Earlier this month I was worried about our injury problems, especially in midfield. These were my exact words,
“Last year we ran out of strikers, the year before that was plagued by defensive injuries and my stomach is in knots about midfield injuries this season.”
Well, that was before Nasri went under the knife and Frimpong did his cruciate. It’s a minimum of four weeks for the Frenchman and pretty much the whole season for the youngster. And while we haven’t had any bad news about the regulars, it hasn’t been rosy either. Denilson is still struggling, Song and Cesc haven’t had much game time, and Diaby barely survived the first game.
Sometime in the summer I’d done an article that said we should not rely on Ramsey and Djourou this season. The main argument was that they will be returning from serious injuries and we’ve seen with the likes of Rosicky, Diaby, and Eduardo that it can be a difficult process marred by niggling, recurring injuries.
Putting all of that together leaves us really short in midfield. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the guy who keeps finding an excuse to say Arsene must buy or spend big. In most cases I tend to support Wenger and on occasions when I’m not convinced I prefer to give Le Boss the benefit of the doubt.
In this particular instance though, I’m genuinely concerned about us running out of options as it seems like a vicious cycle. Right now we have many midfielders missing. That might force us to play a couple of players who are not really ready. In turn their bodies will suffer and might break down a few weeks down the line. It seems like a compromise situation where we might get away with it but the risk is huge.
For instance, I don’t think the next few games are that tough. We could get some good results even with more than half the midfield missing. But we really have to learn from the last two seasons. If this problem returns at the business end of the season or during the winter months we could lose those 6-8 points that can make all the difference.
I think we are so close to being a phenomenal squad that Arsene should not risk it all this year. It would be much better if he errs on the side of excess and gets another experienced midfielder in.
Obviously, there is chance that we could have all our players fit and some of them might be unhappy on the bench. I guess I’m not alone in saying that is one problem most Arsenal fans would love to have. In the recent years only Diarra showed his displeasure at being on the bench and left. In hindsight, that looks like a stupid decision as he might end up on the fringes at Madrid. But it was understandable because he was already frustrated at Chelsea. I don’t think we will have a similar problem with one of our home grown guys or a new singing.
The other argument is about the development of young players. I think we see plenty of injuries and play enough games each year for these young players to get a chance. In the worst case, if they are good enough, they can always go on loan to a Premier League side like Wilshere did last year. I think this issue can be sorted out once this young squad gets the first trophy.
The 25 man rule could be an issue for other teams but we are very well placed. We can comfortably sign two or three without worrying about the squad limit.
I don’t pretend to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of current footballers so I won’t comment on who we should sign. I’d be happy if we get a big name and equally happy with another typical Wenger unknown. But with all these injuries we really need another midfielder, preferably in the Song mould.
PS: We also need a Keeper and a CB. The club are definitely working on those so I decided to ignore the topic that has already filled millions of web pages.