad news for fans, since the boy who was touted as England’s next saviour and home-grown Xavi, will probably be missing when Xavi’s former club come to town in February.
And finally, Cazorla and Coquelin are both suffering from knee problems – a rupture and ligament damage respectively. And they will have to stay on the sidelines for quite some time because of the nature of their injuries. Both are extremely important to Arsenal’s title chances, with Le Coq being the only able defensive midfielder in the squad and Santi, well, being Santi.