Speaking during the press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Sunderland, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger provided detailed updates on the squad. After losing three players in the game against Norwich City, we are stretched dangerously thin, but the manager put on a brave face and focussed on the possible return of players ahead of the next game.
While Ramsey and the Ox both featured in the previous game and seem fully recovered, Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny are expected to return to the squad by tomorrow as well. However the manager was cautious about their chances to play against the Black Cats, and it is likely that they will face a late fitness test before being committed. This is especially important for Koscielny, who is very prone to minor injuries.
This is what the manager had to say:
The players injured in the last two weeks will not play tomorrow and who is back maybe in the squad could be Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott. That will be a decision tomorrow morning. It is positive as we are a bit short.
[Regarding Alexis and Cazorla] I don’t know, honestly. Alexis is a hamstring [injury] but I don’t know how long it will take, it is usually a quick one to recover. Cazorla we don’t know until he sees a specalist. There is no news on that. It is possible, yes [that Cazorla could be out until March].
When questioned about the state of medical facilities at Arsenal, the manager was adamant in his opinion that the staff were top quality and the players received the best care possible. He also dismissed the assertion that Arsenal were the most injury prone team in Europe, arguing that players like Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere skewed the statistics:
I don’t know [if we are the most injury prone]… for example with these injuries you count Abou Diaby who was injured a lot here and has gone to Marseille and still does not play. I believe that is a debate that I will leave to specialists but… it is not difficult to compare our injuries across Europe with all the leagues and I don’t think we have more injuries than everybody.
I would like to invite you to see [the medical facilities] one day. We have plenty of people. When arrived here it was me, my two assistants and Gary Lewin, but today you have a team around you. That has changed and I think that has changed everywhere. It is much more sophisticated, much more scientific, but human beings are still human beings.
While there is no doubt that the equipment at the Emirates and the Colney Ground training facility are top-notch, it boggles the mind as to why we lose the same players over and over again. Sure, players can be injury prone, but not an entire team of them! Wenger has even brought in new medical staff over the past couple of years, to little effect. Our injuries may be unintentional, but it is highly unlikely that they were unavoidable.