January 28, 2012
I’m writing this one in the middle of the night. Not because of some Kerouacian form of creative compulsion in which i’m forced to burn the midnight oil, slave to the muse, head brimming only with ideas and a desperation to get them out to the world. More because I have a nasty dry cough and tired as I am, every time my head hits the pillow I start hacking away like an asthmatic smoking their first cigarette. So I’m stuck in a sort of limbo, waiting for…I don’t know…either the cough to go away of its own accord (but that could be weeks) or an exhaustion of such magnitude that I can just sleep through the violent convulsions.
It’s pretty miserable. But it’s fitting too. As I’m still coming to terms with the news, confirmed earlier today, that Jack Wilshere has indeed suffered a setback in his recuperation from injury. Arsene said:
He has had a little setback that is under investigation at the moment so I cannot give you how long he will be out for. At the moment he is seeing a specialist and as soon as we know more we will communicate. It sets him back a little bit but for how long I don’t know. It is the same foot but a different problem to the injury he had surgery on back in September. But is it an inflammation? We have to wait a little bit.
‘A little setback’ could well be Arsene-speak for ‘a massive horrible blow’ and whatever the problem I think we have to start resigning ourselves to the possibility that we won’t see him at all this season. Speaking later in the day even Arsene said:
It’s impossible [for him] to play at the end of February. Even if we have some good news, I would say that’s impossible. From day one, when you are completely fit to practice again, to be match fit you count at least six weeks. [He is] gutted.
So we’re looking at the middle of March at the earliest and that’s only if things go well which as we’re well aware THEY NEVER DO. I’m sure fans of all clubs like to bemoan their own team’s bad luck but seriously, what the hell? This is getting ridiculous. Did every single Arsenal fan break a mirror on the exact same day? I knew the club should never have run that campaign ‘Be a Gooner, Be the kind of person who walks under a ladder’.
I honestly don’t know what we do now. I mean, I knew that placing all our hopes for the season behind the return of one man was stupid at best but that didn’t stop me from mentally counting the days until the little magician’s return. Now what?
It seems we don’t have any signings lined up because we were so confident in the medical team’s ability to have Jack up and ready and ‘like a new signing’ for the start of the year. With Diaby, of course, permanently crocked and likely to be missing until March at the earliest that leaves us extremely light in midfield. Song, Arteta and Ramsey have already been forced to play an exceptional amount of football this term and clearly despite constant reassurances about the size and quality of our squad, the boss doesn’t have the requisite faith to play the likes of Rosicky or Benayoun in there. Which means we have to rely on those three for the rest of the season.
And what’s the betting that at least one of them, probably Ramsey, gets some kind of long term injury by the end of the year purely due to the fact of being overplayed? I know it’s hard to know exactly what the problem is with our medical setup and a fair amount of our problems are no doubt due to bad luck plain and simple but you can’t help but think that the fact that Wilshere’s injury is such a nightmare for us is kind of also the reason it happened in the first place. The squad isn’t good enough. So when we do find a decent player we run them into the ground. Wilshere played too many games last season. We know this. We’ve talked about this before. And now due to our failure to strengthen the squad Ramsey is playing too many this season. And it goes on and on and on.
From his quotes yesterday Wenger sounded like a man who simply doesn’t know what to do. We put all our eggs in a Wilshere shaped basket and now they’ve been smashed on the floor. Well here’s a clue. Let’s start to build a squad. And not thirteen players we want to see play and twelve also rans to make up the numbers. I mean a proper squad. With quality in depth. Let’s sign that quality rather than hoping that it appears magically out of the youth setup. Let’s stop worrying that signing player x will ‘kill’ player y because the likelihood is that player y will be out injured so we won’t have to worry about it. Better yet player y won’t be overplayed so he’ll be fit and we can put both player x and player y in the team at the same time and have a shot at winning some trophies.
We’ve waited long enough. We’ve put up with ‘just about good enough to scrape fourth’ for too long. This injury setback should be a wake up call. If you aim low and you miss you’re in trouble. Let’s start aiming high. Let’s stop spending every season wishing and hoping for one player to make it back from injury. Let’s get ourselves a squad.
In amongst the gloom there was at least some good news yesterday. Arteta, Coquelin and Henry are back in contention not to mention Bacary Sagna who having announced his return to full training only a couple of days ago is apparently in the squad for tomorrow. Add to that the fact that Gibbs returns to full training on Monday and we could at least start to see an easing of our defensive crisis.
Mind you, the way Arsene reported the news gives I think a bit of a clue as to why we’re in the mess we are to begin with as he announced that he has no intention of signing a left back:
Gibbs is back in full training on Monday, and Vermaelen can [also] play left back and he is fit. [Andre] Santos will be fit in March.
Three left backs, plus Sagna – who can play there – is four. We are not [shopping for a] left back.
Sorry, but that’s creative accounting at the very least from the boss. ‘Don’t forget we have Theo who played there in a youth game once so that’s five, we have Arshavin who doesn’t play there but couldn’t be any worse there than he is on the wing so that’s six, Wojciech sometimes comes out of his box to clear the ball that’s seven. Plus Santos has the girth of two men so that’s what? Eight? Nine? Round it up that’s ten. Ten left backs! We’ve got too many if anything. We need to sell some. Who wants Gibbs?’
We don’t have four left backs! Stop saying we have four left backs! It’s utter nonsense and you’re making yourself look ridiculous. It’s sad and it’s desperate. If you don’t want to sign a left back then fine. Tell us the real reason. Tell us that you don’t have the money. Or you have other priorities. Or you’re putting the money towards a big name creative midfielder. Or that you just don’t like to spend because you think you’ll get greater kudos by doing everything on a shoestring rather than spending vast sums of money. Just tell us the truth!
Right. There’ll be a fuller preview of the Villa match tomorrow but in the meantime don’t forget to check out Their View for some real insight into how the match might play out.
I’m going to have another stab at sleeping. Wish me luck.
If You Liked This...
- Wenger admits to possible signing +The Ox reveals root of our injury woe
- Mixed feelings on Henry return + More full back misery
- Jack Panic + Bacary’s Bac, alright!
- Arsene slams door on centre-back move + ‘Fireworks at the Emirates or a Bonfire Nightmare?’ Oh shut up, Gary Lineker
- Vertonghen in, Squillaci out. Does it need to be more difficult than that?