Arsenal are plagued by injuries again, but Wenger isn’t blameless

Arsenal seem quite literally cursed by frequent injuries to important players. Since 2002, Arsenal lead the way for injuries in the Premier League by a comfortable margin, and they’re under stress again at this very moment.

The Gunners have had 891 injuries in the past 12 years of the Premier League, Manchester United are a not-so-close second with 794. Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Everton make up the top five with 788, 777, and 666 respectively. I can’t even begin to suggest a reason why Arsenal seem to get more injuries than anyone else but we’ll just go with a curse for now.

Perhaps when Wenger joined Arsenal in 1996 a curse was placed upon him that he will never go a season without a chain of injuries affecting his side. Or maybe he buys crooked players who are then run into the ground and eventually break under his guidance?

It does seem that the curse is more present in modern times at The Emirates stadium and there are some statistics on past players which are quite astounding:

  • Samir Nasri – has missed 50 days with Manchester City in the past three seasons. Missed 180 days in the same time period with Arsenal.
  • Alex Song – picked up no injuries with Barcelona during his two seasons at the Nou Camp. Missed 75 days during his time with Arsenal (four seasons).
  • Gael Clichy – No injuries with Manchester City over the past three seasons. Missed 130 days in three seasons with The Gunners.
  • Cesc Fabregas – Missed 42 days in three seasons with Barcelona, compared with 299 days in the same time period with Arsenal.
  • Lukas Podolski – Out for 74 days with FC Koln during three seasons. Out for 117 days so far during just two seasons at The Emirates.
  • Mesut Ozil – Never injured during three seasons with Real Madrid. Already missed 52 days and facing up to 80 more with his current long-term injury.

Say what you like about these statistics but they look a little more than coincidental. However, these players of recent years only equate to a tiny amount of the total amount on Arsenal injuries during the past 12 years. So why is it that Arsenal not only continue to pick up a vast amount of injuries, but they also cannot seem to prepare for such eventuality.

It seems that Arsenal’s squad depth is never quite strong enough, and when every Gunners fan knows that they are bound to face some painful injuries throughout the season, why aren’t they seemingly prepared for what everyone else is waiting for?

Arsenal have a squad of 28 players, that seems a decent amount. However currently The Gunners have nine players out through injury so Wenger can only pick from 19. Of those nine players, six are not expected to return inside this calendar month. Arsenal’s crisis continues and with less players now having to play more often, Arsenal will be expecting more injuries soon. The Gunners may have the most current players out injured in the Premier League but they’re not far ahead of the pack – in fact, they’re joint with Newcastle United on nine. Burnley, Everton, Liverpool, Man United, and West Ham are all currently missing eight players – so is there even an excuse to be had, or can Arsenal just not cope with their lack of squad depth?

Every team has key players and you’d argue that none of them can afford to lose them for a long amount of time, but not having a squad with depth incase of these injuries is suicide. The lesser sides of the Premier League don’t have the strongest of squads in general but they usually have back-up players of similar quality to their first team. However, the bigs clubs tend to have a larger gap between their first choice players and their back-up players. Arsenal for example will experience a bigger drop in performances without nine first-team players than a team like Burnley or West Ham would – not to say that they’ll do well, but they weren’t expected to do particularly well in the first place.

Arsene Wenger is spending more money during transfer windows and is signing excellent players, however, due to injuries plaguing his squad again, he’ll be under pressure from the Arsenal fans come January to sign even more – can’t he do anything right?!