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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

We've shown we can compete says Samir

French midfielder Samir Nasri regrets that the failure to claim any silverware this season will deny the team the credit they deserve in maintaining a challenge in the major competitions through to their late stages.

Successive defeats following our exit from the CL including an inglorious late capitulation at Wigan has led to the predictable crowing and demands for 'wholesale` changes to the team from pundits and ex-players. Others have called for complete changes in our playing style and an examination of what they claim as multifarious mistakes in policy and strategies since we last won a trophy 5 seasons ago. Nasri, while welcoming the potential signing of Chamakh, wants no such major surgery saying "I am hoping that our squad will stay unchanged because we are really good and with a year more experience, we can achieve some great things next season."

Perceptions change quickly in football and in little over a week the praise the team has earned for its fighting spirit has dissipated among an understandable sense of disappointment as the hopes developed over the season have faded even though pre-season expectations and predictions have been exceeded for the most part. A couple of results can change the mood very quickly and across town our network neighbours, who had been reaching for a line to the Samaritans after defeats to Sunderland and lowly Portsmouth, the latter of which put them out of the FA Cup, are encouraged enough after just two home wins to be claiming that it is now their destiny to win the Premier League next season. Rationality doesn`t come easily to football supporters it seems.

Samir has no doubt that a plague of serious injuries, Arsenal were missing 8 players who had made up the first choice starting line up in the early part of the season against Wigan, was a primary contributor to our falling short this season.

"Injuries happen and it is part of football, but I think if we had not had those injuries, we would be top of the Premier League and still in the Champions League," said the French midfielder.

"Apart from Arsenal, I do not know a team playing without five of its best players in the quarter-final of the Champions League like we did against Barcelona and to be in such a high position in the league."

It's often hard to see any season as successful without a trophy to show for it but it is possible to finish a season with a sense of hope and expectation based on what has been achieved so far and the conditions under which that achievement has been made. Samir has no doubt that there is merit in what we have done and every reason to look forward.

"It is annoying. The work we do is not getting the credit it deserves because we are not winning silverware," Nasri said adding "This season had proved that we have everything to compete and we have learnt so much."

The club is in good shape on a number of counts and in many ways our domestic peers have more problems than we have. This summer will bring departures and recruits as every summer has always done. Perhaps not on the wholesale scale that some are demanding as that would prove counterproductive. Those that do come in will be joining a core body of significant developing talent whose best times are in front of them. There is every reason, based on what we have seen this season to expect to continue to compete for the major trophies next season and with the little bit of fortune that always goes into winning trophies the more visible rewards will also come.

In any event our unique record in being the only club to win a trophy in 9 successive historical decades has another 10 years in which to be extended - so what`s the hurry?



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 21 2010

Time: 10:18AM

Your Comments

Samir is right of course, it's just unfortunate that these comments have been extrapolated by the press following the Wigan game. I'm encouraged by the fact that there has been little talking from the Arsenal camp since Sunday. The players owe a big performance on Saturday and they have to realise that, I think it'd be no bad thing if they were exposed to just some of the criticism they will be receiving this week. A lot of the respect they earned this year will have been blown away in that ten minutes at Wigan, it's totally 100% up to them to claw that back now and finish the season strongly. If they continue to limp over the line, the dissenting voices will grow stronger. If that prospect bothers the team or the manager the slightest bit, they'll do all they can to prevent it happening.
Little Dutch
I think the priority is to understand why we suffer so many injuries and the level of competency of our medical staff. Up until recently, i thought it was bad luck but now i am not so sure. As for the players, i hope they watched the pressing of Inter's players last night, guys like Etoo, Zanetti, Lucio who have wont everything in football and still do the hard work.
Gael-Force
Could our medical staff have prevented RvP's ruptured ligaments, Cesc's cracked fibula, Ramseys broken leg or Nasri's broken fibula? What would they have been able to do about Gibbs broken metatarsal? There is a myth building up that there is somewhere some responsibility at the club for these injuries while there is always room for improvement the truth is that the club is as advanced as anyone in sports science and the fitness and well being of its players. There was a good article on the official site which tried to answer some of these questions: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/lewin-the-reasons-for-our-injury-levels
Amos.
GF, the leg break Nasri suffered in pre season was bad luck. The ankle injury Van Persie suffered under a tackle in the international friendly was bad luck as well as was the leg break of Ramsey and the hairline fracture suffered by Cesc Fabregas. Thats 4 unlucky injuries in 1 season - quite high. It is the muscular injuries which need further probing by the medical staff. Nothing one can do about fractured ligaments or bones.
Deltaforce
Damn. Swear I didn't see your comment before I typed Amos.
Deltaforce
I don't think anyone's saying every single injury is the fault of the medical department, but even in the examples cited above- Fabregas' fibula was considerably weakened because he diagnosed himself that he was able to play on with injury against Birmingham when the physio didn't even look at the injury. Gibbs picked up a foot injury three days before the Liege game when he broke his metatarsal and played anyway. Van Persie was allowed to select his own treatment for a total of three weeks before the club even bothered to look at his injury, as a result he had the surgery three weeks late. Had they looked at him straight away, he would have been back for the West Ham game. Fabregas has injured the same hamstring four times this season, Gallas, Diaby, Walcott, Denilson, Arshavin, Fabregas and Bendtner have all this season been injured, come back and lasted less than 90 minutes into their comeback before succumbing to injury again. Djourou's knee innury was misdiagnosed in August, we were told he was out for a month. By mid September, it became apparent he was out for the season and obviously, by then the transfer window had closed and we were light in that area. We were fortunate that Gallas and Vermaelen recorded flawless injury records before the signing of Campbell. To dismiss these trends, by no means exclusive to just this season, is to bury one's head in the sand.
Little Dutch
The original Gibbs injury was to his right foot playing for the U21's he broke the metatarsal of his left foot against Liege - but then he wouldn't have been playing at all but for an injury to Clichy. Didn't we have all potential left backs out at one time this season? There are always improvements to be made and things that can be handled better but little that defies simple bad luck. The existing team is a hugely experienced one in the field of sports science and they have apparently also recruited another physio with 15 years experience of working with elite athletes. Much as we would like to find some wonderful solution to the number of injuries we've had the biggest single benefit is likely to come from being a bit luckier with them.
Amos.
I don't believe in luck. Particularly when we've such a persistent history of misdiagnosis/ rushing players back. The evidence is there and it's irrefutable.
Little Dutch
The evidence is there of key players picking up much longer term "niggly" injuries as well. Said it the other day that the main reason for the bulk of injuries is Wenger not having as much faith in the back up players he's brought to the club as he says he does.
shewore
The broken legs we have suffered have been a result of bad tackles not luck (including Diaby’s on Nasri). RvP and Gibbs were injured due to bad tackles and I suspect that some of the “smaller” injuries have been down to bad tackles as well. There is a question to be asked about our medical team but I think the way we are “played” causes a lot of problems and I can’t see why this would change next season either. We could be looking at a long injury list then as well!
Sir Henry
I agree with shewore, we overplay our first choice players because the back up players are not good enough and that results in a lot of the injuries towards the end of the season. Sometimes players are forced to play with minor injuries which makes them susceptible to more serious injuries. Some of the injuries are just down to bad luck of course but every team has those. I don't blame the medical staff or think our luck with injuries is any worse than other teams. We just need better quality of players in our squad so we can rotate and rest players.
bowiecokemirror
If you haven't already read the piece from Colin Lewin it is worth a look for those who believe nothing is being done or the impact of injury control is properly understood - to the extent that even Gazidis is getting a weekly update. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/lewin-the-reasons-for-our-injury-levels
Amos.
Have to say I tend to agree with LD on this one. The consistency of it seems quite damning. Plus you've then got Arshavin in the press making back-handed comments about the medical staff.

However, there's also a lack of depth of quality in the squad.

Moorish
Thats it stay positive fellas, big game at the weekend against City, c.o.y.GOONERS
HuddersfieldYiddo
We can afford to lose to City and still make 3rd. If you beat United it might encourage us that an outside chance of 2nd is on. Who will let who down I wonder?
Amos.
I see at least a point for Citeh. I hope Mancini is dumb enough to start with Adebayor. Come on you Goons!
Glenns Return
Deja ******** who. Every year, we hear the same thing from the players. Enough with the moaning from the players about not getting enough credit - if they didn't capitulate at every sign of pressure, perhaps they'd get more credit. The Arsenal fans have given this team enough credit for the good work this season - what the outside world thinks of this Arsenal team shouldn't bother the squad.
prits
"Since August 2002, Arsenal have suffered 138 more injuries than Chelsea to first team squad members. In the same period, Arsenal have suffered 86 more injuries than Manchester United."

2009/10 AFC 79 / MUFC 55 / CFC 52

2008/09 AFC 74 / MUFC 62 / CFC 46

2007/08 AFC 60 / MUFC 53 / CFC 42

Scientists call stats like that a clear, consistent, predictable pattern--not anything to do with bad luck. That's a quote and stats I read in the Guardian. If luck is the primary factor here, then we would've seen some change in those stats, we would've had at least 1 season in the last 5 where we were not free of an injury plague. Yes, we do have bad luck but that simply is not the primary reason for this totally predictable pattern of injuries every single season.
jaelle
I'm no doctor but I seriously wonder if the muscle injuries and even some bone injuries (denilson, clichy) are down to the diet at the club. Wenger's diet obviously improved the fitness of the players that were already at Arsenal and pushed them on to greater glory, but the players we have now have been on that diet since they were still developing physically. I think serious consideration must be given to the idea that the diet while helpful for keeping them trim and fit may be harming our players who when they are still in their teens.
smithdj74
A ferrari may have awesome road performance, but the complexity and sensitivity of its systems often means it will break down when stressed. An old banger, built with soild if unsophisticated technology, can give you years of hardy, uninterruped service on the most challenging terrains, and in the most difficult circumstances. It ain't always a good thing to be too clever by 'alf'.
Tony Rocky Horror
I tend to agree slightly with TRH here, athletes are more highly tuned nowadays and when tuned for high performance, twangs and pings are more likely. Think about it, if anyone here plays amateur footie, how often do you or one of your team mates pull up with a hamstring pull during a game? Not often I'll wager. Arsenal are very highly tuned. We also demonstratably rush players back from injury, allow them to self diagnose and misdiagnose injuries regularly (again, that's utterly irrefutable). Lump in the fact that teams tend to play aggressively against us and that our short passing game to feet leads to oppoisng teams having to try and snap tackles in quickly. Going back to my first point, the dichotomy is shown by the fact that we score a lot of late goals due to our fitness over 90 minutes, but players tuned to those levels are more fragile long term. We need to find a happy medium. It's the club and the medical staff's job to do that.
Little Dutch
Those stats would have been taken from the physioroom website. There are some stats on the site at physioroom which shows the number of playing days missed by the PL clubs due to injury (but only up until 2007) which is the more telling statistic. Our record at that time was pretty average for the PL. In Chelsea's case it can just be telling us that they have a bigger squad of more physically developed players than we have which shouldn't come as a great surprise to anyone. May also be true to a lesser extent for ManU. Part of Colin Lewin's explanation is that statistically we run further as a team than our peers and produce more sprints. We've also had a higher number of traumatic long term injuries over the last few season which puts greater strain of the squad. Fewer of those and less stress is put on the overall squad. They are interesting but those stats still don't tell us anything of any great scientific merit. We could as easily find that next season we have fewer than either of them. Much as we might like to believe there is a simple explanation - frustrating as it is - it's mainly down to bad luck.
Amos.
I don't believe it can *just* be bad luck, Amos. Year in year out? Like LD says, misdiagnosis and rushing players back too fast clearly happen - with the squad so shallow in quality it's inevitable. Old Colin talks a good game but another season of appalling injuries and the process/regime on the medical side needs a serious looking at. Nasri can talk about respect all he wants but people get respect when they DELIVER. No one ever built a statue of a nearly man.
Moorish
@HFYiddo - i am sorry we can't help you this weekend. We have weak players available and will probably lose the game. Our hope is for ManUtd to beat you guys and also you lose to Mancity. That way we can be assured of our CL spot
Arseniger
Arsinger, how the mighty have fallen! Just grab a point please!
Glenns Return
You take the good cheer with you wherever you go Arseniger.
Deltaforce
I think Wenger himself admitted that they would need to find out why the club have such frequent injuries. Obviously, he didn't put it down to bad luck coz he though it worthwhile to investigate. Apart from the leg breaks (Ramsey, Nasri etc) there is a whole host of muscle injuries that continue to recur, as also the not-so-competent medical dept that we seem to have.
prits
Arsenal's injury history, in recent years, is legendary and has now become research-worthy. I won't want to put it down to merely bad luck, as that will be too simplistic. However, it is something to ponder about; do we have fewer training days/hours? Do we come off the diet regime Wenger is known to insist on? As for getting more reliable squad players in order to rotate, that is out of the question as a short term measure. No one changes a team wholesale (as many usually demand, with a few bad losses) and can expect to retain team spirit and camaraderie. It is a good thing the Physios have started looking into it as Lewin obviously, sounded concerned. It will be interesting to see how things pan out next season on the injuries side. I can only hope for the best.
Naijagunner
Good work on showing you can compete lads, now how about showing you can win...
Ozi Gooner
Jaelle, you posted somewhere in an earlier article that you would not be watching the City game. I will request that you, please, watch the game or, at least, write that you will. I have come to the conclusion that yours and Julie's words appear to have a telling effect on the result of most of our games; one way or the other (any one may research this); Lol!. If the lads apply themselves well, we should be able to win the last 3 games, really. Wenger needs to make them play as a unit facing the adversity of many injuries and needing points to guarantee 3rd place (can't believe I would be wishing for 3rd place, considering the roller coaster ride of a season the team has taken me through), in the least.
Naijagunner
First of all, this injury management situation needs to be thoroughly investigated. It is simply ludicrous. Second of all, after the past 8 days (especially Sunday), I don't want to hear one more "peep" out of an Arsenal player. As someone else said, they've had plenty of credit for some hard-won results. But Sunday was scandalous. Stop yapping about competing, get your heads down and set about winning the last 3 games to at least complete the season with dignity. But will they do this? I don't know. My confidence in them is rock-bottom. Roll on the World Cup.
julieloveshenry4ever
Ditto again to julie's post! (this happens quite often). :-) Naija, LOL at your request for me to watch the City game. I wish my viewing habits had some kind of influence over results but I've found this not to be the case. We lose or win whether or not I watch. Still, friends have urged me to get some female cojones (!! - yes, that's their way of saying it) and join them in our local "soccer bar" and watch the game--and help them fend off the windups of the supporters of other clubs who'll be there. (something I enjoy doing, actually). So by Friday night I may find those girly cojones to listen to my friends. I just hate the site of watching Ade at the Grove again, esp. if they win (and he scores)--really can't stand the guy.
jaelle
Silvestre is regularly villified by us gooners (me included), here's a nice piece that shows another side to him: http://www.onlinegooner.com/exclusive/index.php?id=1635
jaelle
Theres more about Mikael Silvestre's charity here jaelle: http://www.onlinegooner.com/exclusive/index.php?id=1635 This is why object to people calling him '****' and other abuse he seems to be suffering, he seems like a genuinely nice guy.
Gun 'Em Down
Sorry wrong link! Heres the one I meant to put: http://www.schoolsforhope.com/About/
Gun 'Em Down
Thanks for that link GEM, great stuff. Good for him, really nice to see a footballer taking the time for work like that.
jaelle
That is a nice side of Silvsetre jaelle and G'ED, personally the only sides of him I'm interested in seeing is one that can defend or his back as his walking out the door
Ozi Gooner
And I've just realised the homoerotic connotations of that last post, doh
Ozi Gooner
Coming out online is a brave first step.
paul_ownz
Jaelle, that's good enough for me. Paul, Lol! How helpful you are.
Naijagunner
What did you win in the 60's?
North Upper
Fairs Cup in 1970, that covers all decades since the 30s. A new decade doesn't begin until the year ends in 1. Spurs should know all about the year ending in 1.......
Little Dutch
I guess you could argue when a decade starts and finishes but if it makes you happy. I only asked as I remember reading Man Ure having the longest streak of winning a trophy in consecutive decades. Then again you could say a decade is a ten year time span and then juggle it around to come out with all sorts of records!
North Upper
I suppose an additional caveat would also be that, technically speaking, we won the 1969/70 Fairs Cup! But decades run from 1-10, same way as this is the 21st century, despite the faact that we are in the 20s and not the 21s.
Little Dutch
OK you stick to your way of working it out and we'll stick to ours and that way everyone's happy! Fair do's.
North Upper
Arsenal stick to facts, Spurs stick to their delusions. Deal. :-)
Little Dutch
Facts: Arsenal's high level of success is a relatively recent phenomenan, their record in no way stands up to the likes of Liverpool and United, and there was a huge gap between their first two title wins (forty years?) and then another gap (twenty years?) between the next. They were a big club that became a massive club when Wenger finally awakened their potential. Spurs are another big club with the potential to be massive, although for all their tradition and history, the club has underachieved in the league. Both clubs have mllions of fans worldwide and teams with gifted players, and this is as it should be. Both clubs have produced two of the greatest teams in the leagues history. We all know this, so stop arguing and being silly.
Tony Rocky Horror
TRH, no gooner has ever claimed we've been more successful than Utd or Pool in England's top flight -- straw man. Arsenal are the 3rd most successful club in England's top flight.
jaelle
Yeah,whatever, blah, blah, blah.
Tony Rocky Horror
Low blow LD, low blow! Anyway I'm off, have a good weekend.
North Upper
Didnt tony rocky horror get thrown of the top of a building for giving mia wallace a foot masage? Are you half black, half samoan?
paul_ownz
Well done Paul, good man, well done!!!!!!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
LOL!!!
Tony Rocky Horror
Hehe Great Movie
paul_ownz
I wouldnt go so far to call the brother fat, whats the n*gga gonna do he's samoan
HuddersfieldYiddo
 

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