Injury crisis at Arsenal? Wenger is right to be worried
Arsenal’s 4-0 FA Cup fifth round replay victory at Hull City on Tuesday came at a cost.
The Gunners lost both center backs -- Per Mertesacker and Gabriel -- during the game to minor injuries, plus Aaron Ramsey suffered a more serious looking injury to his thigh.
[ PLAYBACK: Analyzing title run-in ]
Arsene Wenger is worried, and rightly so.
The injuries are stacking up for Arsenal at a pivotal stage of the season. Gunners fans will be reading this shaking their heads in disgust. This always seems to happen to Arsenal.
[ MORE: Fans cause earthquake ]
Is is the training methods? Is their squad not big enough? Are the players just weaker?
“It was a shock as we lost our two centre-backs in the game and then we lost Aaron Ramsey,” Wenger said. “[Per] Mertesacker is not serious, just a little concussion, and I think Gabriel looks all right but for Ramsey I am little bit more concerned. It’s a thigh injury.” Whatever you put this latest spate of injuries down to, the list of injuries below is alarming.”
This list below summarizes Arsenal’s current injury situation and it’s grim reading...
- Per Mertesacker - facial injury
- Gabriel - knee
- Laurent Koscielny - calf
- Petr Cech - calf
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - knee
- Jack Wilshere - ankle
- Santi Cazorla - knee
- Tomas Rosicky - thigh
Okay, so that’s pretty horrific.
All three first-choice center backs may not play against Watford on Saturday in the FA Cup quarterfinal, with Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal likely to deputize at the heart of Arsenal’s defense. With Petr Cech out for the rest of the month, the defensive woes are most concerning for Arsenal, although David Ospina has done a decent job when called upon.
The good news though, is that Mertesacker, Gabriel and Koscielny could return soon, plus Jack Wilshere is closing in on a return. The only long-term absentees are Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky who may not feature again this season, while Oxlade-Chamberlain is still a few weeks away.
With the injuries piling up and Arsenal still in three competitions, Wenger will have to manage his squad masterfully in the coming days. Having an FA Cup quarterfinal this weekend, then a trip to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg next week, plus playing catching up in the Premier League title race as they trail Leicester by eight points, can the Gunners withstand the pressure?