Arsenal FC: Injury Woes Continue to Haunt Wenger's Squad but Improved Depth Should Help Them Cope
Following the whirlwind of transfer activity completed by Arsene Wenger in the final days of the window to complete player deals, there was significant reason for supporters of Arsenal FC to be excited.
At a new low point after receiving a harsh lesson in the realities of Premier League football at the hands(actually feet) of Manchester United, Arsenal and their beleaguered manager, Arsene Wenger, were forced to fortify a thin squad with several incoming transfers.
Though they may not have been the high-profile transfers craved by some segments of Arsenal's supporters, the quality reinforcements brought in by Wenger addressed several obvious needs at the club.
In the heart of the defense, Per Mertesacker, the 6'6" German center back, was imported to partner with Thomas Vermaelen, the Belgian defensive force that is the leader of the back-line.
Unfortunately, immediately following the jubilation that accompanied Wenger's surprising spending spree, word came that Vermaelen injured his ankle and required surgery to repair it. His surgery and the required rehabilitation period would keep him out of action for six-to-eight weeks, placing the burden of leading the defense squarely upon the newly-recruited Mertesacker's shoulders.
Once again, Arsenal are unable to escape the harsh injury plague that has seemingly haunted the club incessantly in recent seasons. Of course, injuries affect all clubs, but Arsenal's limited depth has hampered their ability to deal with such incidents over the
In a cruel twist of fate, Arsenal's prodigal son, the highly-touted, 19-year-old midfield wunderkind, Jack Wilshere, tasked with stepping into the vacant midfield role created by Cesc Fabregas' departure, received negative reports on his injured ankle.Wilshere, a revelation last season, was expected to once again roam Arsenal's midfield, with the expectation that his immense talent could potentially blossom into a creative force for the club, alongside Welshman, Aaron Ramsey.
Sadly, the duo have yet to feature together, and it will be nearly three months before Wilshere takes the field for the Gunners again. His lingering ankle injury picked up while on duty with England for the Euro 2012 qualifiers is worse than previously thought, and will sideline him until nearly halfway through the Premier League season.
While Wilshere's unavailability creates a void in the midfield, Wenger addressed that potential situation when he signed Mikel Arteta, the wonderfully creative, Spanish midfielder from Everton to improve the service to the talented forward line.
The two critical absentees will undoubtedly be missed by the Gunners, but this time, the loss of two important players might not cripple the club like it has in the past.
In the wake of Wenger's flurry of transfer business, the club is better equipped to deal with the significant injuries, as he addressed several crucial needs with the five incoming players during the windows final week.
Aside from the previously mentioned duo, Arsenal will also miss suspended duo Gervinho and Alex Song for the weekend's clash with Swansea City. Gervinho's absence will likely be covered by mercurial Russian winger Andrei Arshavin, and if need be, recently acquired Korean forward, Cho-young Park.
In the case of Song, his position will likely be manned by Emannuel Frimpong, the young beast of a defensive midfielder who was suspended following his red card against Liverpool.
Yossi Benayoun, also acquired on deadline day, will likely make his way into the lineup as well, offering Wenger unprecedented roster flexibility that the club hasn't possessed recently.
Brazilian defender, Andres Santos, will not feature in the match, as he has not faced game action since playing in the Copa America, and is not match-fit at the time being. Thankfully, incumbent left-back, Kieran Gibbs, returns from his own injury, and will likely feature against Swansea.
Where the shallow depth appeared to be a major flaw in Arsenal's squad a mere two weeks ago, the barrage of incoming transfer activity has suddenly left the club with options at various positions, and the Gunners prospects don't look as dim as they did after the flogging by United.
The dawning of what feels like a new era at the club begins this Saturday at the Emirates, and we will witness how the new recruits fit into Wegner's plans for the team. A convincing victory Saturday will offer the team new hope in turbulent times, a ray of light desperately needed at the recently-troubled London club.