Nothing will pose more of a headache to a gaffer than an irregular squad in which players cannot be relied on to be always available but Arsene Wenger does not feel there is a reason to be fretful over the new injury cycle that has hit his squad.
Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey were forced off the pitch on Tuesday night with knee and hamstring injuries respectively and there has been genuine concern over both players given they have only just recently returned to the team.
It seems a return to the vicious epidemic that threatened to undermine the Gunners early season challenge last summer but Wenger believes the club has been dealt a pack of cards that has not been of his making.
Quizzed after the Leicester game as to being concerned over the injuries, Arsenal.com posts Wenger ‘s reply thus:
“No because for example Arteta has an ankle problem, Debuchy and Wilshere had an ankle problem and they are injuries you cannot do anything about.
“The only thing you can worry about are the muscular injuries. Arteta and Wilshere and Walcott were joint injuries – you cannot do anything about that.
“When you get tackles like we get, sometimes when the players are a bit tired it’s difficult to get out of it.”
Wenger expressed his worry on the recurrence of Aaron Ramsey’s latest hamstring injury, especially the possible psychological implications that may influence him when he returns to the field again. Tuesday’s injury was the third time Ramsey would be hurt in that part of his leg this season and the manager is grappling with what could be behind the spate of recurrences.
“Yes. Last year was a thigh but this year it’s a recurrence of hamstrings. You cannot say it’s no worry because after the player doesn’t play with the freedom in mind.
“When a guy stops straight away and sits down, that’s not good news.
“There’s a recurrence now of a few muscular injuries and it’s difficult – we haven’t found out why. I basically left him out today because I wanted to be cautious with him. I had to bring him on – I had a hesitation between Flamini and him – because we lacked a a bit of offensive power. It was not the best of decisions.”
The continued absences of Wilshere, Arteta and, for the past three weeks, Oxlade-Chamberlain, has restricted midfield options to just a few players but Wenger does not believe he has given too much to him since he returned.
“He’s not overplayed. Before I never looked at him, I just played him in every game but since he’s had these problems I’m a bit more cautious with him.”
It will be hoped that he and his medical and coaching staff would be able to make adjustments, if need be, to recovery schedules as well as training and fitness regimes to ensure that the proliferation of such injury cases are curtailed. It seems to occur rather too often and compared to other clubs, it has got to an embarrassing level that may give suggestion of some ineptitude.
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