Reviewing Arsenal’s Injury Situation Ahead of the North London Derby
Injuries, they say, are part and parcel of the beautiful game.
Arsenal is a club that has always been plagued with injuries in the past, and this season is no different. Gooner Daily would like to look into the injuries suffered by the club’s players chronologically , the impact of their injuries as well as the alternatives available in those playing positions.
Danny Welbeck (knee) – Injured since April 2016
Just when he had managed to get ahead of Olivier Giroud and scored a couple of goals, That Guy Welbz suffered a nasty knee injury that ended his season abruptly, as well as killing off any hopes of the Englishman participating in Euro 2016. It’s fair to say that the Gunners have moved on without Welbeck but he will be a welcome addition to the club, after he completes his rehabilitation. Knee injuries usually take a long time to recover, so we may need to proceed with caution with Welbz. Let’s also remember that he suffered a long term injury with his knee before he made his comeback in that epic 2-1 win over Leicester. That’s just a fading memory right now. Shame.
Per Mertesacker (knee) – Injured since August 2016
Shortly after his announcement as the club captain with Mikel Arteta hanging his boots, the BFG led his team for the first time as the team’s #1 citizen on the pitch against RC Lens but suffered an awkward knee injury that has kept him out of the side for quite some time. It’s rather unfortunate to see the calamity that had befallen Mertesacker but the club went ahead to since Skhodran Mustafi, and he has been an indispensable player thus far, forging a formidable partnership with Laurent Koscielny.
Mertesacker is expected to return in the second half of the season but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Gabriel Paulista and Rob Holding still at the club, eager to get their chance in the first team.
Chuba Akpom (back) – Injured since October 2016
The young striker’s only appearance of the season came in the 4-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in September. I actually expected Akpom to be loaned out in the summer but he stayed behind and he hasn’t had any opportunities in the Premier League, with his only chance coming up in the EFL Cup. While I really like the lad and his style of play, I just feel he’s not cut out for life at the Emirates and we should do a Gnabry on him. But hey, what do I know.
Lucas Perez (ankle) – Injured since October 2016
Lucas Perez has featured sparingly for the first time since his 17.1m move from Deportivo de la Coruna, but he opened his goalscoring account with a brace against Nottingham Forest. It looked like Wenger was prepared to give Lucas an extended run in the EFL Cup but he suffered a rather unfortunate injury when he got tackled on the ankle that will sideline him till December, realistically. For a player that was trying to settle into his new team, that was a big blow.
Lucas is one of those players that add to the depth of the team and he has shown his quality in the handful of outings he has been given by his manager.
Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon) – Injured since October 2016
The diminutive maestro featured in the 6-0 win against Ludogorets at the Emirates and hasn’t returned to the team since he was substituted. The Achilles tendon seems to be a tricky one and even though the club has the adequate depth to replace Cazorla, he has become one of the players that make up the spine of the team. The club has the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and the fit-again Aaron Ramsey to fill the Cazorla role but I’m sure the club are doing what they can to ensure he’s fit enough to play in the eagerly anticipated North London Derby.
Theo Walcott (hamstring) – Injured since October 2016
For those that don’t know, Walcott, has grown in stature this season to become a very important player to the team and with eight goals to his name, he’s the joint-top scorer at the club with Alexis Sanchez. Since Wenger changed to this new-look formation, Walcott has been one of the beneficiaries as his timely runs into space has been exploited by his teammates, leading to a hatful of goalscoring opportunities.
He has also matured as a footballer, and his defensive output has been staggering this seaosn, in stark contrast to the ‘Walcott’ we used to know. According to WhoScored, Walcott has made 1.7 tackles per game, 0.8 interceptions per game, 0.9 clearances per game and 0.5 blocks. That’s usually zero all through. He is vital to this new formation and I hope he passes the fitness test for Sunday’s showdown.
Nacho Monreal (muscle) – Injured since October 2016
When I think about how Jonathan Cafu turned Kieran Gibbs inside out on Tuesday night, then I’d appreciate how underrated Monreal is. An efficient and ever-consistent performer, Monreal’s good works go unnoticed until we are forced to use Gibbs in certain games. It’s not like Gibbs is cow dung, but sadly, he’s no where near Monreal’s level when it comes to consistency, he’s the guy that just followed up an assist on Saturday with a horror show on Tuesday.
Monreal will have a fitness test ahead of the NLD and I’m here hoping he will be fit enough to make it.
Hector Bellerin (knock) – Injured since November 2016
Maybe there was a plan to rest him against Ludogorets but news emanating from the Gunners camp was that the young Spaniard picked up a knock in training and had to be left out of the team that did the business in Sofia. With the Ludogorets game done and dusted, the onus is on Bellerin to see whether he will be fit enough to start against Tottenham.
In his absence, there is a Matt Debuchy that is clearly out of favor and a Carl Jenkinson that is on his road to recovery after 10 months out of the beautiful game.
Kieran Gibbs (shoulder) – Injured since November 2016
I don’t know if it’s the after effects of that Jonathan Cafu’s dribble that has affected Gibbs’ shoulder but losing him alongside Monreal would be calamitous to the Gunners. He had tried to stay fit on the bench for quite some time and he has captained the team twice in the EFL Cup but with Wenger stating in his recent press conference that Gibbs has suffered a shoulder injury, it’s really awkward. Let’s hope he or Monreal recovers in time for the NLD.
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