Arsenal - Fit Players Are The Key
UK time is: 05:48:13
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

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

Fit Players Are The Key

The frustration of Arsenal fans is evident from all corners of the world, the exit from 3 cup competitions in 10 days too much to bear for some Gooners and the latest defeat at Goodison park with seconds left was the final straw.

The goal shy Gunners capitulating in their first season at Ashburton Grove, just what the Spuddies wanted.

Time to get worried?

Not just yet.

The current form of the Arsenal is extremely frustrating, indeed I'm not sure my vocal chords will hold out for much longer, but many a Gooner, now desperate for a run of consecutive victories, have now heard the criticism of the Spurs fans so often that they are starting to believe it.

I offer you 'injuries'.

A lame excuse some may say..........nah ah, FACT.

Stability is an important factor in football, the need to feel a bond on the pitch is just as great as technical ability. It's vital, at the highest level in football that each player knows what his brother is going to do without asking, or indeed looking. The double winners of 2002 and the invincibles of 2004 had, for most of the time, a constant starting line up, with only a few injuries.

We seem to be leaking goals for fun from set pieces of late, and Mr Stillman provided the statistic that if you have more than four set pieces around the Arsenal goal, history predicts you are likely to score.

Hardly surprising when your two best central defenders (Toure & Gallas) have played less than 10 times together in the centre of defence. Is it surprising when your right back has only started 14 Premiership games and your first choice left back 17?

Since the turn of the year the mighty Gunners have increasingly found it difficult finding the back of the net. Coincidence that our two top goal scorers Theirry Henry have been injured for almost the entire time? Perhaps. But when you consider that out of 29 league games we have played this season Henry has started 16 (and he has been injured for the majority of those) whilst the deadly Robin van Persie has only started 17 then it might be easy to see why we lack in goals.

The young players we have are undoubtedly going to go on and do great things, but the lack of Premiership experience & stability have cost us dear this season.

While it would be blinkered of me to suggest that once these players return that we will, without a doubt, go on to win the league with a full squad of fit players, the same could also be said about people who are genuinely worried about whether or not we can compete at the highest level when the best players (and lets face it, that's not opinion, that's fact) have spent the majority of the season on the sidelines.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 19 2007

Time: 11:12AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
So what you're really saying is that the squad players aren't good enough?..............Who's faults that then. Also why do we consistently get so many injuries, some of it can be put down to bad luck but certainly not all of it.
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:31:00

I didn't understand the rationale yesterday of playing 3 players out of position at the back in order to cover the LB position. Clearly though the big problem is not putting chances away and that is all down to injuries.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:37:00

Show me a team who's back up players are just as good as their first team players!!!!!!! Putting one or two in at a time is fine, but replacing an entire team will just not work. So what do you think is causing the injuries?
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:40:00

Having the most players at the World Cup didn't help. Totally wrecked our pre season.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:53:00

The key thing Wenger has to think about is balance. Having an entire squad full of stars just doesnt work, just ask Real Madrid. He needs good young players coming through who will be about to reach their peaks as older players such as Gilberto, Henry, Gallas and such retire. These players are excellent prospects and the talent is unquestionable, but they are far from the finished products. They are more than capable of filling in (one or two players excluded) but when these players have to have a susstained run in the team due to inury, it is obvious that it will have an adverse effect on the team. How can it not?????
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:54:00

Imagine where Man Utd season would be without Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Neville & Giggs, or Chelsea without Drogba, Lampard, Terry, and Essien, or Spurs without, Berbatov :)
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 11:57:00

Chelsea have lost one player for a long period and it is apparently the reason they're not going to win the title. The reason nobody realises the injury list is because Wenger never offers it as an excuse. If United had been without Saha, Rooney and Solskjaer this weekend, who would have been upfront? Alan Smith on his own. If Chelsea would have lost Drogba, Shevchenko and Kalou, who would their strike force have been? Robben on his own.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:05:00

Some of Wenger's team selections are strange. Why play Gilberto in defence when we could have had a back four consisting of Hoyte Toure, Gallas and Flamini. Gilberto and Diaby in midfield would give additional cover in front of this defence (sounds familiar - Paddy and the fellah with pony tail!!) with Cesc and Rosicky/Hleb creating for the 2 front runners who are really our weakest link. If Flamini won't play at left back then he should be on his bike! I agree that other teams would be in the **** without there 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice strikers. Wev'e just got to tough it out and hope Arsene reads some of the blogs!
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:25:00

Man utd did have injury problems this weekend & still won against bolton easily.......................Everyone always uses real madrid as an example of how buying big names doesn't work, however they always neglect to mention the likes of Juventus who were regularly winning their league or now Inter Milan, Barcelona or chelski. Also people are overlooking the fact that real madrid were successful with big names & I seem to remember a classic goal by zidane winning them the champions league...............Chelski have been without a fair few players this season, Terry, both coles, bridge, ballack etc etc & they are still second in the league & still going for 4 trophies with a realistic chance of winning 3, so you wouldn't call that a bad season. Arsenal are not improving, but some fans seem to blindly follow whatever Wenger says. "The team is better than last season", oh it must be true cos Arsene said it. Who are we really missing through injury that would make a difference?? Henry, probably but then we didn't do any better last season. Rvp?? He has never scored 20+ goals a season so people are just guessing that he would, with nothing to back it up. Other than those two who are we really missing???....................Rocky, I blame Wenger & the coaching staff for the constant injuries over the past two years, it would seem a very strange coincidence that half our team at one point or another has gone down with groin or hamstring injuries!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:33:00

Wenger is saying we lost yesterday through lack of maturity?? Well sorry but I don't buy it. Seven of the starting 11 were 25 or over & all but Hoyte in defence were over 25 with tons of experience. Wenger is getting the team selection wrong time after time & then blaming the one or two kids for each defeat!! A few years ago, Wenger said he couldn't risk youngsters because they cost you points then just a couple of years later he bases his whole team on youth?? Gallas & Henry have both said that playing nice football means nothing if you keep losing & they are right!! Andy Gray, for once in his miserable exsistance got something right yesterday when he questioned what these constant defeats would actually do long term to the youngsters?? Some may grow from it, but others like Manninger in the past won't be able to cope with it!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:41:00

There is no need to panic what-so-ever. We've had injury nightmares down to two reasons, bad luck and the world cup. When everyone is fit, we are unstoppable and score bundles. This season is a shame, but we got to the carling cup final and probably champs league place for next season.. which is a hell of a lot better than those punks across the road. Im really looking forward to next season, and Wenger's right, we dont need anybody, we'll be fitter, stronger and more hungry next season and everyone better watch out... because the gunners are gunning for everything
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:45:00

We're not improving? Barring a complete colapse, we will finish the season with more points than last season, we got furthr in both FA and League cups than we did last season, the only competition we have done worse in is the CL. That is an improvment, you cant argue, its there in black and white. We've moved to a new home which is never easy, and we've done this with massive injuries. Come the end of the season van Persie will have missed 5 months through injury yet still has scored 13 goals, I can only speculate whether or ot he would reach the 20+ mark, but he would have more of a chance then without playing, no? Henry has frequently scored us 25+ goals, and despite not being fit at all this season he's still got 10 in the league, how many points would a fully fit Henry gained us? And finally, and stable back four, playing week in week out, will have had a better chance at defending set pieces. With regards to the injuries, to blame Wenger for injuries is very speculative, but not implausable I guess.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:46:00

R7- come on now, you always seem like an intelligent guy. We managed to get to the cc final, so yes an improvement on last season by 1 game, we went one round further in the fa cup but went out 3 rounds earlier of the cl. Will we get more than 67 points in the league with games against spurs, newcastle & liverpool away & chelski & bolton at home?? It will certainly be touch & go on that one..................With regards injuries, who's to say we won't have the same problems next year?? We need a better squad.
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:54:00

You're right AG, United and Chelsea have had injuries this season. Chelsea miss J.Cole, they missed Cech and Terry when they were out. Look at their form when Cech and Terry were out! United haven't had a serious injury to a key player this season. As for the whole buying stars thing, it works short-term, so it's only sustainable if you're filthy rich. When you have a team full of mega stars you end up with a bunch of arrogant so n so's who think they have a divine right to win every game, and as a result of that their inupt reduces. Arsenal are not improving? Are you insane? We're 14 points better off now than at this stage last season, that sounds like improvment to me. Gallas has been out most of the season, Henry has been out or playing injured most of the season, Baptista has had his fair share of injuries, Rosicky too. Van Persie has played 25 games and got 16 goals, that's a goal every other game. He was 4 goals short of the 20 you mentioned when he got injured, I think we can safely say he would have helped alot if he was still fit. To say Arsene is to 'blame' for this season is a bit out of order, he has made this club what it is today. He is putting together a team that has so much potential it's frightening. It COULD be more sucessful than teh Liverpool team of the 80's and the United team of the 90's. Great teams are not built over night.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:56:00

We do need a better squad AG, and we will do next season, even if it's only through youngsters like Denilson, Diaby, Walcott and Djourou making massive improvments.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 12:59:00

Ashburton gooner.... we dont need a better squad.... perhaps maybe one addition, but other than that we have a fantastic team, and the only thing thats let us down is Henry and Van Persie. we've always conceeded goals from set pieces, but because we scored 4 or 5 down the other end, no1 notcied or complained. Once we get Henry, RVP, Walcott back and Baptista has a few more months adapting watch us take off.... will everyone calm down, its not a crisis... least we aint spurs and having the season of their lives and still 7th and got knocked out the semi final by our kids........
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:01:00

Rvp had scored 13 goals in 25 starts & 6 sub appearances!! So he was 7 short of that 20 mark. I don't agree about the potential of the team, I see a couple of outstanding youngsters in Diaby & Denilson (I won't include cesc because he has been a first team regular for a long time now, so we already expect it from him). Other than those two I don't see anything outstanding at all. Hoyte, Walcott, Adebayor, Aliadiere, Senderos & Co have all looked average at best & certainly not one of those has ever looked like going on to be a world class.
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:09:00

do you watch the same games AG? Adebayor is class.. he's 21 and works his arse off.... he has the potential to be great. Walcott has come on at times and changed the game. he is 18 for heavens sake! just chill and watch. Wenger knows!
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:12:00

Rocky you asked why we get so many injuries. Well the freak injuries like RVP broken toe can happen to any team but the strains that we have had tons of this season I beleive are for 2 reasons. The first and probably smaller reason is the way we train. wenger trains his players like sprinters and I heard rosicky saying that he was surprised at how intense the training was with so many games. secondly, and most importantly, this season we have struggled on the pitch and are rarely able to cruise through a game, like in the past (2004) where at least a third of our games were virtually wrapped up by half time. this season we are playing at 100% of effort (beleive it or not) for the full 90 mins trying to get a draw a win or even trying desparately to hold a slender single goal advantage. Compare this with Man U or chelsea who are usually 2 goals in front with 30 minutes to play. combine this with the 2 games a week factor and heavy training and you can see the immense strain that the players bodies are under. its also a snowball effect. If you have a tough game on a wednesday and play again on the saturday, the players may be feeling the effects just slightly on the saturday from the previous game. any slight tightness of a muscle followed by another tough 90 minutes will lead to an injury. So really what I am saying is when teams are playing well and being able to relax in second halves of games, they pick up fewer injuries to key players.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:20:00

Blaming Wenger on the injuries is ridiculous. We lacked a coherent pre season this year due to 13 players going to the world cup. Next season will be different. RVP would have got 20 this season injury free and he broke a bone in his foot. I don't remember seeing Wenger tackle him! Freak accident. Henrys injury has been carried for months(flying half way round the world for friendlies doesnt help). Walcott brought the injury from Southampton, Gallas was flogged to death by Chelsea (and went to the world cup final). Eboue got smashed up by Morton Gamst. I know you like a moan AG, but at least try be plausible. Fabregas and Toure do the same training sessions as everyone else and haven't missed a game barring suspensions.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:23:00

Rocky, u ask in the article if its time to get worried? I say yes, but at the same time, its not a crisis. Any team that has so many chances and doesnt take many needs to worry. I appreciate the impact injuries have had on our 1st team, but I would like to think that the likes of Ali and the beast, who were clamouring for starting positions at the beginning of the season should step up and score. They will not score as much as henry and RVP, but they should be scoring the odd goal. Now I believe that they will do the job for us in the next 9 games coz they have potential, but I am worried now coz it may not happen. As far as the back 4 is concerned, we've been hit by injury more seriously there, with Gallas hardly starting till January.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:32:00

And can i also say that Eboue's injuries have made more of an impact this season that people believe. Hleb looks a lesser player without his runs down the right, and even though I like Hoyte, he doesnt bring the same impact that Eboue does.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:34:00

Simmy8, you say we are 14 points better off than this stage last season but I think a fairer way of working that out is by the corresponding fixtures (although clearly sheff utd, watford & reading have to replace west brom, sunderland & birmingham in that order). If you work it out that way we are actually minus 3 points. Not so impressive now is it??
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:39:00

d11gunner, sorry but you're not making sense!! Its not all about now just because we lost to Everton. These injuries have been going on for two seasons. Eboue has missed plenty of games before he got injured by perderson, hoyte has also missed plenty of games. You say Walcott brought his injury from southampton, so who was the idiot that played him instead of getting it sorted out?? Adebayor, henry, Rvp, Clichy, Traore, Hleb, Rosicky have all missed games with hamstring or groin problems. I did also clearly say that some of it is bad luck eg, the rvp injury now.
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 13:47:00

AG, the points tally speaks for it's self. 14 points better off is 14 points better off. By your logic, if we won the league next season but lost all our games with the other big 3 then we haven't won the league because we didn't do as well against the big teams. When you consider that we've go those 14 extra points after the loss of Campbell, Pires and Bergkamp I think it is very impressive.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:05:00

Whats your solution AG? Sack Wenger?? You've referred to him as an idiot. Surely you don't want an idiot in charge of your club?
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:08:00

if we want to do well, we need many more goals from the mid feild !!( fabregas needs to score !!) rosicky has da ability but it just doesnt go in !!!! ronaldo, lampard , gerrard .. dats da kind of mid feild goals we need !!!!!
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:10:00

Anyone who refers to Wenger as an idiot is clearly in idiotic idiot of massively idiot prepotions.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:25:00

As someone said, Wenger insists on intense fitness training. RvP lost 6 lbs when he signed for Arsenal! After being here for aonly a few months he said he had never been so fit. Arsenal's players are right at the peak of fitness. Imagine a guitar, the strings are stretched to a point that they sound fantastic but it doesn't take much for the to go 'ping.' Not the best analegy, but it gets the point across. We are, without a doubt, the fittest team in the league.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:29:00

I think we'll have to wait for 2 seasons at least to see the team seriously challenging for the title. Many first team players have not played with each other for the entire season and I don't envisage that they could gel instantly even when they are all fit. Also many of our rivals' players are reaching their prime, Ronaldo, Rooney Drogba etc. Hence, I don't see them suddenly perform badly. Most probably, Man USA, Chelski, 'Liverpool Reds' etc would strenghten with some signings rather than the otherway round. Furthermore, potential does not guarantee. Remember Pennant, Manninger, Quincy etc. ? Even when Henry & RVP was playing last season, we still find it difficult to score against ultra defensive teams. We still lost a lot of games the same way as we did this season - from long balls & set pieces even when we were having our regulars so there is also no guarantee we will get any further when we are injury free. Practically, everyone likes to play against us the way we hated most. We are losing more & more points to lowly teams season after season. Obviously, they have found a way to nuetralise our game plan. Does that ring a bell?
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:29:00

D11gunner, how predictable, someone dares question wenger & they must want him sacked?? Get a grip, people can have thoughts beyond those of the manager or the blind sheep that follow him without question!! If Wenger keeps playing injured players, Walcott & Henry as prime examples then yes he is an idiot!! So far this season Arsene has put on Rvp, Henry & Walcott knowing none of them were fit to play (he himself has admitted that), now two of them definately miss the rest of the season!! Would you call that good management?? Was beating man utd at the emirates worth all the future defeats & draws??............simmy8, what nonsense you are talking. I haven't said anything about not winning the league because we couldn't beat the top 3 & neither would I. I have merely pointed out that the only fair way to assess our current points situation is to base it on the corresponding fixtures from last season & we are 3 points worse off. We have a hard run in now so there is nothing to say we will match or beat last season's points total. Infact if we get the same amount of points as last season from our remaining fixtures then we will finish the season on 64 points!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:39:00

It is nonsense AG yes, but it's what would be if your logic was applied. It doesn't matter if you get the points from United or Watford - as long as you get them. To say we are worse off this season than last in terms of points is utter nonsense and if I'm frank, slightly silly.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:44:00

Simmy, please talk sense!! where have I said that beating one team is more important than another?? Clearly I haven't!! My point is that we may be 14 points better off at this stage of the season but if you have played nearly all the easier games & still have hard ones to come then you cannot judge what points total we will finish with. I would rather have lost to man utd, chelski, Liverpool & the spuds & won the league than have beaten those teams & been 20 points behind the leaders. Our next 3 matches Liverpool (away), West Ham (home) & Newcastle (away) got us a total of 0 points last season & I am willing to bet we don't get much more than that this season either!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 14:54:00

What is your solution AG? How do we fix it for next season? You are at times prone to negativity. How about something constructive. BTW, it's seems implied to me that you want Wenger out. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's the impression I get from your posts. And there is a distinct difference between questioning someone and labelling them an idiot.
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 15:07:00

I hav to dissagree with AG , i think we'll get 3 pts against west ham(they just cant win)..... maybe the newcastle one and the liverpool are tricky but applyin the law of averages we hav to put in atleast some of our chances even if it is by accident......I think we hav been deperstely unlucky for the past two seasons i remeber how last season started with that drogba fluke of an offside goal.followed by the rvp being wrongly adjudged offside and lots more this season
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 18:01:00

how much are you willing to bet on that one AG?
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 18:45:00

G4L, I think we will pick up 1 point from those games. We wont lose to west ham at home this season. I dont bet silly amounts as my fortune has to last me, but I am willing to take your money.
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 18:53:00

1 point from three games? And you say you value your money? C'mon, it is silly. We will beat WH(owe them big time), get at least a draw with the Magpies and as for Liverpool.. We've knocked 12 goals in 3 games against them this season. We seem to have their number. Although a draw will be sufficient to take your money. Why are you so bloody negative anyway?
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 19:10:00

well..the important thing is that we need to think positive. while negative thinking can breed negative result, just for once think positive..we have quality in our futures. even the neutrals admit season will be totally different season..hope lady luck will be on our side and there will be less injuries..
Report Abuse
19/03/2007 23:33:00

to be a able to challenge for the title, we need freescoring midfielders. I know Gilberto is, but Hleb and Rosicky should have 20 goals between them in the league. Manutd have ronaldo and park. We also need a strikers' striker. Chelsea have Drogba. Arsenal is missing this
Report Abuse
20/03/2007 23:09:00


Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Arsenal Articles

The Arsenal Injury Table..Updated (Friday November 27 2015)

Infographic - Most Fouled....Sánchez (Wednesday November 25 2015)

Stats: Arsenal v Dinamo Zagreb (Tuesday November 24 2015)

Match Preview Arsenal vs Zagreb (Tuesday November 24 2015)

Archived Arsenal Articles

List All Vital Arsenal Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Naijagunner 25
2. Galway Gooner 18
3. 0716389009 16
4. Wyn Mills 6
5. Afcdc 4
6. Guyfox 2
7. phreddy 2
8. Nwankwo25 2
9. Pat Rick 1
10. Will-i-am10 1

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
1. Leicester City 13 8 4 1 8 28
2. Man Utd 13 8 3 2 10 27
3. Man City 13 8 2 3 14 26
4. Arsenal 13 8 2 3 12 26
5. Spurs 13 6 6 1 13 24
6. West Ham 13 6 3 4 4 21
7. Everton 13 5 5 3 8 20

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

Breaking League News

Analysis - Possible Formations - Liverpool vs Swansea City
» Swansea : 27/11/2015 22:37:01
Liverpool: Latest Sturridge Setback Not Serious
» Liverpool : 27/11/2015 21:17:00
Pulis Previews West Ham Clash
» WBA : 27/11/2015 19:27:01
Liverpool: Klopp 'Very Happy' With Europa Progress
» Liverpool : 27/11/2015 19:21:01
Flores & Deeney Talk Villa
» Watford : 27/11/2015 19:17:01

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

MOTM vs Dinamo Zagreb
Suggested By:  
Cech 5%
Bellerin 0%
Kos 0%
BFG 0%
Monreal 3%
Flamini 0%
Cazorla 0%
Campbell 3%
Ozil 58%
Sanchez 31%
Giroud 0%
Debuchy 0%
Rambo 0%
Chambers 0%