Arsenal's Medical Team: One of the Worst in the League?
Andrei Arshavin is regularly irking the Arsenal fans and manager by going public with his opinions and desire to play for Barcelona some day, which he would then consider as the pinnacle of his career.
From an Arsenal viewpoint, most of his comments aren't pleasing, though some blame is attached to misinterpretation, if there is any. However, his remarks on Arsenal's medical team are spot on.
"If it was only my own problem I would agree that it is my fault. That the Premier League is too hard for me with too many games etc. But when this happens almost to everyone for the last two or three years. I believe there should be some more global reason which we need to deal with," complains Arshavin.
He clearly has a point there. Most of the injuries suffered by Arsenal players have been highly bewildering. Now, the injuries at Arsenal have become as common as Almunia's own goals.
Some may argue that Arsenal's medical team is the best in the League and some may even move a step further to state Arsenal have the best medical staff in the world.
But a few other realistic, un-biased supporters would obviously suspect the medical team and their credibility to work for Arsenal. The plethora of injuries at crucial junctures this season had even forced Wenger to investigate the root causes; not so surprisingly, he came out with nothing and the injury enigmas continued.
Certain players like Eduardo and Robin Van Persie have been on the receiving end of nasty tackles that erased a huge chunk of games away from their calendar. But certain other players like Diaby and Gallas are too injury-prone and the latest to join that list is Denilson. I lost count on the number of times Denilson has had these niggling injuries over the course of this season.
These injury prone players need more time to recover but we have seen time and again Arsenal rushing them back from injuries only to aggravate the problem. The best instance is the game against Barcelona (home), where we saw a number of Arsenal players on the field carrying a knock.
Three players involved in that night didn't feature for Arsenal since, and when questioned about the decision to play Gallas: Wenger blamed the medical team for declaring Gallas fit.
One may argue that Arsenal's highly sophisticated technical play being the reason for so many injuries. If that's the case then Barcelona must have a sizable portion of their squad on the treatment table at any given point in time. However, the Spanish League is less physical compared to the English Premier League and also the protection offered for the players in the Spanish League is commendable.
So, we don't see that many injuries in the La Liga. The Premier League is physical so injuries would be common but the type of injuries that Arsenal players suffer is quite inexplicable.
One morning fans would get up and read stories about how Diaby fractured Nasri's leg, then on some other day we read about how Clichy suffered a strange knock in training.
Youngster Fran Merida hardly gets a game but when he got a game the very next day we heard about the injury suffered by him in the same game. Then we have another injury candidate: Arshavin, who missed quite a number of games due to injury. Even Bendtner missed a sizable number of games.
All in all, the entire squad has been tormented by injuries which is beyond human imagination. One could argue this is coincidental, but I should remind the fact that the situation last season wasn't any better. So many injuries in a span of just two years? Coincidence? No it isn't.
On that note, I must make a mention of Gary Lewin, who was the first team physio at Arsenal for 22 years. He left Arsenal in 2008 to serve the Football Association. Currently, Lewin is Head of Physiotherapy for England National team.
Apparently, his departure has got something to do with the sudden rise of injuries. Not many could forget how Lewin saved Terry in 2007 and helped Eduardo to recover from his career-threatening injury.
Lewin's loyal service to this great club is appreciated by many, including me. But the one's currently serving the club is not worthy enough to do that job on the basis of the work that they have done over the last two years.
One of the option would be to sack the entire medical team and that sounds a good option. Teams, in the past, have done that and attained fair bit of success after doing so; even Arsenal should take the same measure to nurture a healthy team capable of surviving the mighty tempest called the Premier League.
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