Sometimes you’ve got to wonder if Arsene Wenger did something atrocious in another life, because the never-ending injury crisis at Arsenal has been launched past the realms of depression and landed full circle at being nothing more than a joke.
You’ve also got to feel some form of sympathy for the manager, because there’s no telling how much more he could have done if he had a fully fit squad over the best part of the last decade. Maybe you buy your own luck and somewhere Wenger is being punished for not giving in to the demands of the wider football world. But it also raises the question as to whether certain players, notably Abou Diaby, still have a future at the club.
The Jack Wilshere injury, in hindsight, seems extremely predictable. The club had just revealed this outstanding young talent to football audiences—a player they paid nothing for—and have then instantly had it all taken away from them. Maybe in some strange way it would have been less painful had the club sold the player to Barcelona. No, not really. But it’s like this record is playing on a loop for the club, whereby the most promising or the most valued players are consistently lost to long-term injuries.
It happened with Eduardo when he started to look like an excellent bargain for the club; the injury to Aaron Ramsey couldn’t have happened at a worst time; and really, which other club in world football will have their best striker pick up a potentially season-ending injury while playing in an international friendly? There’s got to be something more to it than just bad preparation or bad luck for the club.
But Abou Diaby is currently a player who divides opinion, with most acknowledging his obvious talent but not too keen on the club hanging onto him. And there’s good reason for their reservations for the player. Of course, Diaby’s injury problems are not of his own making, but when does a club cease to hold the hand of a player who is simply no use over a long period of time?
Many might say that Diaby, like van Persie, may come to have a breakout year later on in his career. However, is it really worth hanging on to a player who may or may not fulfil his potential? The 25-man squad quota is also something for the club to think about, and Diaby takes up an often frustrating position on that list.
But like Tomas Rosicky, Eduardo, Thomas Vermaelen and now Jack Wilshere, fans are right to expect the worst with regards to Diaby’s long-term fitness. He can be an asset in the short time he does get himself on the pitch, but is it safe to put the hopes of a club in the hands of players like this?
The problem is it’s difficult to place blame at the club or with Arsene Wenger’s training methods, as these are more often than not freak injuries. However, it happens with alarming regularity.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny have been withdrawn from their national teams ahead of this week’s friendlies, and I’m sure there were a good handful of Arsenal fans expecting the worst.
Maybe it is just cloaking a club with the “victim” tag, and certainly many other supporters will feel differently. But there is something wholly unnatural about the consistency of freak accidents and injuries to Arsenal players.
Does Abou Diaby still have a future at the club? I believe this season will be make or break for him. If he can prove to be fit for the majority of the season then he can be an asset. However, another injury-plagued year under his belt and he should be moved on, regardless of how talented he is.