It’s not exactly easy to recover from an injury, especially in the realms of professional football. It’s the kind of sport that demands you to be in a ‘go go go’ state of mind, pretty much 24/7. If there’s ever anything that gets in the way of that, like an injury, then it can cause a multitude of problems for fans, media members and the player themselves. That sounds ridiculous, but such is the nature of this game we know and love.
For too long now, Arsenal have had a clear defensive weakness at centre-back. Former boss Arsene Wenger failed to fix it and current boss Unai Emery has been unable to fix the problem so far. However, to be fair to the Spaniard his reign in north London is in its infancy and he has not had much backing in the transfer market or time to sort the problem.
Centre-backs are not good enough
The simple fact is Arsenal’s centre-backs are not good enough. Experienced French centre-back Laurent Koscielny has been the Gunners best centre-back for a long time. However, injuries and the fact that he is the wrong side of 30 mean he will need replacing in the near future.
Arsenal have confirmed that Rob Holding has suffered an ACL injury on his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.
The statement on the club’s official website says:
“Further to the injury sustained during our match at Manchester United on Wednesday night, we can confirm that Rob Holding has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
“Rob will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months.
“Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Rob is back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Arsenal’s trip to the Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava on Thursday has been complicated by an ongoing political and military action in the country. The game has now been moved to the capital Kiev, which in all honesty is still a difficult trip.
Arsenal are already through to the knockout stages of the competition and if they win or match Sporting result, the team from north London will win the group.
A trip they could have done without
In truth, Arsenal could have done without the long trip to Kiev ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against arch-rivals Tottenham. While Gunners boss Unai Emery is likely to rest a number of key players, he still has to field a team in Ukraine.
As Arsenal prepare to take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday, manager Unai Emery spoke to the press.
It’s not always easy, for any team, to pick up where they had left off after an international break. Arsenal were on a very good run – 16 matches in all competitions without a defeat but the manager pointed out there’s another side to that streak; the last three games were draws.
“The main difference is how we’re defending when we’re attacking. When we’re up the other end of the pitch, how we are organised and prepared for a counter. That has been the biggest difference.
“We’re really focusing on video work, moving as little as five yards in some positions which makes all the difference when getting to the ball.
“When we were playing we would be stood there and no one would be talking to each other, whereas now there is much more communication.
“We seem a bit more organised and a bit more together at the back.”
The Arsenal players are often accused of lacking characters and bottling it in big games. The Gunners away performances, not only this season but at times last season as well, show that the players are simply not strong enough mentally to play for a club the size of Arsenal.
Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Newcastle means that the Gunners have lost their last five away games on their travels in the top-flight. In fact, the north London side has won just one of their last nine away games in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger has revealed the price he would expect for defender Rob Holding after there has been reported interest in the defender from fellow Premier League outfits.
Arsenal returned to winning ways with a superb performance on Saturday as they blew Everton away in a 5-1 win. The Toffees could not keep up with their London opponents as Arsene Wenger was able to oversee an outstanding performance.
Aaron Ramsey bagged himself a hat-trick while Laurent Koscielny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the scoring. Aubameyang will have been hugely relieved to open his Arsenal account at the first time of asking, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was outstanding as he picked up a number of assists.
Arsenal defender Robert Holding remains optimistic that his side can reach the final of the Carabao Cup after the Gunners were able to grind out a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first-leg of their semi-final.
Arsenal left Stamford Bridge with an invaluable draw as they took a big step towards the Carabao Cup final. The Blues had the better of the chances in the contest, but neither side could break the deadlock, with Arsene Wenger’s men the happier at full time.
Arsenal’s defensive vulnerabilities are no secret and they were there for all to see in Wednesday night’s 2-2 home draw with London rivals Chelsea.
Fortunately, Blues Spanish striker Alvaro Morata was out-of-form and missed a number of good opportunities for the visitors.
The Gunners backline of Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers is obviously not the first choice back three. However, even when Arsenal do have their first choice back three, they look vulnerable at the back.
Arsenal need to add senior centre-backs