Are Arsenal three injuries away from despair? (Opinion)

Micah Richards has claimed that Arsenal would be ‘a different team’ if they were to lose three key players to injury, but that sounds a little simplistic to me.

Of course Arsenal would be ‘different’ if they were to lose three regular starters, but so would any team. Take Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne out of that Manchester City side, and they are a shadow of the team that they are right now, but even with the duo they were unable to beat the worst Liverpool side we have seen in years.

Richards named Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey as two players who make us tick live on Sky Sports yesterday (via the Express), conveniently forgetting that both have already been absent for us in part this season already, yet we still sit pretty on top of the division with a four-point cushion at present.

While I think there is little importance in his comment, as any team losing their best two or three players (whether Zinchenko or Partey deserve to be named in our top three or not is another question) would be a major blow, there is definitely cause for concern if we were to lose Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian has been in top form since joining from City this summer, and I would be trying to give Eddie Nketiah more time on the field to build up his confidence, as being forced to come into the side on the back of what little playing time he has had is unlikely to be ideal.

Young Eddie needs a goal or two in his locker to get him going, and this over-reliance on Jesus is only going to enhance the likelihood of us losing him to injury, as well as limit Nketiah’s growth when we really need to be looking to him to step up when called upon.

With the run we are on, we can’t really rotate our first-team much, but bringing the English forward on a little earlier when we are leading could be really important in the long run.

Do you rank Partey and Zinchenko amongst our most important players? What is your stance on Nketiah’s limited playing time?

Patrick

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32 Comments

  1. I would say that City losing Haaland, De Bruyne and Cancelo and they will be hurt as much as Arsenal losing Jesus, Odegaard and Zinchenko. Liverpool losing Van Dijk, Salah and Fabinho and they are in trouble as well. Tottenham losing Kane, Dier and Bentancour as well. Stop these irrelevant articles.

    1. Spot on, any team would be in the same boat missing three key players, don’t really see the point of this article, but something to take up the space

    1. You’re on point @Srone.
      Those to me are the key players that can make our team a lot weaker.
      White may step in for Saliba , while Tomiyasu plays at right back. Nketiah may step in for Jesus, but it won’t be the same. Partey’s shoes are a bit too big for Lokonga at the moment.

        1. I think we have plenty of cover for Zinchenko. Partey and Jesus need handling better, to make sure they are fit. There will be games where they can be rested, either the start of the game or taking them off early when their work is done. Jesus looked shot yesterday and Nketiah should have been brought on a lot earlier. Ramsdale for me is the big worry, he would be missed. Any team would miss three of their better players but thats when the manager earns his money.

    2. I would also hate to lose Martinelli or Saka; without them our attack has no teeth. We have nothing to replace or compete with those players on the wing.

      ESR still on the shelf, Marquinhos is still unknown, Nelson has yet to flatter, and Nketiah is a hard worker, but not someone to create or pose a threat like Martinelli or Saka.

      Guess it is a good thing we have so many players that contribute, but any team losing 3 key players will see a drop in form.

    3. Different view.
      Martinelli, Jesus, Saka – one set.
      Xhaka, Partey, Saliba – another set.
      Then …. Oh now except for White and Gabriel the CB.

  2. I think the Thomas Partey situation is a problematic one given his propensity for injury. Zinchenko is arguably more important in the leadership qualities he brings to the team than anything he does technically on the pitch. He is a fantastic player and very important but doesn’t do anything that can’t be replicated to some degree by others in the squad.

    I agree that Nketiah needs more game time. It will tell us more clearly whether he is up to the job but more importantly in my opinion if he isn’t getting game time and we decide he isn’t good enough why would anyone else want to join just to sit on the bench, when it is brutally apparent Arteta doesn’t trust anyone but Jesus. And I can’t blame him for it really. It’s going well and he wants to it to keep going well so he is going to keep playing the players that have got us this far.

    As is usually the case with any team, it’s the spine that is the most important and losing the influential players that make up that spine is what hurts a team the most. Imagine a player gets sent off in a game, the manager immediately removes a winger or striker if there was more than one, in favour of another body in the middle of the park. So in the case of Arsenal it is clear to me that our spine is Saliba, Partey, Jesus. Yes, Odergaard is the captain and our most creative player, but with everyone fit we have Vieira and ESM who can perform that role admirably.

  3. I agree with Richards, because Partey’s and Zinchenko’s abilities to turn and pass in tight spaces are essential to win the ball possession

    As for Nketiah, he needs to play more games with our LWs and left AMs. Jesus struggled yesterday because he couldn’t rotate with Martinelli, so Xhaka and they need to analyze the game and improve their interchanging positional play

  4. I actually think Partey AND Xhaka are irreplaceable at the moment. We do have Öde and Vieira but they’re used to more advanced role so I don’t think they would be that good in a deeper role. Xhakas form is impressive to say the least.

    I’d say Ramsdale, Partey/Xhaka and Jesus would hurt us most. I don’t quite trust Turner..

  5. So a well known TV pundit thinks that if we lost several key players we would be less good. Wow!

    And I see others make the point that this would apply to other teams too.

    Again WOW! What is must be like to have such a brilliant IQ to know this truth!

    STATING THE BL….NG OBVIOUS, YOU SAY? HOWEVER COULD YOU THINK SUCH A THING!!!

  6. Every time I here Arsenal is two or three injuries away from disaater I always shudder at the pausity of panditry. Pandits should ha their league so that those have nothing to match reality are relegated. Are they aware we already have two injuries? Or is it them who have power over order by which Arsenal players are to be injured in? City have lost without any major injuries and they will still do. Every team it must be said is two or three injuries (to major players) away from failing to close the gap at the top with Arsenal, I should twist it that way.

  7. One of my pet peeves is when folks throw out the line “injuries are no excuse”. As folks have said above, if any team loses three top players they are going to struggle. It’s not an excuse, its reality.

    Now where a manager needs to take some responsibility is in managing the playing time of the top players and giving them recovery time (now I’m starting the bleeding obvious)

    This is where I have some concern at Arsenal – although with Zinchenko, ESR and Elneny all out our midfield options are light. Fortunately Xhaka appears to be made out of steel.

    Thursday is a big game but I’d like to see an almost complete change of starters with the exception of Xhaka and Gabriel.

  8. Clearly the Answer is Yes It’s bread and butter common sense. But the same could also be said for the Spuds and Chelsea.

  9. Firstly, they never gave us any chance. Not even one of those pundits predicted Arsenal to finish in the top four. In fact they predicted us finishing 6th or 7th-such level of disrespect. We went to work not minding their words of discouragement and we dug deep, proved ourselves worthy of some respect.
    Then they started saying we were only winning matches we ought to win. We lost controvertially to Man Utd, and they all came saying we told you so. None of them actually highlighted the fact that if Arsenal’s firstq goal had stood, the story would have been different. But we still continue to work hard and not paying too much attention to their criticism.
    We went ahead to beat spurs and Liverpool in quick succession. Then they were quick to highlight that this is not the Same Liverpool without Mane. Some also said, we didnt deserve to win the game, that the ref came to our rescue. Forgetting that Man Utd incidence was even worse than this.
    Now they have started the new song of we are three injuries away from disaster. This is a fact that even Pep wouldn’t want to face. Loosing Harland, Debrune and Bernardo at the same time will definitely affect their results. Everybody is against us and Arsenal fans are even the carriers of such negativity.
    That was exactly how they pressured our young team of 2007/2008 season until they surrendered their lead. We have the second youngest squad in the premier league. The least we could do is encourage them. Cheer them, spur them and ultimately support them especially when the journey is becoming too combersom. Don’t come here to tell us how you know football and how you know we would fall along the way. If you do that, you are part of our problem.
    Don’t tell me you are a realist, the battle is not always for the strongest nor the race for the swiftest. Underdogs have defy all odds before. So why not get behind your team encourage them to success.
    If we fail and only if, we could sit down and analyze were we got it wrong and how to improve and move forward. That is what a classy fan does.
    Don’t be surprise even if we win this league, they will come up with some lame reasons why we won and will never truly give credit to the boys. Leicester won, nobody said anything negative, they were praised. Infact, they blamed Arsenal for not winning it that season. We beat them home and away. They only lost three matches that season. Man city, Liberpool, Man Utd, Spurs and Chelsea went on sabbatical, none of them did us the favor of beating them for us.
    Now you want me to take them serious? I love Arsenal, they are not a perfect team, but that’s my team and my support is 101% . please let’s stop these negativity. COYG

    1. Great reply. Winners are champions because of their mental fortitude. The players feed off the confidence of the supporters. Onwards and upwards.

  10. Clearly any team losing its 3 best outfielders would be weakened … our concern would be losing just one, Jesus, and whether that would be to us what losing mane has been to pool .. the answer is almost certainly it would be .. throw in losing ramsdale and in my books we would struggle to hold on to 4th slot .. at least one of those possible losses should be corrected in January window

  11. We have a much stronger squad but not without weaknesses, and we must learn from our mistakes and stay focused. I don’t use my time to worry about eventualities, we simply have to cope with everything happening to us.

    I don’t consider us title contenders but I love the journey 🫶

  12. I fear what will happen when a fire breathing dragon swoops down over the pitch at St. Mary’s and sets our entire back four alight.

  13. Arsenal are 28 winning games away from the title. No
    matter how we do it, that’s the fact/task we face. If we
    can go injury free till after the World Cup and add Danilo
    and Mudryk to the squad in jan. we´re cooking as Curtis Shaw
    would say !!

  14. We are winning the league and Europa League.
    Call me over-optimistic all you want.
    The signs are there that we are achieving something great this season.

    The January window is going to be pivotal.
    I’m sure Arteta will not make the same mistake by not adding one or two players in January just like he did last January.

  15. Sorry, my 2nd corrections.
    My corrections:
    Rightnow in this season’s campaign, i can see that Arsenal have a very strong bench that is stronger than the one that they had last season when they finished 5th in the table.
    This current very strong Arsenal bench is largely responsible for the team currently a top of the League at week 10 into the campaign. When it came into the rescue keeping the team on top of the table when some 8 first teamers are still and were injury sidelined this season. Such as: Partey, Tierney, Tomiyasu Soares, Odegaard, Vieira, Elneny and ESR. But 6 of whom have all returned from the sidelines.
    And I think and believe that Eddie Nkethia will come good for Arsenal in the Epl this season when Arteta gives him the chance to start.
    But in the interim, let him continue to bid for his time to start in the Epl by continuing to build up confidence in himself. As he start for Arsenal in the Europa. And in the Carabao Cup match starting with Brighton & HA coming up at the Ems. And also in the FA Cup too.
    Arsenal were accused by some of having a poor 2nd half game performance at Leeds last Sunday. But the Gunners did the most important things in the match by attacking and scored albeit from a difficult angle. And also defended stoutly to not conced any goals to Leeds and won the match. This victory came to Arsenal despite that the Gunners did not play a high-line game in the match that did not reminiscent when they played it at Old Trafford against Man Utd and lost 3-1 to the Red Devils. When they failed to watch their back to defend it making it unbreachable when they attacked insane down the line. But failed to close the match by taking a 2-0 lead cushion in the game to defend it in the 2nd half.
    But should Arsenal play a high-line game at St Mary’s in the Epl against So’ton next Sunday? well, honestly I wouldn’t know.

  16. I really don’t share your optimism about Eddie Nketien. The only way he could shine were if he featured in a two pronged partnership with Jesus taking the pressure off both players. It would however weaken the team in other areas.

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