Why Arsenal suffer more serious injuries in the Premier League than any other team – and why it will never end!

“Are you going to do anything about this mate?”

In the early 90’s, George Graham’s Arsenal were in full flow – we had the best defence in the country, lead by Tony Adams, and were a tough side that would be hard to beat. Our defence consisted of Mr Arsenal, alongside Steve Bould (or Martin Keown), Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.

When Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996, he inherited the famous back four and a squad that included Andy Linighan, Ray Parlour, John Hartson, Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp – all players who were warriors on the pitch and wouldn’t take any nonsense from anyone!

He then added Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, who were also players who had a presence and could fight on the pitch as well. We had success with these players, and more were added in the form of Marc Overmars, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Ashley Cole, Lauren, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, all of whom were supremely talented but also warriors on the pitch and leaders of it.

But then we started the move to The Emirates and that’s when things changed.

Instead of playing incisive and devastating football, we started emulating the Barcelona style of play. And instead of buying ready-made winners, we started buying players who were more technically gifted on the ball – players like Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri and Santi Cazorla.

And I’m not complaining – with these types of players we played some really fantastic football which was a joy to watch. But the problem was Arsene was striving for beautiful, technical football in a league which just didn’t suit it.

We would win most of our games by running teams off the park with our excellent use of space, beautiful passing and lovely movement. We would score 3 or 4 goals a game most of the time, sweeping away the opposition – but this only worked against the lower teams in the league – and that is were the problem started.

Our style of play was based on a high level of technical ability, and against teams 5th and below it worked a treat. They didn’t know how to handle us and most of the time we would win. Our game relied on excellent offence and less emphasis on defence, which again is fine against most teams in the league, but not against the Top 4 sides.

Which is why we constantly finished 4th in the Premier League for a period of around 12 years. But the problem during those 12 years was that the teams below the Top 4, who had previously struggled to beat us, resorted to the only tactic that worked – being physical.

If you’re playing a team like Arsenal who move the ball so well and keep a high level of possession, then teams figured out that going toe-to-toe or even sitting back and hoping for the best just didn’t work. So teams started resorting to kicking us off the field, literally.

And the problem was, it worked.

And as more teams resorted to this “tactic”, the more the media portrayed Arsenal as a team of pansies, a team of players who didn’t “like it up them”. And this got worse and worse and worse, to the stage were it would be safe to say the treatment we received was close to assault.

The perception was that Arsenal players couldn’t handle the physical side of the game, and to get to them you just needed to “kick them off the park”. The ironic thing is this approach would probably work against any team, but for whatever reason, the media decided that Arsenal should be the team that deserved this focus, and once this narrative was set, it was hard to shake off.

In essence, Arsenal were effectively being punished for playing attractive football. We’ve had three players; Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo, who all suffered horrendous, career threatening injuries because of this false narrative. Abou Diaby and Eduardo were never the same again and their careers were ruined, and Aaron Ramsey took a long time to recover mentally from his ordeal.

And over the years, I remember horrific tackles on our players which were fortunate not to end in serious injury. In particular I remember really late challenges on Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole, Edu, Jose Antonio Reyes and Robert Pires, and I’m sure there are many more.

Which other teams have suffered as many career threatening injuries like we have? I recall Liverpool having one when Djibril Cisse broke his leg against Blackburn, Luc Nilis suffering a broken leg while playing for Aston Villa, and Coventry City’s David Busst when they played Manchester United.

In terms of serious injuries caused by opponents, then we are well clear at the top of that table.

Read the following from Dave Kitson, about Tony Pulis who was the manager of Stoke when Aaron Ramsey suffered that horrific leg break:

‘Stoke manager Tony Pulis absolutely despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, hated the way he played.

‘All week I had never seen a manager so desperate to win a game of football, it was bordering on out of control.

‘I remember Pulis pacing up and down shouting random things — this bundle of nervous energy blurting random swear words, trying to burn off his own nervous energy.

‘And, of course, the upshot of all of that energy was that we went over the top and it cost Ramsey a year of his career.’

‘It seemed to me that was as a direct result of players reacting to their manager’s over enthusiasm and buying into that whole thing and carrying out his instructions and crossing the line.

‘But it just went too far. His desperation to beat Wenger and justify his way of playing football. It crossed the line and went too far.’ 

That is how teams approach games against Arsenal, and if you think that teams are just being “a little physical” then you’re wrong.

There is this perception, narrative, call it whatever you want, that it’s okay to give Arsenal players a little more of a kick, or a little more of a shove, now and then because “it’s just Arsenal” and they just whine and cry about being pushed around.

And that’s what lead to the inexcusable foul on Bernd Leno by Neal Muapay yesterday. If you push someone that is running on the ground, they’ll just fall over. Anyone with half a brain cell knows that if you push someone who is airborne, then they are going to struggle to land safely. Go on, try it yourself. Jump in the air, and get a friend to shove you. See how you land and see whether it’s a pleasant experience – because I can guarantee you it’s not.

And the worst thing about all of this is the victim blaming. Are you serious?!

When Aaron Ramsey had his leg smashed into 100 pieces, everyone was feeling sorry for Ryan Shawcross. And the same thing happened when Martin Taylor ended Eduardo’s career – it is an absolute farce!

And yesterday, people were feeling sorry for Muapay. The logic of the whole situation is completely ridiculous!

It’s like driving your car down the street, with your eyes closed, and then when you run over 4 or 5 people, claiming you “didn’t mean to hurt anyone”.

As a footballer, you know exactly what you’re doing at any given time. There is no excuse for reckless behaviour. The way people try and justify these things is completely unbelievable – Ryan Shawcross ran into Aaron Ramsey at full pelt with a 100% reckless and dangerous challenge. Martin Taylor’s foot was studs up, well off the ground. And yesterday, the ball wasn’t even available to win yet Neal Muapay thought it was appropriate to push an airborne goalkeeper.

Until the false narrative in the media ends, which won’t be any time soon, then Arsenal players will be suffering serious injuries at the hands of the opposition time and time again.

And one last thought, how many times have Arsenal players suffered really bad injuries against teams in Europe?

Exactly.

 

Why Arsenal suffer more serious injuries in the Premier League than any other team – and why it will never stop

“Are you going to do anything about this mate?”

In the early 90’s, George Graham’s Arsenal were in full flow – we had the best defence in the country, lead by Tony Adams, and were a tough side that would be hard to beat. Our defence consisted of Mr Arsenal, alongside Steve Bould (or Martin Keown), Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.

Read more >>

 

Three Players That Could Sign For Arsenal This Summer According To The Bookmakers

The Premier League season hasn’t yet been completed, but already some attention has been switched to the upcoming transfer window. 

It has recently been reported that the date the window may open could be delayed until August, which could mean that the season will be ended before players are able to bring in any new signings.

Arsenal will be active in the upcoming window, as Mikel Arteta attempts to build a squad in his image. There will certainly be outgoings, with David Luiz already reportedly set for the exit. But, which players do the bookmakers believe will be moving in the opposite direction over the summer?

Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser could be on his way to the Emirates according to the latest odds. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both reportedly interested in the Bournemouth winger, with the Scottish international available on a free transfer when his contract expires. 

Fraser has been an integral part of the Bournemouth set-up throughout their stay in the Premier League, and he will likely be an important part in their team as they look to consolidate their position in the top-flight.

The 26-year-old has scored 16 goals in 120 games in the Premier League. He would add a new option for Arteta on the wings, with one of his main strengths being his crossing ability. Throughout his career in the Premier League, he has made 705 crosses, with a cross accuracy of 23%. He has registered 26 assists and has a tackle success rate of 65%. His attitude will be a welcome addition to the Arsenal dressing room and will be an astute signing for the club.

Odsonne Edouard

The Gunners are also the favourites to bring in Odsonne Edouard from Celtic. The dialogue between the two clubs seems to be strong after the Gunners previously did business with the Scottish champions last summer to bring in Kieran Tierney. 

Edouard has been a revelation since joining Celtic from Paris Saint-Germain, as he has scored 62 goals in 126 appearances in all competitions. This season had been the best one for the 22-year-old to date, as he had scored 22 goals in just 25 starts in the SPL.

The Frenchman is already being linked to a number of Premier League sides, which means Arsenal will likely need to make a big offer to get their man. He also has European experience, which would be seen as a positive by Arteta, as Edouard scored three goals and made two assists in six appearances in the Europa League this season. 

The Gunners could yet face stern competition from Manchester United and Everton for the striker.

Thomas Partey

The name on the lips of all Arsenal fans this summer will be Thomas Partey. Atletico Madrid are reportedly open to doing business with the Gunners for the combative midfielder, but the Spanish side may demand Alexandre Lacazette to be included in any potential deal. Arsenal fans are hoping that he deal can be completed, as he will add some much-needed steel into the Arsenal midfield. 

The Gunners may still face competition for his signature, with Manchester United and PSG also showing an interest. The 26-year-old has been an important part of the Atletico team this season, as he has made 34 appearances in all competitions and has scored one goal. 

He will help Arsenal improve their defensive record immeasurably as he makes an average of 2.5 tackles per game and 1.4 interceptions. 

Arteta will be hoping to improve his discipline; however, as the Ghanaian international has already been booked ten times in La Liga this season. 

Here we have it. The transfer window will be a horse race as exciting to watch as the Triple Crown 2020 races. Who will come out on top we don’t know, but we are hopeful that Arsenal makes some key signings to give Arteta the depth he deserves.

 

Can Arsenal Still Reach The Top Four, And How Important Is European Football For The Gunners?

Mikel Arteta has enjoyed an incredible run of form since managing to implement his ideas into the Arsenal set-up, and that means that despite mid-season turmoil, the Gunners still have an outside chance of reaching the top four. 

Arteta has managed to turn the tide in his favour since a December defeat to Chelsea to end a rocky 2019.

Since the turn of the year, the Gunners have been strong domestically and are yet to lose in the league. In the eight fixtures in the Premier League so far this year, the Gunners have won four and drawn four. That run of form also includes victories in their last three matches against Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham United. 

Granted, away firm has been indifferent, with the Gunners yet to taste victory away from the Emirates under Arteta, but the initial signs have been good.

Can The Gunners Still Finish In The Top Four?

Ahead of the Premier League restarting for the Gunners with a trip to the Etihad, Arteta’s side are eight points away from the Champions League places. Fifth may still be enough for sides in the top-flight to secure a place in the Champions League next season due to the UEFA ban that could be hanging over Manchester City. 

Arsenal are five points away from Manchester United, who are currently in that spot. In order for the Gunners to get into those spots, they will have to build momentum and go on a long winning run. However, let’s look at how they were before Arteta arrived: basically the Miami Dolphins of the Premier League (one of the worst teams in the NFL if you are not familiar with them).

The fourth spot may be a bridge too far for the Gunners, and with Arsenal having already been knocked out of the Europa League, City’s ban could be a blessing for the Gunners. Fifth could be their best chance, but five points is still a huge mountain to climb with ten games of the season remaining. But, if the Gunners can turn the draws that they have got away from home into wins, then that gap could be bridged fairly quickly.

The fixture list does present some tough fixtures to end the season, with Arsenal having to travel to City and Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners also host Leicester City and Liverpool over the final weeks. Only one of the teams that Arsenal come up against have realistically nothing to play for, as fixtures against Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City, Aston Villa and Watford could also be tricky given that all sides are locked in a relegation battle.

How Important Is Champions League Football?

Champions League football is important to all the teams in the top six, but Arsenal needs the competition more than most. The financial restraints that are on the club are still huge, which means the qualification for the Champions League will give Arteta some much-needed cash to spend. 

In order to compete over the coming seasons, Arsenal will need to invest in their squad, as the sides around them are getting stronger with every passing window.

There are also new sides coming into the competition, with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City both looking likely to be in the mix again next season.

However, the most important aspect of qualifying for the Champions League will be the players that the club will be able to attract. 

The biggest names demand to play in the competition, which means that the Gunners could also need the top-tier European competition in order to persuade Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to stay at the club

The Gunners captain is the most important player at the club, and if they happen to lose him, then Arteta will be forced to start from scratch in his plans to make Arsenal competitive again. 

 

Transfer Rumours: Arsenal backed to sign Willian this summer; Philippe Coutinho also linked with Gunners

As speculation about Willian’s next club continues, Arsenal have emerged as contenders to sign the Chelsea star when the transfer window re-opens.

Willian is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season, with north London rivals Tottenham currently the bookmakers’ favourites to sign the 31-year-old on a free transfer.

However, Spurs are not the only club to have shown interest in the Brazilian in recent weeks, and the Gunners are second favourites with a number of bookmakers at time of writing in their ‘Willian Next Club market’.

Transfer specials are always popular with football fans at this time of year ahead of the transfer window reopening at the end of the season, with many taking advantage of various free bet offers for football transfers as seen at FreeTips.com.

Willian’s agent recently admitted there is uncertainty over the winger’s future. Responding to speculation about his client’s next move, Kia Joorabchian told talkSPORT: “I think all free agent players are in an awkward situation because do you sign a new contract, do you extend for a month, do you extend for a longer period?

“I think that will be something that will just play itself out closer to the time.”

Whether the odds on Willian to Arsenal shorten in the coming weeks ahead of his contract expiring remains to be seen.

Willian is not the only player being linked with the Gunners, however, with former Liverpool ace Philippe Coutinho also backed for a move to Emirates Stadium.

After dazzling at times with Liverpool, Coutinho has been strongly linked with a return to the Premier League after a tough couple of years in Spain and Germany.

The 27-year-old scored 21 goals and had 11 assists to his name in 76 games for Barcelona, but failed to make a good impression with the club’s supporters.

During his time on loan at Bayern Munich, Coutinho has scored nine goals and made eight assists from 32 appearances.

Barca are ready to accept a loss on the Brazilian, who cost them over £120million in 2018, and Chelsea are favourites to be his next club.

Although recent reports in Spain claimed Chelsea were close to agreeing a deal for the forward, a deal is yet to be struck.

Everton and Newcastle are also reportedly interested in signing the former Inter Milan ace, but as speculation the player’s future continues, Arsenal are second favourites with some bookmakers at time of writing, according to the latest ‘Philippe Coutinho next club odds’.

Coutinho to Arsenal is currently as short as 6/1 with some bookies despite being 16/1 elsewhere, which may make it a good time to take advantage of the free bets available on transfer specials as seen at FreeTips.com.