Category Archives: Injury News

Arsenal Injury Updates: Latest Fitness Updates Ahead of Tottenham Clash

Latest member of Arsenal’s treatment table

With the first set of European fixtures done and dusted, Arsenal has crashed yet again in the same hurdle for the past four seasons and all focus would be firmly fixed on the club’s fading title challenge as well as the semifinal clash with Wigan in the FA Cup. The folks at Osesax compiled a lovely article on lessons learned from the Champions League and trust me, it’s worth a read.

The Premier League clash against Arsenal’s eternal rivals, Tottenham, is just around the corner and a victory against that lot would go a long way of signalling the Gunners title ambitions which is getting diminished with the fact that Chelsea is on cruise control at the top of the league. With Manchester City crashing out of two competitions in the space of a few days (we’ve been there!! lol), they would want to reignite their surge for the Premier League and of course, there’s a certain resurgent Liverpool that have been firing all cylinders lately.

With many more key fixtures coming up in the coming weeks, it’s really disheartening to know that the Gunners will be without the services of its most prized asset, Mesut Ozil. The creative playmaker’s form has blown hot and cold in his first season in the Premier League and after a blistering start to his career at the club, he has reached a few low points as the season progressed.

Less than a week after he was booed by his own countrymen in a national team match, Ozil was forced to exit Arsenal’s Champions League match with Bayern Munich at halftime after picking up a hamstring injury. Ozil had a game to forget and his stats in the game (according to WhoScored) weren’t encouraging. Prior to the game against Bayern on Tuesday, Ozil opened the scoring in Arsenal’s emphatic 4-1 mauling of Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinal and his celebrations showed how much the goal meant to him.

Arsene Wenger gave an update on Ozil’s injury ahead of the Tottenham clash,

“He is out. I don’t know for how long but it is a hamstring injury. There are scans going on.”

Hamstring injuries usually take up to a couple of weeks (three to four) to heal but that’s if it’s a strain or just a pull. However, if the hamstring is torn, like Lukas Podolski’s case in August 2013, it could take the German up to three to four months to recuperate from the injury, which would also mean that he may join the list of star players set to miss out of the World Cup. For his sake, let’s hope the scans reveal that it’s the former, not the latter.

Aaron Ramsey is another player that has been on the treatment table for a couple of months. He got injured on his birthday in the Gunners 3-1 victory over West Ham and Wenger stated that it was a thigh injury that was to sideline him for six to eight weeks.

It seemed as if a comeback was on the cards in late January but Ramsey suffered a setback and faced more time on the treatment table. Arsenal signed Kim Kallstrom on loan to make up for Ramsey’s loss but the experienced Swede suffered a back strain that kept him out for a while. The Mirror reported that Ramsey was going to make his long-awaited comeback against Tottenham this weekend, but Wenger has confirmed that this game is too soon for the Welsh Messi due to “difficulties”,

“We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available. He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term.”

With Ozil, Ramsey and of course, Jack Wilshere out injured, the Gunners would struggle to find some creativity from the middle of the park unless the manager wants to continue using the Ox as an auxiliary central midfielder alongside Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini. However, there’s a bit of good news as the manager has stated that Kallstrom could be in line for his debut this weekend,

“Kallstrom joins the normal training group today and I will have to decide if he’s is okay to be in the squad on Sunday. I will see how he looks, it is not impossible.”

The manager has also talked about the injured fullbacks, stating the Kieran Gibbs will have a fitness test while he’s hopeful that Nacho Monreal will be fit as well.

Despite these injuries, Arsenal has the adequate depth to make up for their losses but the sooner they return to full fitness, the better for everyone connected with the club.

I wish them speedy recoveries.

Sayonara.

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Latest Injury Updates and the Ox plays for the Arsenal Under-21s

View image on Twitter

Ox wearing the away kit for the first time

With the FA Cup third round now a distant memory, the Gunners have turned their focus to an absolutely vital encounter against Aston Villa that takes place on Monday. Fellow title hopefuls, Manchester City and Chelsea play on Saturday and if things go their way, they could usurp Arsenal from the top of the table, albeit temporarily.

With Arsenal observing events unfold on Saturday, there could be an extra amount of pressure heading into the game at Villa Park and with no Theo Walcott to score those goals out of the blue, the current lot that are fit will have to stand up and be counted.

Speaking of fitness, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain featured for 45 minutes in Arsenal’s Under-21s cup victory over Fulham yesterday evening. The Under-21 team had a rather experienced outlook with some fringe first-team players like Carl Jenkinson, Emmanuel Frimpong and Ryo Miyaichi getting some game time as well.

The Ox began the game on the right wing, but he switched sides with Miyaichi as the game progressed. He also exchanged passes with Benik Afobe but his attempted chip sailed effortlessly over the bar. The Ox continued to influence the game by swinging a free kick that was headed over the bar by Afobe.

He even had a shot that was saved by the Fulham Under-21s goalie but after the halftime break, the Under-21s manager replaced the lad with Jon Toral in his bid to work his way to full fitness.

Thomas Eisfeld scored what proved to be the winner on the 59th minute. Nico Yennaris darted towards the byline and swung a cross that was controlled by Miyaichi. The young Jap teed up Afobe but his blocked shot rolled to Eisfeld’s path and he wasted no time in poking the ball home to send the Gunners to the next round of the Under-21s Cup.

Oxlade-Chamberlain in a conditioning phase at the moment and he could make the bench on Monday in the match against Aston Villa. Having a player of his quality at the team’s disposal is vital to the team’s title challenge because Wenger would need every fit player he can get for the run-in.

View image on Twitter

A more realistic target for the lad would be the home clash against Fulham on the 18th of January and I’m positive that he would be relishing the opportunity to play in front of the Emirates faithful again. Like Lukas Podolski, it would be nice if he makes a goalscoring return as well.

After playing with his match-rusty teammate, Carl Jenkinson has stated that the Ox’s return is a big boost to the team,

“It has been tough for him, Chambo is a very positive guy in general, he’s great to be around and that’s why we get on so well and why we’re such good friends.

“But I could notice when he was out that it was tough for him at times. With the first little spell, maybe you can get through it, but it’s a long injury that he had and when you’ve been out for three or four months it can be tough mentally.

“But Chambo has got good people around him who have helped him through it and it’s great to have him back.

“He’s a really good friend of mine but football-wise, he’s a fantastic player who brings an awful lot to the team. To have him back in and around the group is a boost for everyone – he’s only young but he’s a key member of the squad.”

With so many games to play across three competitions between now and May, the Ox can rest assured that he’d get his own fair share of game time as the season progresses.

Arsene Wenger was generous enough to provide injury updates on the members of his squad working their way to full fitness. The extent of Theo Walcott’s injury is now old news, but the manager stated that he’s going to have surgery before going through a grueling rehabilitation phase and we can only hope he comes back stronger.

The manager also stated that Walcott’s injury could force his hand into making delving to the transfer market to sign a forward,

“[Walcott’s injury] has accelerated speculation first and of course my desire as well – but let’s not forget about Serge Gnabry who can play in the first team.

“We have Oxlade-Chamberlain back and we have many other players who can play on the flanks so to find better solutions than what we have internally will not be easy.

“Up front we lose Theo as a potential central forward and that’s maybe where we have to look outside. But we hopefully have Bendtner back in three weeks. We are there for the opportunities but it’s very difficult at the moment.”

The manager stated that the game might be too soon for Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vermaelen but they have a realistic chance of playing Arsenal’s next league game against Fulham. There are still doubts over the fitness of Nicklas Bendtner and he’s still going to be out for a while.

However, there was some good news over the fitness of Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil as the manager confirmed that they had a training session yesterday and will be available for selection on Monday. Congratulations to Ozil for winning the 2013 German Player of the Year award ahead of the treble-winning duo of Philip Lahm and Thomas Mueller.

That’s yer lot on injury news.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Enquires About Jackson Martinez and the Return of the Ox

Wanted: Arsenal have made an approach for Porto striker Jackson Martinez (above)

With Theo Walcott missing the remainder of the campaign and the Gunners sweating over the fitness of Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner, Lukas Podolski seems like the likeliest candidate to hold the fort till either Giroud or Bendtner return to full fitness. The German Machine has had a couple of appearances as the center forward but he hasn’t fully convinced Arsenal fans that he has what it takes to play that role. He’s better suited to his left wing role where he’s most effective.

With this in mind, Arsene Wenger knows that he has to delve into the transfer market to bring a center forward that would share the burden with Giroud because in as much as Nicklas Bendtner has done well to work his way back to the hearts of the fans, he has not signed a new deal and he has just six months left on his contract, which means that he can still be approached by any club.

Arsenal was heavily linked with Atletico Madrid’s hot-shot, Diego Costa, and according to the Mirror, the club’s hierarchy has released a statement notifying the predators of European football that their prized asset isn’t going anywhere in January. The Gunners have also set their sights on the young Real Madrid protege, Alvaro Morata, and the Mail reports that the Gunners are hoping to complete a short-term loan deal for the forward this transfer window.

With Morata on the fringes at Real Madrid, he would be hoping for the deal to come to fruition but the Mail has also reported that Arsenal are making enquiries for FC Porto’s Colombian forward, Jackson Martinez, if talks between the club and Real Madrid over Morata breaks down.

Jackson Martinez joined FC Porto last season and caught the eye scoring 34 goals in 43 games, with 26 goals in 30 league games as well as a couple of goals in the club’s Champions League campaign before they were ousted by Malaga in the first knockout round. This season, Jackson has been firing on all cylinders and according to WhoScored, he has netted 12 goals in 14 Liga Sagres matches.

On the international scene, Martinez along with the legendary Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez played key roles in Colombia’s qualification to the World Cup. Falcao’s exploits in Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco has proven that goalscorers from the Portuguese League can be very prolific and from the few games I’ve watched Jackson Martinez play, I believe he’s the real deal.

I’ll keep you updated as more news unfolds.

****

The loss of a key player like Walcott is a very heavy blow to Arsenal but there are so many players that can put in good shifts in his absence. This season, the Englishman has had some spells on the sidelines with an abdominal problem and in the course of his recuperation, Arsene Wenger has used Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Serge Gnabry to devastating effect in some games and ineffectual performances in others.

However, Theo Walcott’s “heir apparent”, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is fully fit again and he has returned to training after suffering an injury on the first game of the season. The Ox faced a lengthy lay-off after he suffered some ligament damage on his knee following a rash tackle from Aston Villa’s Antonio Luna and he was seen with clutches after the game.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: Suffered a knee injury

The Ox has been out for over four months, so it will take a long while before he gets back to the level of fitness required to hit top gear. A couple of Under-21 games should be on the cards for the English speedster and it would be heartwarming seeing the youngster on the pitch after an eternity out.

Since breaking out of the scene in 2011, the Ox has notched up 60 appearances for the Gunners, scoring six goals. He’s used more as an impact substitute but his finest hour in an Arsenal jersey came in the Champions League win against AC Milan at the Emirates where he was in scintillating form.

The lad is happy to be back in contention and he’s hoping to be part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad that would be on a plane to Brazil this summer,

“As a young guy growing up watching football and watching World Cups, this will be my first one [that I can play in]. Obviously I went to the Euros, which was an amazing experience – and that’s a massive achievement for me personally, especially as an 18-year-old boy. That was really special.

“But the World Cup is always that little bit more special because it’s the world stage. If I was able to be selected and go to Brazil it would be a dream come true and something that I’m definitely striving towards.

“Although for now I’m just focused on getting back in and around the Arsenal team and helping us do well this season. But as you mentioned, [going to] the World Cup is definitely something I would like to achieve.”

Going to the World Cup at the age of 20 would definitely be an awesome experience for the Ox but we as Arsenal fans would him to put his head and focus on his club. He should remember that it’s his performances at club level that would determine if he deserves a place or not.

The official website published a gallery of pictures showing the Ox training with the rest of the lad. Worth a peek.

Sayonara.

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Theo Walcott’s Injury: How Will Arsenal Cope in his Absence?

Hi-res-460993535-theo-walcott-of-arsenal-lies-injured-on-the-pitch_crop_north

Get well soon Theo

Injuries, they say, are part and parcel of the beautiful game but like a thief at night, it sneaks on you when you least expect it. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has had his fair share of injury worries in the past with a dislocated shoulder being a big concern at the early part of his career with the club. He has also had some ankle and hamstring problems as well down the years.

When he managed to stay fit for the entirety of a season, he slammed in 21 goals and many more things were expected of him in the forthcoming campaign for both club and country. Walcott began the 2013/14 campaign at a rather slow pace in terms of his output in the final third, with his assist to Olivier Giroud in the North London Derby being his most telling contribution in the early part of the campaign.

He finally broke his goalscoring duck with a technically astute finish against Olympique Marseille but he suffered an abdominal injury in the build up to the home clash against those goons from Stoke and required a surgery to mitigate the problem.

With Olivier Giroud falling ill and Nicklas Bendtner suffering an injury to his ankle, Walcott was afforded a chance can to strut his stuff in the center forward in the North London Derby against Tottenham on Saturday. His linkup play and movement was brilliant but his finishing was a bit wayward.

However, on the 81st minute after Arsene Wenger had made all his substitutions, Walcott was tackled by Danny Rose and he couldn’t get back up. While he was stretched out, he trolled the Spurs fans by reminding them of the scoreline and they pelted coins at him, but the Arsenal fans responded by throwing red and white scarves at their hero while signing his songs.

View image on Twitter

In his post-match press conference, Wenger wasn’t too sure about how bad the injury was, citing that it might just be a stretched ligament or just a kick, but after an extensive scan on Monday, the club regrettably announced that the speedster has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee, which means that he’ll be out for at least six months.

If you do your calculations right, you don’t need any soothsayer to tell you that Walcott’s 2013/14 campaign for the Gunners is over and he’ll play no part in England’s quest for glory in the World Cup which is very painful. On the international scene, Sven-Goran Eriksson put him (as a 16-year-old) on the plane to Germany in 2006, Fabio Capello didn’t deem him good enough to join the party in 2010 and now, injury has robbed him of a chance to shine in the big stage this time.

By the time, Russia would be hosting the World Cup in 2018, Walcott will be around 28/29-year-old, which ultimately means that it would probably be his last World Cup.

I can’t stress much about the loss of Walcott in these upcoming crucial clashes without revealing his stats so far this season with some aid from WhoScored,

 

Premier League

Champions League

Appearances (subs)

9 (4)

1 (1)

Goals

5

1

Assists

4

-

Shots (per game)

33 (2.5)

4 (2)

Dribbles (per game)

9 (0.7)

1 (0.5)

Key Passes (per game)

23 (1.8)

1 (0.5)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

258 (210)

28 (24)

Pass Completion percentage

81.4%

85.7%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

(1/0)

-

In the Premier League, Walcott was in a rich vein of goalscoring form with five goals in his last games and with Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud out of the equation, he was odds on to get an extended run of games in his favored center forward position that would have led to him scoring more goals.

Bleacher Report’s Sports Injuries Lead Writer, Will Carroll, has discussed at length about the short term and long term consequences of Walcott’s injury lay-off and according to PhysioRoom.com, seven players are currently out recovering from ACL injuries.

In the wake of Walcott’s loss, Arsene Wenger would have to count on the services of other players in the squad to do the job on the right wing, and there’s also the wildcard of going into the transfer market to get a new attacker in the mold of Walcott. Names like Ezequiel Lavezzi and Alexandre Pato come to mind.

Arsenal has a vast array of personnel that can be deployed in Walcott’s right wing position and I can look no further than Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and even Jack Wilshere – attacking midfielders that can cut in-field from the position. If Wenger chooses a direct approach, he can call on the services of Serge Gnabry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that can supplement Walcott’s style of play in terms of pace, but they also bring their dribbling skills, raw power, strong shots and crossing ability to support the attack.

Serge Gnabry

Gnabry had a great game against Tottenham

Even if Walcott seems to be covered on the right wing in terms of personnel that can take his place, questions are still raised whether his injury, coupled with Bendtner’s ankle injury, would force the manager’s hand to delve into the transfer market to sign a new forward.

Olivier Giroud is recovering from an illness and with a week’s rest, he’ll be odds on to return to the pitch against Aston Villa on Monday night. Beyond Giroud, Wenger can only summon the services of Lukas Podolski that hasn’t really impressed when he was deployed as a center forward. Podolski is another player with injury worries of his own, so can he be relied upon to stay fit for the remainder of the campaign?

It’s a big shame that the Gunners would miss a player of Walcott’s immense qualities because he offered Arsenal what no other winger in the team could – those raw reserves of blistering pace that they could use to exploit defenses.

I feel very sad for Walcott and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Let’s just hope that he’d do a Ramsey when he returns, rather than an Eduardo da Silva.

Sayonara.

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Updates on Ramsey’s Injury and Thoughts on his Replacements

Ramsey will miss the rest of the festive period

Aaron Ramsey has been one of the standout performers for Arsenal this season and his goalscoring exploits have endeared him to the fans. When he’s not scoring, he’s on the pitch giving a 110 percent for his side with his energy, work rate, tackles and of course, his neat passing range.

With his indispensable status in the team, Ramsey has featured heavily for the Gunners this season and these run of games have taken their toll on the Welshman as he pulled up short in the game against West Ham and he signified the bench that his time on the pitch was up. Arsene Wenger brought on Lukas Podolski in his stead and the rest they say was history.

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League

In his post-match conference, Wenger was asked about the extent of Ramsey’s injury,

“It looks [serious]. It looks like a thigh strain. I don’t know how serious the thigh strain is but the Christmas period certainly is over for him. It was his birthday today.”

This means that Ramsey is likely to miss the crucial Premier League clashes against Newcastle and Cardiff. He may also miss the FA Cup third round North London Derby clash which would make him gutted because the game against Tottenham has an extra incentive, feeling and atmosphere about it.

According to the PhysioRoom.com, a player with grade one thigh strains should be rested from any sporting activity for about three weeks, and grade two thigh strains for about four to six weeks. In the case of a complete rupture, the thigh muscle will have to be repaired surgically and the rehabilitation afterwards will take about three months.

Ramsey is a player that could actually do with some rest, so that he can recharge his batteries and come back stronger and refreshed.

Santi Cazorla is a player that has been eased into action following an ankle injury but the manager chose to rest him in the crucial games against Manchester City and Chelsea. When he took to the pitch against West Ham, he became a beast of a player when he went to the No. 10 role alongside Mesut Ozil and was directly involved in Walcott’s first goal.

Ramsey’s stats this season (via WhoScored) have been jaw-dropping to say the least,

STATS (EPL Only)

Aaron Ramsey

Appearances (Subs)

17 (1)

Goals Scored

8

Assists

6

Overall shots (Shots per Game)

40 (2.2)

Bookings (Yellow / Red)

2 / 0

Total Tackles (Tackles per Game)

66 (3.7)

Total Interceptions (Interceptions per Game)

19 (1.1)

Total Fouls Committed (Fouls per Game)

27 (1.5)

Dribbles (Attempted/Per Game)

27 (1.5)

Total Passes (Accurate Passes)

1262 (1064)

Pass Completion %

84.3

Total Long Balls (Accurate)

89 (62)

Total Through Balls (Accurate)

23 (7)

To lose a player with such amazing stats to injury is heartbreaking but Arsenal is a team with sufficient depth to cover for his absence. With the game against Newcastle coming up next, Wenger can opt for a more defensive approach with Mikel Arteta playing alongside Mathieu Flamini.

When Flamini plays in tandem with Arteta in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield, there’s this solidity they bring to the team and they offer a lot of protection to the rearguard. They are both seasoned veterans and their experience and discipline are always on show when they take to the pitch.

This season, Flamini has proved to the fans that some of the best things in life are free. His arrival mitigated a short-term challenge at the club, as Arsenal was desperately in need of cover in central midfield following the injury suffered by Mikel Arteta. In his second debut as a first half substitute for Jack Wilshere in the North London Derby, Flamini made his presence felt and he has been very vocal, directing his teammates and he has been willing to put his body on the line for his team.

He has offered some steel in midfield and his presence and influence have been hugely felt in the games he has played so far.

According to WhoScored, listed below are Mathieu Flamini’s stats this season,

 

Premier League

Champions League

Appearances (subs)

9 (4)

4

Tackles made (per game)

19 (1.5)

9 (2.3)

Interceptions made (per game)

16 (1.2)

12 (3)

Fouls committed (per game)

12 (0.9)

5 (1.3)

Clearances (per game)

20 (1.5)

6 (1.5)

Blocked shots (per game)

4 (0.1)

3 (0.1)

Total Passes (accurate passes)

507 (435)

294 (264)

Pass Completion percentage

91.7%

89.8%

Bookings (Yellow/Red)

(5/0)

-

Flamini stats this season have shown how he has been an asset to the team in the games he has played thus far. When he’s not with the ball, he keeps barking instructions to his teammates, putting them on track. His passing range is very impressive too, and from the tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocked shots, you’d know he’s the real deal as an anchor man.

Wenger can also opt to bring on Jack Wilshere to play his favored box-to-box position where he made his breakthrough in the 2010/11 campaign.

All-action: Wilshere produced a man-of-the-match performance against Barcelona in Arsenal's 2-1 victory

This season, the acquisition of Mesut Ozil and the emergence of Aaron Ramsey has seen Wilshere drafted to the wings and he hasn’t been too effective, even though he has scored four goals in 17 appearances – his highest goalscoring tally in Arsenal colors.

Bringing Wilshere to the middle of the park alongside Arteta would see the maestro make those trademark lung-bursting runs and he’s be seeking to create something out of nothing for his team, which will be beneficial to the team’s cause as each game progresses.

Wilshere has dominated the back pages for his off the pitch shenanigans but it’s high time he earns plaudits for his performances on it.

Sayonara.

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