To the seasoned arsenal fan, the L.A.N.S. is all too familiar, to the lay Arsenal fan, the L.A.N.S. stands for “like a new signing”. Last season, Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner were the two major contenders for the yearly award. Keep in mind that to be considered a contender for this award, you must be injured at a time when you are hitting peak form and your contribution to the team is crucial. Secondly, the injury should keep you out for quite sometime, right when the fixtures come thick and fast. Lastly, your return from injury should come at a time when the team is pushing for major honors.
Last season, Robin Van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner were the two finalists for the yearly L.A.N.S. award. Both players were frequent visitors to Colin Lewin’s infirmary. The latter checked in with minor niggling injuries (groin and hamstring) while the former picked up an ankle injury that horse placenta couldn’t cure. It meant he was out for a majority of the season. His return coincided with a crucial period in our season as we mounted a challenge for the title, a challenge that eventually petered out.
This year, the shortlist consists of some familiar faces, Theo Walcott (injured against Switzerland), Van Persie (injured against Blackburn), and Nicklas Bendtner. Rounding the list are Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Frimpong, Denilson and Aaron Ramsey. Contenders for this award always seem to be hitting top form and this year is no different, Theo Walcott has 4 goals in 3 games so far and was looking likely to have a breakout year. Last year Van Persie started well, scoring 10 goals in 8 games before his terrible injury.
The absence of Nicklas Bendtner, Van Persie and Theo Walcott means our forward line has once again been decimated with important fixtures coming up. Marouane Chamakh is the only healthy centre forward available for selection at the moment. Should he go down, the diminutive Russian would once again be asked to lead the line, a tall order to fulfill.
Luckily, it appears that Robin and Nicklas won’t be out for too long and should both be back in about a month. To challenge United and Chelsea, we need a healthy squad and I would hope that a player with minimal impact on our season, emerges as the front-runner for the L.A.N.S. award. But judging from our past injury history, that’s hardly going to be the case. Either way, we should know more on Thursday when the official injury report is released. Let’s hope the rest of the squad returns in good shape ahead of the game against Bolton.