Here’s a response from my personal blog about the write-up I posted yesterday questioning Arsenal’s backroom staff (http://www.fresharsenal.com/why-do-arsenal-get-so-many-injuries-the-truth/). I’m happy to say that it’s got almost 8000 reads and kicked up debates all over twitter. This is exactly what I wanted; get an audience and some people scratching and even nodding their heads. I’ve also got a lot of stick for it, but I’m not going to let it faze me at all.
Firstly, I’d like to say that I did cross the line a bit in my article wherein I concluded that it had to be the staff who were at fault. That is not a fact, it is merely my opinion and I admit that I should not have drawn those conclusions. I am not qualified in this field, but this topic got me curious and so I did do some research, only to find stats that SUGGESTED what I was saying was right.
In saying that, the title which initially had read “Why do Arsenal have so many injuries? The truth” was done by the editor of the website. My title was “Sicknotes; an analysis on Arsenal’s injuries.” It’s not the truth. I can’t prove that it is. Those and these are my views and thoughts.
As I said to someone who commented; Questions need to be asked, and if it’s going to take a small-time blog like this to kickstart it, I won’t hesitate. I want what is best for my club.
Coming back to the blog; I did some more research about the medical team and some others’ analysis of it.
I came across one brilliant piece on ArsenalReport; http://www.arsenalreport.com/editorial/misfortune-myth-or-neglect-arsenals-injury-problems-investigated/. This blog was done over a year ago now but all the points made still stand. The write-up also includes some comments from a person in the field, who is a physio. I suggest you all take a look at this in-depth analysis, which backs a lot of the points I made myself.
A lot of “theories” are disproved in it, such as; more possession/style of play means more injuries. It also shows the significant rise in amount of injuries since Gary Lewin’s departure, which I talked about in my piece. Stats here suggest again that I was right in saying so.
These stats, which could not be included because of the word count interested me the most (If you scroll down to the comments, the author explains that they couldn’t fit it in);
This article shows that majority of our injuries are ones that are caused due to wrong/too much training rather than actual impact. This season alone so far, the players who have suffered from soft tissue injuries are Mikel, Theo, Poldi, Santi, Rosicky. Only Ox was an impact one, apparently.
Yes, I know that some of these were done while away with international teams, but we aren’t the only club in the world who has players who represent their countries. With better preparation, these could have probably been avoided.
George Graham himself, in April 2012, has questioned these strains and pulls (http://justarsenal.com/george-graham-questions-the-arsenal-medical-teams-ability/13539);
“You look back the last few years and look at the injuries and it is not a couple of weeks or even a month injuries that Arsenal have racked up.
“You look at Robin van Persie, this is probably the first season he is injury free. And Tomas Rosicky. Key players have been out for long, long periods. It is something I would have a look at, the medical side of the club.
What sort of injuries are they? If they are contact injuries, there is not a lot you can do about it but if they are having strains and pulls they have got to have a look at that aspect of the club.”
Again, suggesting that these injuries numbers are not normal. They could have and should have been avoided.
I dug a bit deeper looking for some more quotes and indeed found some;
Here are some interesting ones from Arshavin in 2010;
“This is a painful issue both for me and for the team I play for now. We need to do something to avoid it in the future. If it was only my own problem I would agree that it is my fault. That the Premier League is too hard for me with too many games etc.
But when this happens almost to everyone for the last two or three years… I believe there should be some more global reason which we need to deal with.”
Something needs to be done about it in general and I talked to all Arsenal people who are responsible for medical care.” from http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Andrey-Arshavin-hits-out-at-Arsenal-medical-team-and-then-claims-Chelsea-deserve-to-win-the-Premier-League-article410789.html
The Mirror being the Mirror labelled it as “hitting out” which is nonsense. It did not say that he complained at all, and just talked instead. These remind me instantly of the Pato quotes I mentioned in my initial blog. If that does not raise an eyebrow, I don’t know what will.
I mentioned Kieran Gibbs and a personal trainer in my blog, and found a similar case to do with Abou Diaby. Lequipe had interviewed his former personal trainer (in French; http://video.lequipe.fr/video/football/foot-and-co-diaby-peut-on-croire-en-lui/?sig=b9c51839e5cs), and these are some important quotes translated and taken from it (http://justarsenal.com/the-case-against-arsenals-medical-team/16161);
“Diaby had massive muscular imbalance issues and the rehab at Arsenal was not done well .The last 3 months were spent to strengthen his injured areas and regain proper balance. Diaby was made to also spend a lot of time working on getting the body to release the scar tissue from his injuries, which created irritation, and to re-establish proper flexibility in those areas.”
Most importantly from this interview, the topic of personal trainers came up again;
“It was also addressed that Diaby used this personal trainer during the 2009-2010 season where he managed a career high 29 appearances for the club. However, the club forced Diaby to lose the personal trainer and revert back to the club’s trainers. As a result, Diaby’s condition regressed and he was once again injured.
It was also highlighted that Van Persie had a very similar problem and he decided to change to a personal trainer during the winter of 2010 where he went on a run of 18 months now without an injury.”
This was in September 2012, and Kieran Gibbs has hired a personal trainer himself and spoken about it just over a week ago. It simply does not add up. If the staff were so good and up-to-date, why would external help be needed at all?
I particularly got abuse from supporters who follow Arsene Wenger blindly, who refuse to even believe that he might have done wrong. I’m neither a WOB nor AKB, but at all times, I want what is best for the club.
I don’t need to be reminded or lectured about the fact that he was the one that revolutionised nutrition and sports science in England with his arrival in 1996, but this quote from @yorkshiregunner sums it up well; “One of Arsene’s greatest traits is also one of his biggest weaknesses; his loyalty to players/staff.”
I will get some responses like “He stuck up with Pires/Giberto/Ramsey/Per” but that proves my point exactly. It’s his best attribute and also his worst.
The ones who did indeed attack me did say that I could not prove any of this, which is true, but have not addressed these stats and quotes, simply branding my entire blog as “load of shite.” Fine, as I said, I went too far in saying that it was DEFINITELY the staff, but I am all ears to your reasoning about how it is not their fault. I still have not got any, and I have stats backing every single point I have made.
Go on then. Prove your point.
These are my views and my opinion. I just think that there is something seriously wrong with the injury situation, which needs to be addressed. My OPINION is that it is indeed the medical and fitness teams, but there’s nothing set in stone.
Thank you for reading.
Always The Arsenal.
Follow me on Twitter- @P38L0