Analysis – Which injuries could REALLY hurt Arsenal this season?

Arsenal are two players away from winning the EPL – Discuss by MA

Almost everyone seems to be agreeing with that statement, apart from the one person who really has the say, Arsene. Interestingly they are all pointing at a center foward and a recognized DM. So my question is, why do “we” think so?

A few years ago Arsenal were in the category of a one man team. Lets start from Thierry’s time to RVP’s era. We had, as some other teams did, a talisman-dependence syndrome. That is, in each and every
season, there were two or three key players who could make us tick, but take one or two of them out and you see us tumbling everywhere. Be it Henry, Fabregas, Walcott (like two years ago when he was scoring from all sorts of angles before his injury), Jack, Ramsey, Mesut and, most recently, Alexis.

During those times, when one of them got a long term injury or a temporary loss of form, we could hear and also feel us struggling. All the pundits and analysts would say, “Arsenal could have won the league if this player played the whole season,” “Arsenal’s title challenge was extinguished when Theo got injured”, or my personal favorite – “RVP practically carried Arsenal to the top four”. And they could
justify it to a level where we kept on wondering what would have happened if Ramsey and Theo never got injured in the 2013/14 season, when we led the table almost throughout the season? Didn’t you ask yourself that question at one point?

Now lets look at our current team and try to analyse the key players who could hurt our BPL challenge
should they get a long term injury. First – Are we still a one man team?

Who is currently irreplaceable?

From a goalkeeping position I believe having David Ospina as a backup to Cech is a dream not so many of us thought possible last season! So should either of them get injured, we’ll have a more than capable backup.

Last season we struggled a lot when Kos was out injured, he seemed to be our main man in defence and still is. During his absence, we had all sorts of problems filling his spot with all sorts of players trying to fill that gap, including Nacho Monreal who did extremely well. But with all that we still struggled and lost so many important points last season. But with the arrival of Gabriel Paulista it looks much better now and I believe we can still do alright without any of the first choine central defenders at the moment.

Right and left back positions are as competitive as I can remember us having. I mean even Arsene isn’t sure of his first choices of the four! So to me at the back we DON’T have that one man at the moment.

We have three types of midfielders, a Defensive, Box to Box, and Attacking midfielders. At DM we currently have Le Coq, Flamini and Arteta. These three, as we all have seen, have their strengths and
weaknesses which I won’t go into because I believe we are all aware of the problems, but as the stats show, our balance is much better when Le Coq is in our starting XI. Take him out and we are back to the same lightweight midfield team again. Arteta and Flamini could do a job against smaller teams, but against quick and strong opposition we will suffer. So to me thats one key player who is hard to replace at the momment.

Box to box – we have more than enough. In fact the likes of Jack and Ramsey are living in fear because Santi seem to have displaced them. In Attacking Mid we also have more than enough, bearing in mind we can actually win comfortably if we miss one or even two of these players.

Here again it’s a little bit complicated because we have players with different abilities. OG has that presence and creates a lot of chances for others, although he misses as many. But his presence and holding of the ball seem to give us a lot. Theo, Danny and Alexis can all play on either side or in the middle although they struggle sometimes against some oppositions while playing through the middle. Here I still feel OG is still key, as with him we seem to score more goals and defend much better because of his hold up game. But we also lose out when it comes to counter attacks and finishing, especially in tight games. What if we get a player who can do all of the above at the same time?

So to me the two positions that we dont have enough or equal replacements is the DM and CF. To me we are no longer a one man team but we still have weak points to work on.

Now my question is, my fellow Gunners family, can Arsene do something about these positions?

from Kenya!

Tags Gabriel Monreal ospina


  1. Every injury would just as much as another.. Felt nice reading the Article knowing that the ideas articulated in it originate from Kenya..Arsenal is very well celebrated here in Kenya. Hongera Ndugu Mwana Arsenali..

  2. If Coquelin gets hurt for a long period, its gonna hurt real bad….I don’t see anyone in the team that can play Coquelin role pretty well. Arteta, flamini? I don’t think so…

    We need another DM’ or adapt to a different style without Coquelin. Even without injuries, He won’t play all games. He’ll need rest here and there and suspension do happen. Ramsey-Cazorla? Anyone’ Wilshere – Ramsey sharing the defensive work??? I prefer the former if Coquelin isn’t starting. Having said that, there are some games against smaller teams @ the emirates that we can play with Coquelin… Unless someone steps up’ and do some magic, I wish we get another DM.

    Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck, Akpom??? Welbeck and Akpom are unproven yet to be our striker.

    We all know what Giroud is made of. For mi, he is good’ Walcott is good too but I prefer Him on the flank. He can play some games through the middle though.

    Wish we get another Top striker… Let’s watch and see. CoyG!

  3. i reckon flamini refusin galatasaray means wenger wont get dm.
    flamini is a huge liabilty an will cost us games if coq gets injured

    flamini please leave…thanks for the service, but u dumped us before, we owe u nothing…just go….WE DO NOT WANT YOU

    1. No one has ever paid a transfer fee for him and he turns 31. That speaks for itself lol

  4. “Arsenal are two players away from winning the EPL – Almost everyone seems to be agreeing with that statement, apart from the one person who really has the say, Arsene. ”
    Good point…no need to say more…

    1. You seem to miss an important points – Arsenal are one/two World Class players away from winning the EPL
      It is easily said than done
      We all want the like of Benzema, Reus, Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Lewandowski, … and all other big clubs want to buy or keep them too.
      None of them are likely to move this season due to many obvious reasons
      – Their clubs are richer than us and do not need money (Real Madrid, Paris SG)
      – The players play an important role at their club and they have no alternative (Benzema at Real, Lewandowski at Bayern)
      – Their clubs are to be honest bigger than Arsenal with higher chance of winning big titles (Real Madrid, Bayern)
      – The player just committed to his club with long term contract, love his club, is a fan favourite, the board has no reason to sell him as they don’t want to upset the fan and the player will still command the same value few seasons later (Reus at BVB)
      Sometimes you got lucky like Chel$hit last season, they need a CM and a CF – Fabregas is available and Costa got release clause.
      I’m pretty sure we are in the market looking for the right players – but don’t listen too much on the media, who keep making up things, having a high expectation then blaming your own club for your disappointment.
      @muzziozcan is pretty reliable source on Twitter said we in talk for a rising star and have had 2 high bids (up to 33M Euros) rejected – finger cross we got it over the line before the deadline, and he is either a DM or ST.

  5. I agree with the article but if we were only going to get one or the other (striker or DM) what would you choose?

    I think starting 11 wise, we are fine for the DM as i think Le Coq is very underrated and will be up there with the best this season! Striker wise i think its good that we have Giroud and Walcott as there both very different but i would give Walcott the start over Giroud. But i think there are players out there that could be an upgrade on both these players… someone like lewandowski (we can afford him but if bayern are willing to sell thats another story!).

    Squad wise, The DM postion is really worrying because if Le Coq does get an lengthy injured then we are screwed! Arteta and Flamini are not good against the big teams and i really think we need to at least get an upgrade on our back up options for DM.

    So i think to mount a serious title challenge we need at least a Defensive midfield back of a good guilty and if we can get someone who is better than what we have got upfront! (easier said then done though!).

    1. The debate depends a lot on how we rate Arteta
      Let’s look at the backup DM at other top EPL clubs
      1. Chelsea – Obi Mikel
      2. Man City – Fernando
      3. Man Utd – Carrick (hard to say for Man Utd as they do not really have a pure DM – 2 of their new CM signings may be starters with Herrera/Blind/Carrick backup)
      4. Liverpool – Lucas Leiva
      5. Spuds – No pure DM. They play the pair of Ryan Mason and Bentaleb – Dembele can fill in. Having sold Capoue and Gambouli, 2 DMs they have

      So if you can swap Arteta with any of these player, who will you go for? And will that improve our squad?
      If you want to keep Arteta then is it that we fan are kind of greedy to want two top class players at DM position?

      1. You make a very good point. For me i wouldn’t class Arteta as a DM and i would also say, defenisvily he isn’t as good as fernando and mikel. i just think that we are one injury away from throwing away a great title chance.

      2. You seem to be one of the few that use their brain here. All this nonsense about Arsenal being a striker and DM away from winning the title started with the media, got fed to gullible fans, and its now being regurgitated as gospel truth. These people need to be reminded that Chelsea won the title with Matic and Mikel as their DM players. The latter can hardly displace Flamini in a team. The same Chelsea won the league with a striker who scored only 19 goals, two of which were scored after the league was long won if I am not mistaken.

        It must also be pointed out that the same Chelsea won the league with no experienced CB back ups. The back ups Chelsea had in the 2014/15 season were two 19 year olds Ake and Zouma, all of whom had no EPL experience. The back up Costa were grandpa Drogba and injury prone Remmy. The point I am making here is that having less or no injuries to the first 11 is a major factor in winning the league. No one team is able to have two very good players in every position.

        1. Thanks @TheAnalyzer If we get no major long term injuries to this squad especially to players like Le Coq, Kos, Sanchez and I’d personally say Walcott! I think we could compete and win the title with a little bit of luck.

  6. So after Benzema excitment, we are left with no other top CF availible.
    Lewandowski( HAHAHA we cant get Benz how could we get Lewa?)
    Reus wont leave, man said it himself ( he aint Delph )
    Ibrahimovic ? staying
    Lacazette also staying
    only player that could become availible is Cavani due Di Maria transfer, others are not worth mentioning and probably Wenger wont consider them, so that gives us the reason why Lord Hariss said we have 200m, he was justifing Wenger, we have money but we cant sign players. Hard season in front of us !!!

    1. I thought Ibrahimovic just said his next transfer is a surprise? Although insisted he is happy at PSG.

      Therefore Cavani is definitely staying.

      Oh and I thought it was Reus’ representatives who said he isn’t moving and not himself?

      Besides, Lyon has 5 strikers – 2 of them are very promising youngsters from their Academy. I believe Lacazette could move if the price is right. £25-30 millions at max.

  7. We can win EPL with this squad but only if majority of our squad stays fit, with current team we are there with Chelsea and City, they have better players in some positions we have in some positions, our greatest strenght is our flexibility, while our greatest weakness is concistency, we need to play whole game with same intensity and desire, games like Monaco and Swansea cant happend if we want to win EPL

    1. We CANNOT win EPL with this squad even if majority of our squad stays fit, here is our starting lineup:
      Bell Kos Mert?? Monreal
      Coq Cazorla
      Ramsey/Ox Ozil Sanchez
      Can you see the weak links?
      If we ever win it, then it is pure luck not that we are complete and ready (season will tell) …

  8. Coquelin would be a major blow. We simply do not have a player who does the job like him.

    If we can’t get another DM better than Coquelin like Carvalho, Krychowiak, Bender then we should at least get someone as good as him ie. Daley Blind.

    In any case, I believe we need another DM

    If Giroud gets injured, we have Walcott but that really just leaves Oxlade as a specialist winger to join Alexis. So we really need a Top striker and/or winger.

    We are mesmerising close to having the perfect team. We just need:
    1. Top Striker
    2. Top DM
    3. A defender who can play LB

  9. Sol Campbell on joining Arsenal in 2001: “It was a move I needed to make. It was a big progression for me.”

    Campbell: “I think it’s going to be Arsenal’s year. They have a strong, balanced side & great team spirit. Cech is what they needed.”

    1. and then the entire team had to carry that headless chicken for the 2nd half of the season

  10. Do Arsenal need a Top striker? I’ll say yes… but I think won’t get any at this point in time. No club with ambition will sale out a Top striker fews days to league season commencement…

    That may be Contrary to what many fans believe and indeed Wenger, who believes that Top Players are available on the last day of the transfer window.
    Lower your expectation, Arsenal won’t get a Top quality player, we may have another Welbecklike transfer deadline signing just to calm our nerves.
    Should that happen it will go a long way in telling us that Arsenal don’t approach the transfer window with a plan. Deals should have been soughted out or arranged on the first week of July.
    Bring on the season.

  11. “Now lets look at our current team and try to analyse the key players who could hurt our BPL challenge should they get a long term injury.”

    Well, I don’t really want to think in this negative way. However, I’d rank the importance of our players in this order.

    1. Coquelin – I believe he’s our most crucial player. Bringing him back last season finally brought a balance and grit to our midfield. His importance to our side is even more given we don’t have a suitable replacement.

    2. Cazorla – He’s our main playmaker. According to Wenger he was the top player for us last season, and Squawka certainly doesn’t argue with that. He makes the players around him better according to the manager. His simple passing, positional discipline and ability to retain possession is quite underrated to this Arsenal side. His ability to receive the ball under pressure is key to our defensive game.

    3. Koscielny – As the article suggests, he’s the leader of our defence. Unfortunately he’s in and out of injury too much these days. An injury to him is not as fatal to our chances as it was 1-2 seasons ago as Gabriel looks to be a fantastic signing.

    4. Sanchez – He was our top goal scorer last season. He presses, runs and he weighs in with moments of absolute brilliance, such as the beauty against City and the scorcher in the FA cup final. I believe Welbeck or the OX can suitably replace his work rate on the left side of midfield (in fact, I’d argue Welbeck is more natural on the LW), however neither player can quite match up with the amount of goals he scores. He’s our talisman and gives us that fear factor.

    5. Walcott – When he’s on form, Walcott is easily one of our best players. The last couple of seasons suggests Walcott is finally coming to his own as a player. From the last few games of last season, and during preseason, it seems Wenger is finally ready to grant Walcott his wish of playing through the middle. And Walcott hasn’t disappointed. The 26 year old will be our main outlet for goals this season injury permitting.

    1. Sanchez’s early season form is long gone now. He is back to his original wasteful, selfish state that got him kicked from barcelona in the 1st place.
      Ox is MUCH MUCH better than that headless chicken

  12. We have 1 position where the loss of the starting player would greatly hurt the team – DM. Coq is our only DM and we would not be able to play as well defensively if he was out injured. Playing against teams like United/Chelsea/Liverpool/City without Coq would be very hard. This is a solvable problem by solving a better purely defensive DM.

    Otherwise we have 2 other players who could disrupt our season by being injured but are pretty much unsolvable issues. Alexis is currently our attacking player who scares opposition most and is most likely to score goals that single handedly win games. He also dictates the tempo of our press and drives the team. You couldn’t replace that if he got injured unless you had another WC player sit on the bench…which isn’t going to happen. The second is Koscielny. Now, I’m not saying he is an irreplaceable defender so much as he is an irreplaceable part of our defence. Without Kos, Mertesacker becomes more of a liability due to the lack of that natural understanding between the two. It would take time to rebuild our defence if there was a long term injury to Kos and THAT is deadly to a title charge. In short – Kos being injured ruins our whole defence, and although we’ve got adequate cover, we will never be as good as a team without Kos in it.

    SO what I am saying is that there are 3 players who we don’t want to get injured for long periods. One or two games, 4 games max, but any of them out for a LONG stretch will seriously start to dampen our hopes. A DM signing would alleviate alot of that pressure, especially if he doubled up as a CB. The two positions to improve our first XI remain replacing Mert and finding that WC striker…neither problem looks particularly easy to solve so I think working on the squad by buying any real quality talents who appear, no matter the position (bar RB) and trying to get that defensive minded midfielder would be our best transfer strategy to alleviate the pressure from a sudden injury crisis to one of our biggest performers.

  13. Injury is part of football. I believe every manager is aware of this fact and shld prepare for the unforseen. Last season cfc won the league with just 6defenders same as arsenal. I think the training , doc, physios needs to be put on serious check. For Afc to win anything this old enemy must be dealt with.

  14. 1. Coq
    2. Koscielny
    3. Giroud
    4. Cazorla
    4th last: Chambers
    3rd last: Ramsey
    2nd last: Sanchez
    Last: Arteta

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