Don’t blame Wenger for in­jury cri­sis

Daily Mail - - Barclays Premier League - MARTIN KE­OWN

THE in­juries at Arse­nal are mount­ing and now it’s a tricky sit­u­a­tion. There are a num­ber of se­nior play­ers who are los­ing re­li­a­bil­ity in terms of fit­ness — To­mas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini — and there are young play­ers who have had some bad luck or are in­jury-prone. I know first-hand that Arse­nal’s med­i­cal staff and fa­cil­i­ties are sec­ond to none. Arsene Wenger’s at­ten­tion to de­tail means they will be do­ing ev­ery­thing they can. But in­juries cre­ate prob­lems in se­lec­tion. They mean more work and more games for ev­ery­one else, which then in­creases the risk of fur­ther in­juries. Most squads would strug­gle with the in­juries Arse­nal have had and even though Wenger used to be crit­i­cised for hav­ing too many mid­field­ers, now it looks like he hasn’t got enough. But he will see this as a chance for oth­ers to step up. Maybe it’s time for Calum Cham­bers to get a chance in there. I don’t think Wenger should be crit­i­cised for play­ing Alexis Sanchez on Sun­day be­cause he must be a dif­fi­cult player to man­age. When I last vis­ited the train­ing ground, Sanchez was on a rest day. All he wanted to do was ex­tra train­ing. Wenger wants his play­ers to be happy and with Sanchez the best way to do that is to let him play, so I un­der­stand why he was picked. One con­cern, though, is the num­ber of mus­cle in­juries. To­wards the end of my ca­reer at Arse­nal we trained on a hy­brid sur­face — ar­ti­fi­cial fi­bres com­bined with grass — that repli­cated the pitch at High­bury. It looked like a snooker ta­ble and was very sta­ble but it was too firm for me. Ev­ery player is dif­fer­ent but I suf­fered with back prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly with jump­ing and land­ing. I don’t know what they use these days but train­ing day in, day out, on a firm sur­face can take its toll.

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