Why in life do we look for problems when there are none? Why do we oft look for a negative instead of making the most of a good situation and why is it, the “what if” often looms large? The human brain is a complex thing but it’s always busy, perhaps wondering what’s next. Why else would we look left and right before crossing the road? I think the older we get, the more cynical we can get too, especially if life has dealt us a few tough hurdles to climb over.
As far as football goes, the last 10/15 years or so has certainly made me more cynical towards the game. The PGMOL and the decisions made both on and off the pitch, who is and isn’t allowed to own football clubs, the way the fixtures are drawn before each new season and then there’s Arsenal. The club with more false dawns than I’ve had hot dinners. The club which for goodness knows how long, seems to start the season with a squad looking short of a player or two. Even this season, after two really strong summer transfer windows, we look short in midfield and that’s because our brains are in the ‘what if’ mode, or at lest mine is. What if Thomas Partey gets injured? Mikel Arteta hasn’t even got Mo Elneny to turn to because he’s injured.
But what if Thomas Partey doesn’t pick up another injury all season? Sadly, it’s unlikely, especially as the older we get our bones and muscles take longer to heal.
Right now we’re top of the League after seven games but it’ll never last. I don’t know about you but that’s how my brain works. Not because I’m negative about Mikel Arteta, the club and the squad but because as the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, then it usually isn’t’. If every player was available for selection in every match between now and the end of May, then yes, I’d be extremely confident of Arsenal finishing in the top four and even give Man City a battle for the title. After all, they’re the club expected to win the Premier League again. Saying that, if Haaland picked up a long term injury, such expectation might fade somewhat.
Arsenal always have injuries, I can’t recall the last time we went through a season without at least one player out with a long term injury. Last season it was three I think, Partey, Tierney and Tomiyasu. Before that I think it was Martinelli, Tierney and Partey, before that, Tierney and Partey, so it’s understandable that many fans, if not all, hold little hope of Partey and Tierney not missing more games this season. In fact, since the start of the 2011/12 campaign, a grand total of 2,347 (give or take a few) fixtures have been missed if one is to count up all the matches individual players have been ruled out of through injury. That’s 270 (give or take a few) more than the next club on the list. Staggering isn’t it and annoyingly, it has so often been the players who are key to the team who’ve suffered. Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu – the list goes on and apart from Diaby, I don’t think many, if any have been as a result of a bad challenge. Eduardo and Ramsey aside that is. This season we’ve already seen ESR, Partey, Zinchenko, Elneny, Soares and Odegaard injured and yet we’re just seven games in. Only Liverpool have more players currently injured than Arsenal at this time.
The Europa League hasn’t really got going yet, nor has either of the domestic cups but they do after this international break. We play nine fixtures in October, four in the twelve footballing days of November and then it’s the World Cup. The Premier restarts on Boxing Day, eight days after the final.
Still, that’s a way off yet. I just hope every single Arsenal player returns from this international break unscathed because when it comes to not picking up injuries, Arsenal need a whole lot of luck.
See you in the comments.