Arsenal injuries could ruin a great game

Arsenal injuries could ruin a great game

In the post I left ahead of the Blackburn game I mentioned that the injury situation at Arsenal was the worst I had ever seen it since I started blogging almost a year ago. I also mentioned how much I hoped that I would never have to post another quotation paragraph that included so many players unavailable again. Now, just four days later, I have to do just that. Take it away Arsene

“Nobody is coming back from Monday night. Clichy might be out for the weekend. He has a knee problem and a tight hamstring. We have Sagna out for personal reasons unfortunately. Philippe Senderos has not practiced all week because of a thigh and a knee problem.”

Sagna - who is out for personal reasons - joins Clichy and a host of others on the unavailable listI’ve never once had to swear on this blog but this is about as close as I’m ever going to get: “Fudge!”. Lame, I know. But seriously, what more could go wrong? Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna have been two of the absolute stalwarts this season and their absence is certainly going to hurt us, while losing Philippe Senderos is a significant blow to Arsenal’s chances of winning both games against Manchester United and AC Milan a few days later. Although Kolo Toure is back from Ghana he’s also recovering from injury and is surely still less than 100%, not something you want from a player who is likely going to be forced to play two games in five days.

My main frustration with the injuries – aside from the fact that they will hurt Arsenal’s chances of progressing against Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup match – is that it denies supporters of both clubs the chance to see the best teams going at it. While players were surely going to be rested for the match I would have loved to see a mostly full-strength Arsenal and United locking horns for a place in the next round. Alas, with Milan just around the corner for Wenger’s injury-ravaged squad, it’s highly unlikely that this what will ensue.

Dom Crofts wrote a piece earlier today entitled “Defeat No Great Loss To Arsenal…” in which he states that regardless of the result against Manchester United on Saturday, Arsene Wenger’s side cannot lost. He ends with the final statement:

“Even if the Gunners go down 6-0 on Saturday night, Wenger knows there are bigger fish to fry. It’s a game which Arsenal can go into confident that no matter what the result, they just can’t lose.”

While I found his article quite entertaining – indeed, I encourage you to read it for yourself – I don’t agree with the underlying point he is trying to make. Sure, Arsenal are leading the league and, yes, they have AC Milan to play on Thursday next week. But this is Manchester United in the FA Cup and any sort of defeat is going to have far great psychological impact than a 5-1 Carling Cup loss to Tottenham Hotspur. If Manchester United do happen to beat Arsenal on Saturday, which they really should do now following the injuries to Wenger’s squad, Sir Alex Ferguson will make sure that every man and his dog hears about it.

Ferguson will start with the psychology if United beat ArsenalWhile I don’t doubt the Arsenal players can handle that pressure I still think they need to put in a very good showing at Old Trafford to maintain their confidence. Unfortunately I just worry that with the defence disrupted and Emmanuel Adebayor likely to be rested they might just struggle a bit. Justin Hoyte and Armand Traore will surely come into the side and with neither player particularly impressing this season when selected I feel that Manchester United will hurt Arsenal out wide. Cristiano Ronaldo may have been quiet in the last couple of games but he will be licking his lips in anticipation at the prospect of taking on Traore rather than Clichy.

I might sound overly negative about Arsenal’s chances on the weekend but in reality I’m just disappointed about the ridiculous length of the list of unavailable players. Indeed, if the team that Wenger puts out contains all available first-choice players then I think Arsenal are a great chance to beat United at Old Trafford. But with Milan just around the corner and with so many players out injured it would be a massive gamble for Wenger to play them all. And if he doesn’t, then United deserve to go into the game as firm favourites, a real shame given how exciting the contest that was fought between the two sides earlier in the season was.

So, what to predict? It really depends on the Arsenal team that Wenger plays and given that I have absolutely no idea what that might be I’m going to refrain. As always, I hope Arsenal win but at the end of the day, it would take a brave man to bet against Manchester United, even despite their recent form.

I’ll keep smiling though because it’s all good.

What do you think?

Voice your thoughts on the FA Cup clash with United by leaving a comment.

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23 Responses to “Arsenal injuries could ruin a great game”

  1. India-Gunner
    February 15, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    First gun: Like Arsenal position in the table ;-)!

  2. gunnershabz
    February 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    am getting worried about these injuries, i know if we have a full squad without injuries we can beat both of them, but we just need faith in our manager and see what he does.

  3. Wang Sheng Foong
    February 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    The important thing for the ref to watch out is the disguised tackle deliberately to take out our creative players.It’s a grey area and he has to decide whether to give a card thereby incurring the wrath of ot not to mention the red faced/nosed.

  4. vlcgooner
    February 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    I think our kids should show what they are capable of and kick their ass. That would be fun.

    Really, the injury list is worrying if it keeps us from fielding our first 14 against Milan or in the premier league. But for this game there isn’t much to do about it so I’m not going to worry. If Man U win and Fergie wants to tell everyone about it, so what? Anyhow, I suspect that Arsene could be exaggerating the injuries so that he isn’t accused of being disrespectful for resting players.

  5. Gooner4life
    February 15, 2008 at 6:53 pm #

    Wut a dissapointment with injuries.This one was always going to be a tight game.But we must not forget that Man U also have a tricky tie with Lyon who themselves are no pushovers and have underachieved this season and Fergies no fool as he has been courting the attentions of Benzeama and Ben Arfa.I think 4 Arsenal our mammoth Champions League encounter takes precedence. Would the rest of Europe be shaking in their boots if we won the FA Cup at Wembley or lifting the Cup with the Big Ears at the end of the season after stuffing the best teams in Europe along the way. Arsene may have one or two surprises for Fergie.Besides that I think the ref has to wath the theatrics of Winking Ronaldo,Tevez and Rooney in the box in their quest for prolific diving trio of the year award.

  6. ArsenalKenya
    February 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Wenger knows and will field the rigt team and rest the players he feels need rest.

    I predict a line up of:-

    Lehmann

    Eboue Toure Gallas Traore/Hoyte

    Rosicky Fabregas Flamini Hleb

    Eduardo Bendter/Adebayor

    Adebayor might start and then be substituted later or Vice versa.

    Eboue is still a good left back and Wenger has his options.

    If we lose or win the main game is the CL game on Wednesday.

    The boys should be focused and have faith in their ability and we will win.

    I know SAF will play his mind games and even tell his dog that Man U beat arsenal if they beat us and claim to win a treble.

    This season Arsenal are winning the League plus another championship trophy either from FA or Champions League.

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS AND SHOW THEM ( MANC’S ) HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED……..

  7. ArsenalKenya
    February 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    NB: Eboue – Right back not left back as indicated above.

  8. djp
    February 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    i think your spot on, firstly the injury situation is a joke every time i look on the club website another player is injured.
    i wouldn’t mind but how many of our players do we see get injured during our matches ?(denilson tottenham only one i can remember lately) they play ninety minutes for us then we hear the next day that they are injured !

    iv’e said it before if the same players keep on getting injured the situation has to be adressed van persie,rosicky are top players but they only play half a season for us in van persie’s case 10-15 games !!, every time we hear wenger quoting about his injury ” 2 to 3 weeks away” just admit it we will be lucky to see him again this season.

    like him or hate him adebayor has proved himself big time this man is dying to take up henry’s mantle wants to be the focal point, we were all expecting van persie to be that man adebayor has more or less made us not even bother looking for van persie’s name anymore when squads are announced.

    as for the united game wenger should always be looking to put out his strongest side injuries permitting, we aren’t guaranteed winning anything, when you choose your cups things have a nasty habit of blowing up in your face.

  9. alf15
    February 15, 2008 at 7:34 pm #

    Maybe Wenger is playing mind games with Fergie, Saying he has Clichy and Sagna out…Fergie gets a game plan to attack the replacement full backs, then match day comes and we have all the “injuried” players back! Fergie got to change plan’s and possiblely starting 11…just a thought…its either mind games or we really have these players out! Me hopes its the first one!

  10. gazzap
    February 16, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    there is no way its mind games and clichy and sagna will simply stroll onto the OT turf – absolutely not happening.
    the thing that worries me is the high chance of another injury or two from this game. fergie will virtually demand that his players kick ours – not to win the game – but to injure our players for the league run-in. Whatever happens dont expect them to play fair – fergie wins at all costs and cheating is within his character for certain. teams always reflect their managers personalities and thats why Man U will do anything to win.

    I dont see us getting hammered. And losing by the odd goal at OT is not an embarassment. they are a very strong side at home and we will have several key players missing. If we lose we move on to bigger things. just enjoy the match for what it is and whatever the result lets not get too neurotic about it. As long as we can prepare for the CL game and focus properly on that without days of fall out from OT then I will be happy.

  11. ck
    February 16, 2008 at 12:37 am #

    Lol… nothing but mindgames… check arsenal.com>>> clichy travels to manchester.. if he wasn’t injured.. why would he travel with the team.. i think its gonna be a pretty strong team.. with nick and edu upfront…

  12. Pádraig
    February 16, 2008 at 1:15 am #

    Looks like we are going to have a tough time on the left side.

  13. TayGoon
    February 16, 2008 at 2:57 am #

    I wasn’t prepared for Sagna & Clichy not playing. They both might play come saturday for AW mentioned Clichy as a “might not…”. Eboue can cover for Sagna and Toure is in for Senderos. Conspicuously, there is no mention for Song. We are well covered upfront. Eduardo has proved to be a danger in CL so he might not play the whole game on Sat with an eye for Milan. I believe Adebayor is going to play. Hoyte might as well play on the right with added protection of Eboue in front of him. My biggest worry will be on the left. We might be direct which might suit Eduardo provided he plays centrally. Ronaldo is playing more and more like a central striker. If he does this, Traore will do well. i still think we can pull it off. I am bracing for a pleasant surprise.

  14. TayGoon
    February 16, 2008 at 3:56 am #

    Song is mentioned in the injury list

  15. djp
    February 16, 2008 at 4:18 am #

    fact : any how gilberto starts its game over whenever he’s in the side the midfield get overun even with our strongest side the midfielders have to do twice the work,remarkably out of our best midfielders over the last five years (vieira, edu, pires,ljungberg) he’s outlasted all of them incredible ! and they were the ones who were carrying him !

    fact: eboue one of the worst players you can play away from home especially in a hostile enviroment like old trafford.
    his antics straight away whip the crowd up, all of a sudden your playing against twelve men that’s the last thing you need it’s tough enough job as it is.

    fact: wenger cant be arsed about this match to him if we lose it’s not important champions lge, premiership to fall back on (risky game to play) win ? backslapping plaudits arsenal are great etc etc….

  16. Spanish Fry
    February 16, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    I don’t agree with you about Wenger not being bothered by this game. If we lose I will be disappointed and because it is against Manchester United the boys will be too. It’s not a win-win situation in my eyes.

  17. amiaq_ferguson
    February 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    AW is playing a mind game.. it happened b4.. and i believed Sagna and Clichy are fit to play… i hope MU rested Scholes and Giggs..

  18. Alex
    February 16, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    I write from florence and i’m a Fiorentina football fans.
    Here in florence we hate,Juventus,Roma,and Milan.
    We are everybody with you against milan
    c’moon Gunners,
    Hi from Alex

  19. Jay
    February 17, 2008 at 4:54 am #

    I have never before been so horrified or dissapointed with Arsenal as I am now. We played awful and am ashamed.

  20. TayGoon
    February 17, 2008 at 5:15 am #

    We realy missed Sagna and Clichy.

  21. amiaq_ferguson
    February 17, 2008 at 6:56 am #

    Here in my hometown, we support MU and AC Milan.. Forza Milan..

  22. Le Gunner
    February 17, 2008 at 8:03 am #

    I couldn’t see Manure losing 2 games at home in a row. I had a feeling we were going to lose this one but not in the manner we did. We were outfought, outplayed we just didn’t turn up at all and that point to one thing, Wenger has his eyes on the Champions league and Premier league. The positive thing is at least we can concentrate on the league and C.league. The General (Fabregas)was out of sort didn’t tackle didn’t track back just didn’t fancy this game at all not only him the entire team didn’t function. I have finally concluded that Hoyte and Traore will not make it at Arsenal I can see Wenger shipping them out at some point Nani made Hoyte look like a clown and Traore has no idea how you actually close in on a player he is almost afraid of touching the opposition .The wings were leaking so heavily and that mounted a lot pressure on Toure and Gallas. All the crosses that led to the goals came from the wings. When Hoyte and Traore played We suffered the heaviest defeats this season against the spuds Sevilla and M.utd so its no coincidence. Sagna and Clichy are masters at their positions. Ac Milan might be encouraged of what they’ve seen tonight but they’ll be foolish to think its going to be the same Arsenal on Wednesday. I’m expecting a very different Arsenal.I have no doubt we will get a good result against Ac Milan.

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