The Arsenal injury list was in full effect once again at the weekend and it was only the fact that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain passed a late fitness test that Arsene Wenger was able to name the England international alongside Mathieu Flamini at the heart of the Gunners team for the tough trip away to Liverpool.
Wenger has had to recall Francis Coquelin from his loan spell at Charlton and was forced to use the young Frenchman at Anfield, although I am sure he would much rather have had a fully fit Ox or even one of the crocked Arsenal trio of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey or Mikel Arteta to call on.
We will never know, of course, but there is a good argument that with one of those first choice players available, Arsenal would have played better throughout and would certainly have enjoyed more possession and control and would probably have held on for the win or even increased our lead on the counter attack.
And that is just the central midfield area of the squad, while Wenger has had to cope with injury problems in all the others as well. So I am not surprised to hear our only fit regular central midfielder declare that the Gunners are bound to be better when the manager has a bigger squad of fit players to choose from, as reported by Arsenal.com.
Flamini said, “It would be crazy to think [we won’t improve] because we lost so many key players and having them back is very important for the team.
“We definitely need them because in the championship and the last stages of the Champions League, you cannot do it with 11 players. You need 25 so it is important for us to have them back.
“The season is going to be long and we are only just arriving at Christmas now. I am very confident in the team, very confident in the quality we have because we have a few top players.
“The most important thing is to recover well and be ready for the next game. In probably 10 days, we have three or four games so it is going to be a lot. We have to recover well for the next game and if we are ready, it will be fine.”
We will only know if the Frenchman is right once the likes of Ozil, Ramsey, Koscielny and Arteta are back of course, and they are all due back very soon. Do you think that Arsenal will be a different proposition when and if our seemingly never ending injury crisis eases off?