Arsenal make the short trip up seven sisters road on Wednesday to face Sp*rs in what could essentially decide our title chances. Every game from here on out is a cup final and a win is the only result that would suffice, a draw and we can kiss the title goodbye. We need to win all five games and even that doesn’t guarantee that we would win the league, that depends largely on how Chelsea fare in their final 5 games. They need to drop 4 points to give us a chance, but that’s only feasible if we win our remaining games.
Luckily for us, Portsmouth went the full distance against Tottenham this past weekend, so hopefully tired legs will play a part in the game. We are fully rested and hopefully over the loss to Barcelona, we can’t dwell on that any longer, that’s done and dusted. Surprisingly we do have a good record against the spuds, as Wenger hasn’t lost there since 1999 and would be looking to keep that run going. They do owe us a defeat but hopefully not on Tuesday night.
There is talk of Robin Van Persie featuring in this derby which would be a nice boost but no-one knows for sure how true that is. I suspect we’ll know more once Wenger gives his press conference.
Colin Lewin – the most famous name at the Grove these days – spoke to the website a few days ago to discuss our injury woes and why we seem to have a lot of long-term injuries as opposed to other “big 4 clubs”
Why do we seem to have so many injuries this year?
“There are lots of different reasons really. The number of games is always a contributor, although we do tend to play between 55 and 60 games every season. So if you compare this season to others for Arsenal then we are slightly up. But it has been a freak season for traumatic injuries. We would normally expect one, sometimes two fractures a year. This season we are on seven.”
Is this the worst season for injuries in your time at Arsenal?
“Yes, up until now it probably is the worst. We are slightly up on last season and the season before but not much has changed from other seasons except for the high level of traumatic injuries. By traumatic injuries I mean breaks and fractures from bad tackles. We are not blaming the other teams; this is just a freak season for traumatic injuries. Statistically we run the furthest in the Premier League. We also have the highest number of sprints compared to the other Premier League teams.”
Other teams seem to have fewer injuries. Why?
“You have to say that teams who play a similar number of games to us have got a similar injury record. You always see your own team as being worse because that is the team you support. Our players have around a 50 per cent increase in match exposure than players at some other Premier League clubs who might only play 40 games per season. The other contributing factor is that 90 per cent of our squad are international players. That again adds to the number of games and therefore the fatigue element is increased. The injury risk is far greater than in a squad with a far lower percentage of internationals. So when you compare us to teams who play a similar number of games, we are not that different.
“The other thing is when you have several long-term injuries your squad is depleted. That increases the demands on other players because there is less room for rotation.”
You can find the rest of the interview here. I am not sure if I buy all of what he’s saying, Chelsea and United play the same number of games we play counting champions league and cup competitions but seem to be able to deal with injuries better than we do. It begs the question are we rushing players back too soon when they are not fully recovered? Or is this medical team not good enough to deal with the demands of the squad we have. Either way it’s something that has to be investigated this summer and i suspect it will.
Howard Webb – England’s most “competent” referee – is in the news again after failing to send John Terry off for his agricultural tackle on James Milner. The chavs will now be with their skipper for Stoke, Bolton and Sp*rs when he should be watching from the sidelines. They entertain Bolton on Tuesday night and could be 6 points ahead of Arsenal by the time we kickoff. But as united found out, there are no easy games in the premier league. Asking Bolton to go to the bridge and get a result is a bit too much of a tall order but stranger things have happened.
I am not sure the game is on terrestrial TV here in the states, so watching it online would be your best bet. We really cannot afford to lose or draw this game. We need a win and i hope the lads are ready for it, we have no other competitions to fall back on. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for lasagna being the pre-game meal for the spuds.
‘Til Tomorrow COYG