Category Archives: Injury News

Partey’s Injury Scare and Thoughts on Moises Caicedo

I had started the draft for this post on Saturday night, then decided to watch WWE’s Royal Rumble in the early hours of Sunday morning. From 2.00am to 6.30am to be exact. Then I went to church and when I returned home, there was no difference between me and a polar bear that was set to go into hibernation.

So I slept, and slept, and yeah, slept. And woke up in the late hours of Sunday evening, and yeah slept some more.

When Arsenal visited the Etihad Stadium to take on the Juggernaut called Man City, it was inevitable that it was going to be an intense game and even if Mikel Arteta’s men fell short after 90 minutes, it was evident that the gulf in quality between both sides have become very close and Arsenal have massively improved under the tutelage of their Spanish head coach. When Thomas Partey was substituted at half time for Albert Sambi Lokonga, I was somewhat concerned about it and shortly after the game, there were all sorts of rumors circulating that the Ghanaian maestro had picked up and injury that would keep out for six weeks, that sent the Goonersphere into meltdown.

The manager confirmed after the game that Partey was going for a MRI scan to verify the extent of the damage to his ribs. The latest reports emanating is that Partey will be fit to play Everton but it just goes to show that Arsenal is walking on a tight rope with Partey, especially with the fact that Mohamed Elneny is out for a long time and Sambi Lokonga continues to put up underwhelming performances.

Arsenal has been heavily linked with several defensive midfielders this window, and the latest target was Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, the 21-year-old Ecuadorian that has taken the Premier League by storm with his fledgling performances for the outfit. Just like Leandro Trossard before he joined the Gunners, Caicedo took to social media to issue a ‘come and get me plea’ to Arsenal, as well as a ‘let me go’ statement to his parent club. It was clearly ill-informed on his part, but then again, Trossard’s antics in the earlier part of the fueled the fire that was used to burn the bridges he had at Brighton, but with the emergence of the electric Kaoru Mitoma and Trossard having just a year left, Brighton were somewhat comfortable letting the Belgian maverick go to North London.

Caicedo, on the other hand, is a different ball game. He’s 21, has three years left on his contract and Brighton don’t have a ready made replacement in the squad (remember he was the in-house replacement for Yves Bissouma that joined Spurs last summer, so you can understand why the club is in no hurry to let go of his services, even though they didn’t need him in their FA Cup victory over Liverpool.

It has been reported that Arsenal made two bids for Caicedo – the first worth £60m and the improved offer worth £70m, and both have been rejected by Brighton, for a player they signed for £4m.

Arsenal will need to act fast and find a backup defensive midfielder with the handful of days left in the January transfer window, with their failed pursuit of Caicedo.

Sayonara.

Thoughts on Saliba’s Contract Situation and Gabriel Jesus’ Injury Update

Don’t you just love that late goal that snatches a draw from the jaws of victory of a title rival!

When Bruno Fernandes smashed in that brilliant goal in the first half, I had thought that Manchester United was going to steamroll past Crystal Palace, as they had been in imperious form, but the Premier League has a knack for changing the narratives time and time again. Michael Olise’s free kick was a thing of beauty and Manchester United will arrive at the Emirates with dampened spirits after such a nerve-racking draw.

Arsenal will go into that match with their eternal arch-rivals on Sunday without their alpha male in attack, Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward earned a place in Tite’s World Cup squad in November but played second fiddle to Brazil’s main striker, Richarlison. However, he earned a shot to feature in the Mundial when the dead-rubber fixture against Cameroon was around the corner following victories over Serbia and Switzerland. Gabriel Jesus played that game and seemed okay, only for us to learn afterwards that he had suffered a knee injury that required surgery.

For a player so instrumental to how Arsenal plays its football, losing him was a bitter blow to our chances, but Eddie Nketiah has done well to step up in Jesus’ absence and lead the line for the Gunners. Yes, he’s a bit rough around the edges, but in the grand scale of things, Nketiah has done really well, and I hope his decent form in front of goal continues.

Gabriel Jesus has gone to social media to provide an update on his knee surgery rehabilitation, revealing that he’s no longer in need of crutches. This is a major breakthrough for the Brazilian forward and we will remain hopeful that he can be available for selection around February 2023 or March 2023 as currently predicted.

With only Eddie Nketiah deputizing for Gabriel Jesus in attack, Arsenal is desperately short and one can only hope they delve into the transfer market to get a solution, whether it’s short term or long term. However, we can only hope that our forwards will go through their games unscathed in our bid to win our first Premier League title in almost 20 years.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are doing their utmost best to sort out the future of William Saliba. After signing a four year deal with the Gunners, Saliba spent the first three seasons of his Arsenal career on loan in his native France, where he groomed himself to become a colossus in defense. He finally came of age after the Olympique Marseille loan spell and his emergence in the first team saw Ben White shunted to the right back slot to accommodate him in the side.

Alongside with Gabriel, Saliba has forged a formidable telepathic partnership, and Arsenal boasts of the second best defense behind Newcastle with 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets earned. At 21, Saliba has his best years ahead of him, and Arsenal are hoping to secure his future by initially triggering his extension clause to 2024, giving them ample time to work out a long term contract that will keep him at the Emirates for years to come.

Unfortunately, there has been a snag as Saliba’s representatives have rejected Arsenal’s proposed contract extension offer but the Gunners remain confident that they will negotiate and reach a common ground for the continuation of Saliba’s services to the club.

This has been a breakthrough season for Saliba, and he’s certainly no longer the player he was when he joined the club as the next best thing with huge potential, so it’s very understandable if he wants to earn a whole lot more than before. However, I’m pretty sure that Saliba’s reps and Arsenal will make something work.

They have all the time in the world.

Sayonara

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Emile Smith-Rowe: More Challenges to his Form and Fitness

Emile Smith Rowe breaks silence on injury as Arsenal handed major blow  before North London Derby - football.london

Smith-Rowe’s last appearance for Arsenal

Emile Smith-Rowe was one of the standout performers for the Gunners last season, scoring 11 goals in 37 games, with 10 in the Premier League. He also carried his good form on the international scene, making three appearances for England and scoring one goal in the 10-0 drubbing of San Marino. Smith-Rowe was a regular fixture for Mikel Arteta with a certain Gabriel Martinelli itching for a chance to strut his stuff, and following a bout with COVID, Smith-Rowe lost his place to Martinelli, and had to make do with recurrent substitute appearances, where he kept scoring week after week.

Losing his place to Martinelli didn’t bode well for Smith-Rowe and he failed to regain the early season form that saw him cement his first team berth in the side. His fitness continued to be a thorn in his flesh and he managed to finish the campaign with a personal best of 11 goals. 

Fast forward to the new season and Smith-Rowe didn’t get much preseason game time in compared to Martinelli, and this was evident in the team selections for the new campaign with Martinelli being an ever-present in the side, while Smith-Rowe had to make do with four substitute appearances against Leicester, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and most recently, the team’s only defeat of the campaign to Manchester United. Smith-Rowe was odds on to get his first start of the campaign in the Europa League win over FC Zurich, but his injury problems ensured that he missed that game.

Arsenal has confirmed that Smith-Rowe has undergone surgery on his groin, as the player had been experiencing some discomfort, which clearly affected his training and ultimately, first team appearances. The club has also confirmed that his rehabilitation program has commenced and he will be out to December 2022 at the very least. Club gaffer, Arteta, had voiced his frustrations of Smith-Rowe’s unavailability earlier in the season,

“He’s a kid that loves playing football. It’s the biggest thing in his life. And when he’s not capable of doing that, especially after the run of games and performances that he had with us the year before, it’s just difficult.

“But injuries are part of football that you’re going to get at some stage of your career. It’s how you face those difficult moments and now you make the next step.”

Smith-Rowe’s injury will cement Martinelli’s first-team status in the team for the foreseeable future, but Arsenal has to look from within to cover the gap between now and the World Cup break with the games coming thick and fast. Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus are adept playing on the left wing, but this injury paves the way for a certainly forgotten figure, Reiss Nelson, that has been on the trenches for the entirety of his Arsenal career. 

I would expect Martinelli’s minutes, especially in the Europa League, to be managed, so Nelson can use that competition as a platform to showcase his talents again to at least give the manager something to think about, or just audition himself for a potential buyer in the January transfer window. 

I hope Smith-Rowe recovers well from this injury and focus on his football in the turn of the new year.

Sayonara.

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