Can The Injury List Get Worse? YES!

by @GolfinGooner

So here we sit, frustrated as hell. We’ve had poor back to back league performances that saw us drop points from ‘winnable’ matches (they are ALL winnable, but these damn well should have been wins). Then we lose Koscielny to injury, followed by both Cazorla and Alexis. What the hell else could go wrong??? Plenty.

How Could it Get Worse?

It appears that we will be pressed to play both Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain in back to back to back (rinse and repeat) games.   We also have the holiday fixture congestion approaching.  And these two are JUST returning from injury. Heaping that kind of workload upon players only just returning… well, we’ve seen this before haven’t we. But where else can we turn?

On the wings we’re looking at Campbell and Ox – I just don’t see anything else without turning to the Academy. Is there a chance to not overuse a fresh-from-physio-room Ox? Could we start Debuchy and push Bellerin (who is rumored to be playing in ‘the red’ already) up the wing? Yes, but that is unlikely. Could we turn to The Jeff, or other youth options? Yes, but also unlikely. It looks very much as though Campbell and Ox are our wide men for more than a few games right now. Options are limited, and another injury would really leave us searching.

And what about the middle? Ramsey most likely to partner Flamini. And if either go down or Ramsey needs a rest? Are we really considering Chambers? I’m not convinced. Ox wants to play in the middle, but we’ve seen too many mistakes from him when playing deep – and then who would play out wide? It honestly looks like we’ll run Ramsey into the ground – again, options are limited. And if we run him into another injury… oh dear.

Of course, some injury news could change by the time this blog is very old at all. Other options may be made available (Walcott as a wide option, etc.), yet at this moment it is truly frightening.  But now a word on…

Gulliver What?

What is this made up theory?  Its not convincing to me.  The supposition is that smaller players have to work harder to be effective and therefore suffer injuries more often.  But I believe that supposition falls apart when one realizes that ALL players work as hard as they can to gain an advantage.  Larger players aren’t taking it easy or otherwise not working to their maximum potential – its absolutely preposterous to believe.  So why was this so easy a sell as a headline?  We’re frustrated.  Our emotions rule the roost.  Its not surprising, but please give it some critical thought before biting into it hook line and sinker.  Smaller players may well be injured more often than larger players – but likely due to differences in mass when collisions occur, not work rate.

I do believe we have perpetual injury risks however – not because of size, but because of playing style.  Let me explain…

I see Ox and Wilshere as perpetual injury risks unless they improve their ball handling just a bit. And by this I mean simply, keeping it a bit closer to their bodies. Both of these players like to get the ball out in front of them and run – too far out there, too often. This leads to two things that can cause injury: 1) stretching for the ball, and 2) inviting tackles. Respectively, Ox keeps doing his muscles and Wilshere keeps getting clattered. All based on the same tendency – not maintaining tight enough control of the ball. The master of tight control, Cazorla, is rarely injured (getting whacked in the knee by someone you didn’t see coming notwithstanding). Same for Ozil – close control, fewer injuries. Lessons to be learned here.  And if you need more models – Messi has rarely been injured in his career and he has got more out of his small frame than any player, well…. ever.  But he has exacting, and close, control.

Ramsey and Alexis are peas in a pod as well, in that they are perpetual injury risks because… neither player will stop running. Wenger indulges them, they rarely miss a minute. Their National teams indulge them, they rarely miss a minute. Overwork is their issue, and it looks like Ramsey is in for more. As fans we love their endeavor, their perpetual motion, their effort.  Chasing every ball, involved in every battle.  But someone has to keep these horses in the barn once in a while or injuries will persist.  (Honestly, Sanchez hasn’t been injured quite that often – he’s a freak of nature, yet not indestructible.)

 

These next few weeks are going to get very, very interesting assuming Ramsey and Ox feature a lot. And very frightening. Myself – I’m going to be an emotional wreck watching these games. An absolute jittery, nail biting, pacing, train wreck of a personality. The beer (or bloody mary, or whatever I spike my coffee with) will truly be needed for medicinal purposes – self-medication here I come!


 


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