Oh dear Arsenal, it just keeps coming! In the space of a week the Gunners, who had just started to believe that we were coming out of the long dark tunnel of our injury crisis into the light of having a decent and strong squad, have lost two key players for most of the rest of this season.
The latest update from Arsene Wenger on the Arsenal.com website could actually mean that Mathieu Debuchy and Mikel Arteta could take no more part for us this season. And while that is obviously a gutter for Debuchy, whose debut season is down the pan after a second operation, it could be even worse for Arteta.
The Spanish midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and although the manager does not say exactly how long he expects Arteta to be out, ankle surgery at his age does not look good for a comeback in time to remind us what he can do on the pitch.
If Wenger is planning to sign Morgan Schneiderlin in the summer as some recent rumours suggest, it will be as a long term replacement for our club captain. And if the boss also reacts to Arteta’s lay-off by signing a player this month, as he needs to, then that means even less room in the squad for Arteta, which would be very unfortunate and a little harsh on our captain.
But if Wenger does not move quickly to sign a replacement for him this month, Arsenal will have a big hole in the squad. The likes of Flamini and Coquelin can certainly do a job for us, but they are better when Arsenal expect a tough game. They do not have the passing range, accuracy and vision that Arteta has and he is a big reason for Arsenal being able to dominate the weaker teams, which is where we get the lion’s share of our points from.
So just how much will this ankle surgery affect the club and our captain’s future with it?