Ola one and all.
So yesterday we had some more insight on where we are as a squad at the moment in terms of injuries. Le Boss was quizzed on the lengthy injury list and had this to say:
At the moment, many players are on their way back. I will have to decide on Saturday, I have to look at them and see how much of a gamble I can take because we play again on Wednesday. Gibbs will certainly not be involved at all on Sunday, but the others could be involved. That will be decided tomorrow.
He was quizzed on Arteta, Henry, Gibbs, Djourou, Sagna and Wilshere. Of the news that was most positive was that he would have to have a think about Henry, Arteta and Sagna. To me, that was the least we could have hoped for. Arteta was due to be out for a week and that was extended to two, Henry nobody knew about because it was training related, and Sagna was just a case of how many training sessions he needed before playing.
The ‘neg news’ came from Gibbs and Wilshere, although the Gibbs news was less unexpected than Jack. Gibbs won’t be ready for Sunday and is a doubt for Wednesday’s game against Bolton. To be honest I’ve given up a little bit on Gibbs and learnt to live with his absence as long as TV5 remains an ever present. But the news about Jack was concerning. The fact that we heard those soul-destroying words “little setback” from the boss felt almost inevitable to one of the best players we had last year. Arsene was honest enough to admit that he didn’t know what expected return time we would have for Wilshere, but at the beginning of the season the cynical of us said he would be out for the whole season and right now it has got to seem like this is the most likely of scenarios. Consider this: when was the last time we had good injury news on a player?
I think we now have to assume that we won’t be seeing Jack this season and that any appearance he makes in a red and white shirt is just a bonus on what will be a season missed for the lad. I just hope that his career doesn’t go the way of Diaby after he received that horrific Dan Smith tackle.
I have to say I’m surprised at the response from some fans that Wenger ‘must’ buy a replacement. I am in favour of reinforcements, but a midfielder? Surely we need attacking options before that? And surely we also need full back options before that???
On both counts I think it is unlikely. Attacking wise I think so and defensively Wenger even admitted that he would not look to bring in any full backs with the expected return of our main first teamers. But I would question this; given the volume of ‘”little setbacks” we’ve had this year, surely he should be trying to mitigate the risks by bringing a couple of players in rather than trying to gamble on the fragile players we have coming back? Let’s face it, how many of you feel that Gibbs will be on the team sheet week-in week-out from now until the end of the season? I’ll wager not many.
I have to say that we should have known better in December. Hard decisions should have been made and full backs bought in on January 1st. But we are where we are and I am sure that there will be no new additions this window. Which puts Wenger in a precarious position which, if we suffer more “little setbacks” this season, I think Wenger will find it hard to recover.
I’ve always said I’m prepared to stick by Wenger until the end of the season, reserving judgement until we know where we are, but it does feel like he is taking a massive gamble by not signing anybody. Gambling his job, his affection the fans have built for him, as well as his legacy. Let’s hope he rolls a double six.