So the morning kicks off in miserable fashion. Jack Wilshere, according to the Arsenal spies on Twitter... then the newspapers, is out for the Bayern game, then there's a good chance he's out for the rest of the season. In isolation, I'm not really fussed if he's out as a precaution against Bayern. That game is lost. The chances of scoring 3 goals over there is slim in the extreme and like I've said before, we'd only get found out in the quarters. However, if he's out for the end of the season, that really does raise cause for concern.
I'm wary of dropping into a massive rant about this before I know the facts, but the sources saying this is terminal for the season are some of the most reliable about. My main aggravation with this, and I'm seriously aggravated typing this, is that this issue was written about here in November. Wenger has boasted about the size of his squad all year, yet he's played Jack, Arteta and Cazorla in every game he can. We knew this was the case in December and January. We knew the risk of the red zone and we knew the history of Jack and injury. How the manager was allowed to go through the whole of that month without picking up a midfielder to bear some of the burden is quite amazing.
What do you get when you ignore historical injury patterns along with the data that indicates overuse of players results injury? An injured player at the crucial part of the season. Now, in fairness to the club, they've managed fitness far better than they have done in the past. We've mostly had a full squad to pick from this year. That doesn't mean we haven't been over playing certain members of our squad. Theo has been ok because his season basically started in October, the midfield has been overplayed and as for the back four... well, it doesn't seem to matter who we slip in there.
So, we head into the Munich game Jackless. That'll likely mean a return to the mix of Thomas Rosicky. That's not a terrible replacement. He's looked lively when he's been given a chance over the past few months. The question mark over him hangs over fitness. The other question mark hangs over managerial preference. We know that if given the choice, the manager will generally always opt to put Aaron Ramsey in his place. The trouble with this game is that we have to chase it. If we were heading into it level pegging, we could go for a 4-5-1 and look for a counter attack and bulk out our lack of quality with additional players.
That's not the case. We're chasing the game. We won't have Jack in there to add bite and I have my doubts whether any three man midfield combo we have available could compete.
Still, miracles happen... look at Madrid away a few years ago. Difference then is that we did have some serious quality in there... we don't have a Thierry or a Sol Campbell these days.
In other news, Chuba Akpom continued his superb scoring run with another goal against Southampton in a 2-0 win. I try not to excite myself about the kids coming through. I had high hopes for Kyle Bartley, Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe... all big names on the Arsenal youth blog scene (weren't two of them technically perfect at 12?), all kind of simmered out into not so great players. It's amazing how much we invest in our youth system compared to the output... especially as we poach a large bulk of it from clubs just when they're turning ripe.
What's the deal there? Is it that London just doesn't produce the kids it should? Is it our training methods? Is it that we don't inspire the kids? Or is it just the fact that it's really f*cking hard to grow great players?
Anyway, enough of my yammering. Have a great day. See you in the comments.