Tuesday, September 6, 2011

After Late Signings, Arsenal's Injury Woes Continue

A big sigh of relief were heard from Gunner fans, as Arsenal signed five new players just before the transfer window closed. But no sooner had Arsenal plugged some gaping holes in the squad, when new holes appeared  or grew larger. First, it was announced that young Jack Wilshire, who has yet to play this season because of an ankle injury, will not be returning to his midfield position for another two to three months. Then, just this morning, Arsenal announced that its best defender, Thomas Vermaelen, would be out two months with an Achilles injury. Vermaelen picked up an early season injury last year, which Arsenal (as is their tendency) initially downplayed; it knocked him out for the entire season.

Wilshire's injury underscores the wisdom of signing Benayoun on loan from Chelsea as insurance. He will not replace Jack Wilshire, but he will plug the hole better than any of the players already on the Arsenal roster. In defense, I suppose Koscielny will partner new signing Per Mertesacker in the center of defense.

If the Gunners are to mount a real challenge for a top four finish in the League (challenging Liverpool for a Champion's League spot), Wilshire and Vermaelen, arguably Arsenal's two best players, simply must be in the line-up by mid-season. Even then, it could be too late.

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