Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced after the club’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, that his side were not physically ready for the Premier League, with some of our most influential players not fully fit from over the summer.
Wenger stated: “Physically we are not ready. You are in a Catch-22 situation with the Euros – do you give the players a rest and start the season without many of your players? Or do they play in this kind of game and get injured, like Ramsey today?”
Wenger said this despite feeling confident his side were ‘physically ready’ for the Premier League, after the win over Manchester City in the club’s final pre-season fixture. Arsenal had a good pre-season and did look strong in their fixtures. However clearly the level wasn’t the same as what the Premier League and what Liverpool would hold and as a result Arsenal suffered.
Arsenal’s lack of physical fitness was just one of many reasons that contributed towards the loss. Having our three most prominant central defenders out of action due to fitness was not ideal, whilst Ozil and Giroud were also missing due to a lack of pre-season training. It meant that Arsenal went into the match on the backfoot before we had even kicked off and Liverpool took advantage of that.
However a lack of ‘physical fitness’ is largely down to Wenger’s fault and so he cannot look anywhere else besides himself for answers. The injures of Gabriel and Mertesacker may not have been caused by Wenger, but he did have a number of weeks to rectify the situation by signing a player to replace the long term absentees. Ozil and Giroud were both given extended holidays so that they could ‘recover’ from Euro 2016, however we saw some players that played for France in the final of the Euros, starting for their respective clubs this weekend, with no problems at all.
Arsenal desperately need to ensure that the players are physically ready as well as mentally ready for the challenge that faces us next week, because to be possibly six points behind the leaders two games in, is not going to be a pretty sight for the Arsenal.