Is Arsenal or Man United injury crisis worse for EPL clash?

There is no doubt that the big game of the Premier League weekend is the trip of Arsenal to face our old rivals Manchester United, and with all of the other main players in the EPL title race playing games after us that we really expect them to win it is a hugely important away game for Arsene Wenger and his players.

As usual, however, the month of November has thrown a number of problems at the Gunners and the manager has revealed in the press conference which you can see in full on the Arsenal website that our brilliant young defender Hector Bellerin will miss the trip to Old Trafford and around the next four weeks of action as the Spanish international has an ankle problem.

That makes it six Arsenal first teamers in the treatment room as Santi Cazorla is not yet back in training and Mertesacker, Welbeck, Akpom and Lucas Perez are still out. According to the sports injury website physioroom.com we are no worse off than United though, as Mourinho is also without six players.

Two of those are Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia and there is a good chance that one or both could play against Arsenal, so is our situation worse? I do not think so personally as they are without Smalling and Bailly which weakens their defence and their centre forward Ibrahimovic is banned so United have problems at both ends of the pitch.

They have been struggling for form as well so I reckon Arsenal still go into this game as the favourites, but can we make this advantage count and come back to London with all three points?

Wenger to unleash ‘Top Quality’ Arsenal star on Hull City?

A lot of Arsenal fans and people in the football media, such as our old striker Ian Wright who is both, have been a little disappointed so far this season in how much we have seen from the big summer signing Granit Xhaka.

The Swiss international has started the two Premier League games against Leicester City and Watford and I think he did pretty well. Apart from that, however, Wenger has started with Xhaka on the bench and he did not feature at all against Southampton last weekend.

Most thought he was being saved for the Champions League but it was not to be, although he did come on and helped to steady the ship and drag Arsenal back into the game. This week the boss has been talking about his future being as a box-to-box midfielder rather than the deep lying one he was thought to be.

Wenger has also been talking up his ability ahead of this weekend’s clash with Hull, as reported by Sky Sports, so with Aaron Ramsey due back soon and with Santi Cazorla having played two hard games already this week, does this suggest that Xhaka will be unleashed against the Tigers?

The Arsenal manager said, “Every week he [Xhaka] is stronger and better. I think he will play a big part.

“He has the stature, the power the strength. Many players it took some time to get into the team, it happens.

“Look, in one or two occasions [he struggled]. I think he has adapted quite well. His physical strength and power allows him to pretend to play straight away.

“I prefer him as a box-to-box player. He has the engine to have an impact with his runs. He is highly focused. Elneny as well, both of them are focused and top, top quality.”

Would you start with Xhaka today? And if so, which position would you put him in?

Arsenal injury news a HUGE blow to Premier League challenge

At least the injury situation at Arsenal Football Club has been better this season than it has in recent years. And the fact that many of the injury problems that our players like Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have had have been impact problems, so it does look like Arsene Wenger and the bringing in of a couple more fitness and conditioning experts has had a beneficial effect.

But we still have yet to see the unlucky Jack Wilshere play this season and have missed big players like Alexis Sanchez for significant periods. Perhaps the biggest loss, however, has been the absence of Santi Cazorla in the middle of the pitch.

The little magician had really flourished in his new deeper lying position and together with Francis Coquelin to add steel and Mesut Ozil to unlock the opposition defences our midfield was the thing steering us to the title. But the latest injury update reported by The Mirror suggests that the Spaniard has suffered a setback on his road to recovery and his Achilles problem could keep him out for the rest of the season.

That would be a massive blow, especially as Wilshere looks no closer to a comeback either. So unless Ramsey or Elneny up their games considerably, will injury problems wreck yet another Arsenal title bid?

WOW! Arsenal’s MULTI injury boost gives Chelsea NO chance!

Do not get yourself too excited Gooners, because I am pretty sure that the Arsenal injury list on the sports injury website physioroom.com is a mistake. I have been trying it all day, though, and it is still showing some very good news for Arsenal fans and our hopes of giving the reigning Premier League chamnpions Chelsea a good old pasting at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

According to this list both Arsenal and Chelsea will have just a single first team player unavailable for the weekend match, with Jack Wilshere and Eden Hazard the only players in the respective treatment rooms apparently. Has Arsene Wenger been kidding us all and hiding the fact that Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are all ready to join Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on their return to the natch day squad?

I very much doubt it Gooners. When was the last time Arsenal had just one player out? It does highlight just how much top class the boss has had to do without this season though and as long as we get the Chilean striker and the German assist king back this weekend I will be more than happy and Chelsea are bound to go back to Stamford Bridge with nothing but fresh wounds to lick.

Wenger – It was NOT a mistake to play Alexis

Arsenal are preparing to face Sunderland today without their star player, Alexis Sanchez, who sustained a hamstring injury in last weeks draw with Norwich. Arsene Wenger was severely criticized by the fans as Alexis has had many scares in recent weeks and obviously needed the rest.

Wenger told the media that Sanchez had told him he felt fine to play, and he was then asked if he always used the players judgement. “Yes, but we have tests as well, we have medical tests.” he said. “We are quite sophisticated in testing our players. I had a chat with Alexis after his injury and he was adamant he felt perfect before the game because we tested his strength, stretching, all the signs we test every week were perfect. There was no obvious sign or alert before the game – it happened, do I have to take the blame? I do, but there was not an obvious mistake to select him before the game.”

I don’t know, honestly. Alexis is a hamstring [injury] but I don’t know how long it will take, it is usually a quick one to recover. Cazorla we don’t know until he sees a specalist. There is no news on that.

But le Boss also admitted that he also listens to the players in some cases. “It happens in extreme circumstances. If you ask me when you play a cup final, you don’t listen too much to the players because they are all ‘fit’! But in normal situations, sometimes you have to get the feeling from the player because at the end of the day you have to trust them.”

Well whoever is to blame, we are now going to have to do without him for at least a month, as well as Santi Cazorla who was injured just after half-time, but Wenger kept him on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes. Now he is out for four months! Things are ot good at Arsenal at the moment. We are running out of players!

Arsenal STILL sweating on LONG Alexis injury break

Despite the football media being full of positive reports about the Arsenal and Chile star Alexis Sanchez, with most of them saying that he was being sent home to Chile for a week to help with his recuperation but was expecte3d back in time to face Manchester City before christmas, it turns out that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal mediacl team are really none the wiser about how long the forward will be out of action.

As reported by the Daily Mail today, the manager himself admitted that they really did not know for sure just when he would be fit to play again, and to make it even worse, the same is true of our Spanish midfield duo Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla.

Wenger revealed, “At the moment on Alexis, Santi and Mikel (Arteta), we don’t know how long they will be out for.”

So I have no idea where the various reports about Alexis being three weeks out have come from. Hopefully it is an educated guess that will prove to be close to the mark, but should we be concerned that the Chilean could be set for a long spell in the Arsenal treatment room?

At least he will have plenty of company in there if that does turn out to be the case.

Proof Arsenal medical team HAVE improved injury problem

It might not feel like it right now to the average Arsenal fan, what with the bad news about Santi Cazorla being set for a long time out with ligament damage and he and Alexis Sanchez making it 10 first team players on the Arsenal injury list, but things are a lot better for the club on that front this season.

As revealed in a report by ESPN this week, the Gunners are not the Premier League club that has suffered the most with injury problems this season. We are not even close actually.

The figures in the report are separated into three distinct categories; the number of injuries in total, the length that the players have been out with these injuries and the total number of days missed by players dues to their various problems.

In the number of injuries section, Arsenal are only the seventh worst club with 24 and that is much better than Man City’s 35 and Man United’s 31. It is also an improvement of 55 percent on last season’s numbers.

Only 11 of those 24 have lasted for more than 10 days and that is a better record than all of our main Premier League rivals and one of the best records in the league.

The total days lost so far is 312 and while that might sound a lot, it is well below the EPL average and much better than Man City (546), Liverpool (656) and Tottenham (520) and is a massive reduction on the 1200 we had lost by this part of last season.

So was Wenger right about not needing to sign players in the summer transfer window?

Wenger – Arsenal deserved more from West Brom

While Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal were not at their best in yesterday´s trip to West Brom, the Frenchman also bemoaned his luck and said that his players deserved at least something out of the game.

In the post match interview reported on the Arsenal website the boss referred to that slip and miss from the penalty spot by the normally technically superb Santi Cazorla and suggested that it was a once on a million event that cost us at least a point.

Wenger did not sound like he was sucking on sour grapes and he made sure ti give due credit to Tony Pulis and the West Brom team for their determined and committed performance but he also clearly felt that the Gunners had made it a little too easy for them to get back into the game after we dominated the early stages and took a deserved lead.

The Arsenal manager said, “It was a bad afternoon, we missed a penalty, we gave a goal away on set-piece, that is perfect to make your afternoon a nightmare and we missed open goal chances.

“I believe that West Brom they were strong in the fight and they had 100 per cent commitment as well and you have to give them credit for that. But overall I felt it dropped a huge blow when we scored and we just had to make sure they didn’t come back with a easy goal and that is where we were disappointed today.

“But I cannot be mad at the team because they gave what they could until the last minute but we lost a bit of focus at 1-0 – at 35 minutes we were 1-0 up and then at 45 we were 2-1 down. Our defending on that level was very, very poor.

“I have seen a few [penalty misses] but I don’t really know what happened. You can talk to him and he is so disappointed and it is difficult to blame Cazorla for that.

“We have to take it on the chin and bounce back in our next game. It is a big blow today for us as if the game reflects the result then okay but when you drop points when you have come out of a game and think you have not done the maximum to produce you cannot be happy.”

Is Wenger right or were Arsenal just not good enough?

Wenger should have taken Cazorla off MUCH earlier!

Arsenal fans just love beating Tottenham, and we missed a big chance to put more distance between us in the League by only getting a draw at the Emirates yesterday, but would you say that considering our 5-1 mauling to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, we have bounced back by retrieving a point yesterday?

Wenger seemed to think that the draw felt like a win as we were behind for most of the game. He said afterwards: “I think we have shown character today because we were a bit on the ropes and we responded. Every time we have a disappointment I feel we respond well in the game after.

“When you look at the results again today you see Villa-City 0-0. Liverpool lost. We played 1-1. It just shows you that the championship will be extremely difficult for everybody. The mental qualities can have a big influence in the future and I think we need these qualities.”

We had a lot of injured players, and the ones that did play play looked very very tired, especially in the first half when Santi Cazorla may as well have been on the bench. Wenger admitted that the first half was awful: “I think mentally we weren’t at the races. We did try, you could not say we did not have the right commitment, I was not disappointed. I just saw that Cazorla, who is usually the guide in our game, didn’t get the ball. And Tottenham is a good side when you play with one player less and you have to make the game …and so in the offensive build-up Ozil was a bit isolated in the first half with not many options. Usually they combine well together.”

I think Wenger made a big mistake by not subbing off Cazorla a lot earlier, he even admitted that he was just hoping Santi would recover. “It was a very intense game with complete commitment from both sides. We suffered in the first half because Cazorla was at 30 per cent of his potential, he was dizzy. I was sitting there thinking do I take him off or not? You never know, maybe it will get better. At half-time I took him off, and in the second half we had a bit better balance.

“He is not sick, he was just dizzy and could not move, you could see that on the pitch. I did not really know what he had, so at half-time I took him off, I hope it is nothing bad, but it does not look like it, because he says he is alright now.”

I hope Cazorla is okay, but Wenger took a real risk on us going even further behind the longer he left Santi on the pitch, as we were in effect playing with ten men. You would have thought that someone with over 20 years in management would have been a bit more decisive when it mattered.

Arsenal starting XI for Bayern with BIG surprise

There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger did not pick his strongest possible Arsenal line ups for the away game at Dinamo Zagreb and the home game with Olympiacos in the Champions League. And he took plenty of stick for it as well and knows that he needs to go full bore at Bayern Munich tonight.

But that does not necessarily mean that he will start the same Arsenal XI that won at Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. In fact, I think he will make at least two changes. Santi Cazorla has been brilliant in central midfield for us but I wonder how he will cope with the pace, pressing and possession of the German giants.

Arsenal cannot afford to go behind early and so must be defensively tight and aggressive in the tackle. For me that means playing Ramsey alongside Coquelin in the middle and keeping Cazorla as an option on the bench. This frees up the right flank and I think that Wenger may just go for Walcott there and bring Giroud back as centre forward to occupy the Bayern defenders and keep the fast pace on the flanks, like so…

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Ramsey
Walcott, Ozil, Alexis
Giroud