Injuries Highlight Squad Strength, Optimism Prevails

Posted by SmartArse

So our injury woes get worse. At the time of writing, Sol Campbell is a big doubt and Rosicky is 50/50. If the worst happens and both are confirmed out (though frankly, I doubt that Wenger will omit both) we’re left at what should be the bottom of the barrel. Much arse-drivel has made out that the situation is exactly that. But look at our likely line-up. With one notable exception it’s really not that bad:

Almunia

Sagna Vermaelen Sylvester Clichy

Denilson

Diaby       Nasri

Walcott Eboue
Bendtner

Obviously, Sylvester vs Messi is far from ideal, but the majority of that side are still key parts of our squad and have variously been excellent in recent weeks. The centre of midfield is particularly strong. Denilson is in his best form ever, Diaby will never be as bad as last week and we all know about Nasri’s quality.

The situation is obviously lightyears from ideal, but even with all these knocks we still have a squad that can compete. It’s a long shot, probably a bridge to far for a team that has been struggling through the pain for weeks, but enough to approach tonight’s game with nagging optimism at the back of my mind.

To put it in perspective, imagine imposing analogous injuries on the so called superior squads of Man U and Chelsea:

Lets start with Man United. So we need to remove analogous players to Van Persie, Arshavin, Fabregas, Song, Gallas, Ramsey, Gibbs, Campbell and Rosicky. So for me that would mean omitting say, Rooney, Valencia, Scholes, Fletcher, Ferdinand, Giggs, Rafael, Evans, and Park.

This would then leave them a line-up looking something like this:

Van Der Sar

O’ Shea Brown Vidic Evra

Carrick

Anderson     Gibson

Owen/Obertan                                     Nani

Berbatov

Frankly I think we’d give that team a fucking kicking. They’d have absolutely bugger all going forward, and you’d cut through that midfield like Frank Lampard through a cow. Half of the defence remains good, but I wouldn’t exactly be quaking at the prospect of attacking O’Shea and Brown.

Apply exactly the same problems to Chelsea. So remove Drogba, Lampard, Essien, Carvalho, Malouda, Deco, Ferreira, Alex and Joe Cole. This would probably leave a line-up something like this.

Cech

Bosingwa Ivanovic Terry Cashley

Mikel

Ballack            ?Kalou/Beletti/Jerkov

Deco

Anelka       Sturridge

Okay so in Chelsea’s case the back four remains excellent, but just look at that midfield. Take a look at the Chelsea squad yourself. You’d seriously struggle to make a proper midfield, certainly without completely changing their system. Even say a 4-4-2 with a midfield of Beletti, Mikel, Ballack, Zhirkov doesn’t exactly strike me as frightening. Nasri and Diaby would eat them alive.

It’s a ridiculous hypothetical, but it only goes to show quite how surprisingly strong our squad is, in midfield in particular. Having a million identically talented small, technically gifted midfield players is finally paying dividends.

It also highlights our weaknesses, the lack of depth at the back and up front particularly, but those are problems for the summer. Right now we still have a gifted XI that need to focus on the task at hand. Few clubs in world football could put out a side as strong as ours with our injury problems. We’re facing one of them tonight. It’s enough to give us hope, not expectation, but as long they go out and make us proud, there shouldn’t be a word of complaint.

Its the big one.

Come on the Arsenal!

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