Arsenal have only played 7 games of the 2022/23 season, and we were quickly reminded about how short we were in the midfield area, especially after Mo Elneny suffered a long term injury and then Thomas Partey (shock!) quickly succumbed to his usual injury problems after just a few games of the new season.
It was obvious we needed more help in the centre of the park well before our failed bid for Douglas Luiz at the end of the transfer window, but since then we have found out that our new backup Oleks Zinchenko has now got his second injury of the season already, and it looks like Emile Smith-Rowe’s injury is going to be yet another long term problem for Arteta.
The injury expert Ben Dinnery has given a very worrying update on a time-scale for Smith-Rowe coming back. He told FootballTransferTavern: “This is difficult. Calvin Ramsay has had similar issues, but he is a bit younger. Smith Rowe is 22, so this is a bit more rare as you aren’t going to see a significant growth spurt with him.
“They are pointing to issues he had during his time with RB Leipzig back in 2018-19. This is a very complex area of the body. It’s sometimes called spaghetti junction because of how much is going on in there.
“They have been aware of this for the last three or four years. In the last nine to 10 months, things have gotten worse. Conservative treatment and rest are typically the best courses of action.
“In terms of peak muscle mass, you can still be developing into your mid to late-20s. If there has been a weakening because of those issues, that’s where the problems may stem from.
“It’s difficult to give a specific diagnosis or timeframe because, with overuse issues, there are problems. You have to ease back until the problems subside and gradually increase your load and see how the body responds to those triggers.
“If it is favourable, you will continue to develop. But when you have that pain response, you have to go back to previous activity levels. It could be something that Smith Rowe has to deal with for quite a bit longer yet.”
So it looks like ESR will have to treated with kid gloves for some time, just like Thomas Partey’s return will need to be carefully managed due to his recurring problems.
And then just to add the icing on the cake, we find out that our captain Martin Odegaard has picked up a knock and couldn’t even travel to the Brentford game.
Oh the joys of being an Arsenal fan!
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