Is There an Arsenal Injury Curse?

His ability to spot a young talent to don the famous red and white soccer uniform and nurture them to greatness is renowned. At the helm at Arsenal since 1996, Wenger has recognized talent in many players and his current squad bears witness to his ability. Despite the fact that Arsenal was up there and winning trophies up till 2005, they have won nothing since and not even got close in the UK. They did enjoy the distinction of being the first London club to reach a European Champions league final, losing out to Barcelona in 2006.

Since the (some say premature) departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona in 2007, Arsenal appears to have lost their edge in the last third of the pitch. To watch them play some times can be very frustrating as they have some really skilful players, and a creative gem in Cest Fabregas, but they just don’t seem to score enough goals, especially against the other members of the big four ( Chelsea, ManUtd. or maybe Liverpool).

Unfortunately where Arsenal does appear to lead the field is in the number of horrific injuries that their players have suffered over the last few years. Every team going through a tough season, and especially those who are playing a lot of games, are liable suffer injuries to their key players. However very few see their players being stretchered off with career threatening injuries the way Arsenal have, especially in the last few years.

The recent terrible injury blow that Arsenal suffered was with their young Welsh talent, Aaron Ramsey who was a victim of a studs up tackle by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross which left Ramsey with seemingly no less than six fractures to his shin. Shawcross left the field in tears, and the Arsenal and Stoke players were obviously shaken as nineteen year old Ramsey was stretchered of, and is not likely to feature again on a soccer pitch till 2011.

It must have been like déjà vu for Wenger as he recalled the day in February 2008, in a match against Birmingham City, where another one of his proteges, Croatian born Eduardo suffered a badly broken left fibula as well as an open dislocation to his left ankle. The injury was caused by an over the ball tackle by Birmingham’s captain Martin Taylor, who was promptly sent off. It took Eduardo almost exactly one year to get back to proper match fitness.

As Arsenal’s season continues and they still remain in contention for the two major trophies ( Premier League and Champions League) how will Ramsey’s injury affect the rest of the players’ ability to get stuck in around the opposition’s penalty area when the tackles start to fly.

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